Monthly Archives: June 2012

Why I may return to London some day.

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Last time we met, I spent some time explaining why I find Las Vegas to be an I-wouldn’t-return-if-it-were-the-last-place-left-standing-after-the apocalypse-which-would-be-ironic-vacation destination.  However, I realized that there’s no use in beating a dead horse, although that might explain the what-the-hell-is-that odor that wafts just under the stench of desperation and cheap perfume on The Strip.

 

So, in the interest of interest, I’m moving on.  Plus I’m tired of dashes.

 

I don’t like to travel and that is not Las Vegas specific.  When I’m home, I can see no positive side of leaving said home.  It’s nice here.  I’ve imprinted my ass into my favorite place on the couch so that no one else can be comfortable there.  My dogs live here and they seem to like me better than anyone has liked anyone since God was a boy.

 

My husband and son like me as well, not as much or as consistently as my pets, still, they keep my mental health in mind for their own peace and safety.  I have yet to make the rest of the world understand the importance of this process.

 

It is not vacations I despise as much as the act of leaving my house, although I can usually take it in stride. Yes, I’ve had my moments of being dragged, screaming and weeping to a hired car destined to remove me from my home and abandon me at O’Hare Airport, just like everyone else, but I can deal.

Most times, when I arrive at my vacation destination, I can move forward with my life, maybe even make an attempt at fun, especially if the hotel leaves chocolate on my pillow.

 

Such was the case when I broke a 32-year-old ban on traveling overseas and visited London, Liverpool, and Paris with my husband and son. 

 

In 1978, when I was a toddler bride, my husband and I went to England where we spent our honeymoon and most of the money we had or would have for the next five years.  Despite being thrown from the back seat of a London taxi into a Plexiglas divider window within the first 30 minutes of my arrival; I liked it. 

 

However there was the flight and the flight and the flight and the food wasn’t very good.  Still, whatever London lacked in cuisine it made up for by lacking the what-the-hell-is-that smell plus Paul McCartney lived-and still does-live there. 

 

Then I found out that, from my perspective, the flight back is longer than the flight there and deduced that another trip overseas would be the death of me, much to my new husband’s chagrin.

 

31 years later-when my husband was less new- I remembered that I had a 21-year-old-son who trusted me when I told him there were dragons lurking in the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean conspiring to make a snack out of shiny jetliners.  Sadly, he still took me at my word, even after the Santa Clause incident of 1997.  So, I fessed up and told him the dragons were just a fun story which made more sense than the Easter Bunny.

 

Knowing that once I barely hinted to my husband that I might, in some kind of other worldly way, consider returning to the land of spontaneous queues and tea so strong that many of the monuments have been crafted from it, I kept the idea to myself for some time.

 

Once I broke the news to my husband, he managed to contain the dancing and tears of joy long enough to book the vacation online-within about ten minutes.  Then I began to rethink my decision to the point of a nervous breakdown. 

 

Not long after I mentioned this to my doctor who spoke the word that would open heavens gates and make the angels sing: Xanax.

 

She explained there was a magic potion, hitherto unbeknown to me, that, when swallowed, shortens the flight to London from 8 hours to about 50 minutes.  It was difficult to believe, but miracles happen and, as a result, I arrived in London

refreshed and prepared for whatever life had to offer, and unaware that I had traveled to England, as I was operating on residual Xanax.

 

 

 

I was not particularly concerned when the taxi driver drove off with my purse containing all of my identification, including my passport, driver’s license, credit cards, and the gum I was going to chew in case my ears popped on the plane. My husband however was burdened with a sense of reality and became quite distressed, a state of mind he expressed with many words the Brits only use if they become rock stars.

 

My son, however, had a plan.  It seemed that he clearly remembered the taxi driver in question and since the drivers took turns picking up folks at the train station, stealing their purses and circling back to continue the lucrative process, he and I returned to taxi station to search for the cabbie that was showing my purse around England.  Unfortunately, it turned out that my son remembered the guy looked “British” so that didn’t exactly pan out. 

 

Meanwhile, as my son compared one British looking cabbie to the next, the driver in question was driving through the neighborhood from which he had dropped us off, most likely looking for people who looked American.

