24 October 2011

vegas and i should break up

I've just returned from Las Vegas. Again.

It was for work. Again.

Seriously, I go years without going to Vegas: I'd been there once in 29 years by my calculations.

And then bam, twice in two months, I'm off to Vegas. These visits ought to cover me until—I'm 87, at which point I assume the new center for the seven deadly sins will be on the moon, or maybe just on a starship zipping around the galaxy making poor choices in music and dress.

In case I needed proof, this second trip to Vegas very much cemented this idea: I was not made for Vegas. And it was not made for me.

To me, Las Vegas is a bit like the guy you go on a date with, even though you're sure from a few minutes' interaction that it isn't going anywhere, and certainly not down the aisle.

But he asks you out to dinner and you say yes because you're trying to be "more open-minded." You put that in quotes because recently, people have started making quiet noises to you that maybe your standards are too high.

To test the theory that "opposites attract" {it was in a song from the 80s, so it's probably true...}, you go out with the guy who considers his iPhone and Fox News as things he can't live without.

Perhaps, you think, your wit, sardonic smile, use of the word sardonic {even if it is an insult}, and references to NPR will cause him to look up from his phone over appetizers at Applebee's. {Yes, he took you to Applebee's, and you tried not to be disappointed in that choice. Must be more open-minded. Must be more open-minded.}

The whole evening, though, is spent in false starts of conversation.

"Oh, you liked that movie? I did, too." But then there you find there isn't much to say after that.

"Where did you grow up?" A question that leads to three minutes of explanatory fluff.

"How many brothers and sisters do you have?" This is starting to feel like a foreign language class—when you have to practice all those simple phrases in the hopes that an actual foreign person will one day ask you about your brothers and sisters and you can triumphantly say: "Moi, j'ai une soeur and deux freres."

He asks if you like sports, but then talks for 15 minutes about the last Bears game. You don't even have to try to come up with things to say in reply; it's as if he's commentating on Monday Night Football.

Being in Applebee's on this particular night is about the only thing you have in common, you discover over the main course.

Neither of you orders dessert, and you part in the parking lot with some non-committal: thank you for dinner, I enjoyed talking to you, bye.

When he doesn't call again, you don't miss a beat. It's not that there was anything wrong with him; there just wasn't anything there that was right for you. That's a very important distinction.


I tried Las Vegas, and it was not for me. I think we can part amicably in the parking lot now.

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