I get why people love Las Vegas. It’s a place where you can go free range with your vices.
Take smoking. You can’t appreciate how far our country has come in eradicating cigarettes in public venues until you go to Vegas and feel like you’re Smokey the Bear intrepidly ferreting out a forest fire.
Then there’s gluttony via all the $9.99 eat-till-you’re-queasy buffets. I get the allure of the buffet. It’s tempting on so many levels. There’s the bargain aspect. The whole idea of stuffing your face for under ten bucks is very appealing. And then there’s the food. In most cases, at least from afar, it looks really, really, good.
The downside: The freaking line for the buffet! Is there any sustenance worth being crammed, for at least an hour, in a line with a motley crew of just-tattooed, drunk bridesmaids, a gambling granny on oxygen in a wheelchair and pack of semi-inebriated dudes in Vegas for a tractor convention? The short answer is no.
Now, let’s go straight to the vice I’ve been skirting — the whole sex/nudity part of Vegas. I got to negotiate all that with a teenage daughter in tow. Yes, as weird as this sounds, I was in Vegas for a national dance competition with my 15-year-old. Because nothing says family-friendly, G-rated fun like a Vegas casino.
Yes, yes, I know Vegas has many family activities and it’s one thing to be there with kids that are too young to question or even care about their surroundings. But it’s another to be there with a teenager who won’t shut up about it. In all honesty I think it was a little traumatic for both of us.
I blame our hotel room.
When we checked in, the very nice lady at the front desk told us she could get us into a room right away if we went with a king bed over two queens. I looked at my daughter to see if she was OK with sharing a bed with me and her response was, “Whatever, let’s just get a room.” I wholeheartedly agreed. The front desk lady then smiled and said she would upgrade us to a deluxe suite because we were “so far from home.”
Um, yeah, about that suite. It was deluxe, all right, in a 50 Shades of Gray kind of way. The first thing we both noticed was a huge mirror over the bed. I looked over at my horrified daughter as she shrieked, “Oh my God, mom. Really?”
Then we proceeded to check out the bathroom. Let’s just say there was some “stuff” in there that looked out of place in a shower that was almost the size of my garage. I turned to my daughter and said, “We both need to promise that neither of us will Google what any of this is — like, ever.”
I then called the front desk and asked to be relocated from the “honeymoon suite” immediately.
After that was behind us, it was time for Twenty Questions about why people gamble. Her take on it was that it looked “stupid,” most especially the slot machines. “So does it take any skill or do you just sit there and pull a lever?” When I shared that is exactly what you do, she was dumbfounded that anyone would waste their time or money doing it. She then asked if I had ever gambled.
I gave her look like she was crazy. “You think me, your mother, who won’t shop without coupons, is just going to throw money down on a table or worse, shove it into a slot machine? My idea of gambling is paying full price for something at Ann Taylor Loft when I know in less than 48 hours the odds are it’s probably going to be on their clearance rack.”
To change the topic, my daughter suggested we ride the “Big Apple” roller coaster at the New York, New York casino. Boy, was that a mistake. When we arrived I freaked out.
First, how can it cost $14 per person to ride an attraction for less than two minutes?And then there was an area of concern for me regarding coaster maintenance. It’s one thing to ride a coaster at Disneyland but quite another to put your life in the hands of a casino maintenance crew.
Frighteningly, there was no opportunity to back out. I was swept up in a throng of riders and before I could say “jackpot,” I found myself strapped in and plunging to a certain death on roller coaster with something called a “180-degree heartline twist and dive.” My only hope was that the loops would somehow act as a memory cleanse and my daughter and I would have no recollection of that honeymoon suite.
Yeah, that didn’t happen. But I did survive, so I guess that’s saying something.