 

Due to the heroics of this chivalrous fellow and the owner of the bed and breakfast where we were to stay, my purse was eventually returned.  As a result, my husband cancelled his stroke and we took a walk into a nearby village rather than the ER.

 

On the way, we came upon one of those British fellows you’ve heard so much about…from me. He accused my husband of absconding with his wife (me again).  He went on to woo me in Italian and, for a moment, I considered throwing my entire life away to follow him despite his advanced age and general lack of teeth.  But then I remembered: that would be stupid. 

 

So, I remained married and toured London, Paris, and Liverpool, where, I swear to whatever works for you that a rainbow appeared over Paul McCartney’s childhood home when I arrived.

 

Eventually we went on to find that the Parisians have been struggling with a bad rap when it comes to the level of their friendliness, probably perpetuated by Parisans to keep touristism to a minimum.

 

All in all, except for my husband’s stress fracture, it was a lovely trip with little nudity, an appreciation for inside voices and a constant parade of cute boys.  Don’t mention this to my husband but I may return.  And now I must go and see why a limo has arrived out front.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I shouldn’t have gone to Las Vegas and why I’m glad I did.

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Upon my arrival home after my first visit to Las Vegas, I understood that the slogan: What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas is less of an advertising ploy and more of a devout prayer of gratitude.  If this model for debauchery were to occur any place else in the universe, I’d be as convinced about the end of the world as one of those who trust ancient Mayan calendars.

First of all, George Clooney and Brad Pitt were nowhere to be found, although a poster of steroid abusing, black bow tie wearing, mostly naked, preternaturally excited men was plastered about as if they had solutions for the Middle East Crisis.  I suppose, for some women, the thinking is, “I don’t know why, but I feel the need to stuff money down their pants, if they are, indeed wearing said pants and if they are not, I’ll improvise.”  For me, well, as we have previously established, I like to look at men who are prettier and thinner than me and, as a rule, they keep those in London.

However, Las Vegas doesn’t just have greasy attractions for women who enjoy the thought of being crushed as part of a mating ritual.  There is literally something debasing to women for everyone who even nods in that sexual direction, There was also Burt and Ernie, the cast of Toy Story, and Spiderman, who for some inexplicable reason, sat squatting next to a can with the word tips scrawled across the front, rather than performing the job he is presumably qualified and supremely needed to do while in Vegas.

I rather enjoyed the guy dressed as a eight foot tree whose purpose seemed to be scaring already unsteady drunk people by becoming animated when least expected.  Although, I would suppose this sort of thing would be an every day occurrence for those at the level of drunkenness that these exceptionally loud people have attained.

There are those among you who are now hopping up and down like a urine filled Golden Retrievers because a couple of paragraphs back I mentioned the words “debasing” and “women.” in the same sentence, and your reaction was:, “Hurrah! Details!”  You know who you are, I hope.  If not, some of your hobbies might include porn and more porn.  Listen up; I’m only going to say this once.

In Vegas, about 25% of the women seemed to have scrambled away from some sort of violent, apparel-destroying disaster just after doing their hair and makeup, but before they decided as what to ”wear”.  The thing is, none of these apparent victims seemed unphased by this horrific catastrophe as they strode down the strip, some lucky enough to have salvaged a pair of Pretty Woman before-styled boots to keep them covered from the thigh down.  The opposite direction was up for grabs, literally. Yet, they seemed more grumpy than appalled. Maybe they’re in shock.

There are many women who seemingly are forced to wear only half of a two- piece outfit; usually the top.  The poor dears walk along, continually pulling at the hem of their blouses, which hover around their nether regions, wishing in vein that a Good Samaritan would lend them some pants, or gym shorts, anything to feel more at ease.  Perhaps a charitable event is in order.  

Then there are the prostitutes.  Leave it at that.

The noise level is unbelievable. Similar to standing in front of an enormous amp at a tremendously loud concert, for which I can personally attest. (https://jamiegreco.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/why-i-shouldnt-have-gone-to-lollapalooza/.

There is never a moment of quite contemplation anywhere in this den of iniquity.  This is probably to distract the folks who arrived with some form of monetary accruement but, having stuffed their money down the pants of someone they thought was a stripper or plugged it into a machine that, not only takes the money from those who seem less than eager to give-if the look on their faces are to be trusted- but exuberantly celebrates the acquisition at the top of their freaking lungs with actual bells and whistles and jolly music.  (That sentence is gasping for breath it ran on so long)

Then there was Cirque Du Soleil’s Love; a stupefyingly extravagant tribute to the Beatles.  The blaring, pulsating, tawdry noise wrapped in mummified drunkenness outside of this theater in the round, is wiped from the memory by the awe inspiring, mind bogglingly beautiful representation of the miracle that was The Beatles.

Human beings move in such a way as to place doubt in their home planet.  Searing euphoria and palpable nostalgia is accompanied by wave after wave of the most beloved songs the twentieth century, or any other century can lay claim.  The spectacle was equal to the Herculean task of capturing the sparkling, but brief moment in time when John, Paul and George…fine, and Ringo united as a musical force called the Beatles. 

Oh, and I like that they played the music of the Four Seasons in the elevators. 

Why my brain ignores my face.

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From the time a person is in their early 20s until they are in their early 30s, the human brain takes notes on what the face attached to the front of it’s protective cover looks like.  Maybe it fears losing the face in the future and, rightly so as that is exactly what happens.

 

In the advancing years, the brain continues to compile data, screeching to a halt at about 35, where it begins to perform the equivalent of plugging the ears, closing the eyes and chanting, “I can’t hear you,” when confronted with a reflection.

 

This response may be triggered by a line from the nostril directing a viewer towards the chin, which no longer holds up its end of the bargain.  Sure, the bones are doing their best but the chin is a slacker.  And then there are the wrinkles just above and between your eyes which can cause youngsters to cling to their smooth faced mothers and whisper, “Why is that lady so angry?” 

 

At first, the brain dismisses these early warnings, until the morning when you wake up with a crease across your face, you know, the kind where your twenty-something self dove into your bed the previous night, achieved the perfect belly flop and felt no need to move until morning, Cold water was the magic elixir which re-claimed your face in your youth but now an Atlantic ocean baptism won’t do the trick.

 

The brain stacks up that day’s face against the previous face and determines it is lacking something, but assures itself that the skin will smooth out again, much like the sheets on a bed would if you made your bed in the morning, which, of course, you don’t.

 

On this particular day, you go about your business, assured that you are cute as a button, a nice smooth button, when in fact when you step into a bathroom to wash your hands you are taken aback by the fact that your skin has a certain corduroy quality and I don’t mean that in a good way. 

 

You decide to check into the products that are advertised on such programs as Ellen and General Hospital.  Those girls look like me, you think, making the funny bone titter.  Problem is, those girls do look like you when you were 18, because the spokeschild is, indeed 18.

 

You begin to realize that this might be the new norm, the flowering of womanhood, as Oprah might call it and you hate it. You blame America where we strive to remain “girls” or “misses” at all costs and women who have long ago trotted into Ma’am territory bristle at the kid behind the movie counter who properly addresses the customer as such.

 

This is where denial either takes hold with both fists or…it takes hold with both fists.  Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of what your brain insists is your real face in the rear view mirror of a car.  It’s best not to screech to a halt however, in one’s exuberant recognition.

 

Dirty windows can be an ego boost, as are young waiters who sincerely find the face of your new reality compelling and attractive, with no monetary enticement whatever.   What you don’t want to do is ask a kid, “how old do you think I am,” or glance at your reflection in a department store dressing room, because although you’re beginning to hit the point of no return, your brain still insists that there’s some kind of scam being perpetrated by every glass surface in the world and you agree because you have no choice.  As a result, you continue to greet your reflected visage at the level of shock akin to a puppy confronted with a jack-in-the-box.

 

At this point you have three choices, surgically stretch your upper lip skin into your hairline, pump poison into your face and hope the FDA waits until you’re dead to discover the terrifying side effects or pout.  If you’re Oprah, your options expand considerably, including, but not limited to, photoshopping every reflective surface in her world and paying people to agree with your brain’s skewed perception.  The rest of us are screwed.