Sitting in the terminal, I marvel at the fact that I get nearly a whole row of seats facing the windows to myself. That is, I marvel for about 3 minutes, when it becomes apparent that the desert heat is rolling right through the glass. Just as well; every place in this town is over air-conditioned anyway. I’ll take the warmth.
It amuses me to note that the airport’s wireless is sturdier than my hotel’s had been — I can actually stream music, something I’ve been sorely missing for the past four days. Among other things. Like sleep. And breakfast. And sleep.
I remember, so many moons ago, the way the teenage girl magazines would all advise in their issues leading up to spring dances that the day after prom can feel very empty, and to plan something (a movie with friends, for example) the day after. I’m assuming this was geared more towards the US readers, for whom prom is a bit more of a big deal. At our school, it was basically just another dance, except it was at a hotel instead of our auditorium, and the guys actually dressed up. (Or maybe that was just my perception. Huh.)
Anyway, the advice stuck with me. Among other things, it’s one reason I knew that we’d have a post-wedding day brunch for family. For all my bitching about never having gone on a “real” honeymoon, I am so very grateful that we did get to travel. That trip to Scandinavia glossed us over what otherwise would have been (for me) a horrible crash down after so much excitement and emotion. I get so easily caught up in the whirlwind of people, and partying, of the overall closeness that happens when folk spend time together and really talk. When it’s over I always drop down into that sad empty-circus sort of loneliness.
It’s probably a pretty good indicator that I shouldn’t be in sales.
This week at the conference — the first conference I’ve ever attended where actually going to sessions was optional — was a week spent with people, some familiar, some not, and not a single night was I back in my room before 4am. Do I miss the drinking, and the parties? No, and yes, respectively. Being perfectly capable of dancing stone cold sober, I am unusual in that there is nothing that we did this week that I couldn’t have done even without (copious amounts of) liquor. Pretty sure that’s not true for the others in attendance though. And that distinction makes all the difference.
The last day of the con has a muted, wrapped-in-cotton-wool feeling to it, and not just because everyone’s hungover and the sleep deprivation is finally catching up to them. Everyone else is mentally readying themselves for the return to the Real World, where they don’t have conversations deeper than surface level with people they’ve just met, where they don’t really say what they’re thinking, or indulge in their spontaneous 3am whims.
I’m sure this all sounds very morose and emo, but I mourn for the loss of their uninhibited selves. After a week of getting an all-access pass to peoples’ personalities (I’d say “true selves” but I think that’s a little over simplistic), it’s hard to suddenly be rebuffed back to surface gloss. The Boy suggests that maybe it’s homesickness, and in part it probably is. In bigger part, however, I’m an emotional sponge: it’s a rush to spend so many hours around people who — if only because of the booze — are happy, and friendly, and open. It buoys me, when usually I’m working so hard to get people somewhere close to that point. Having it all reflected back at me for a change is… amazing. It’s a high that has no comparison (not that I’d know). But then the ball ends and the coach is back to being a pumpkin, and everyone has their business faces back on. It’s been 30 years: shouldn’t I learn my lesson and see it coming? I keep telling myself not to, to be open-hearted and just enjoy it. It’s getting harder though.
I’m not really one for taking pictures of hotel features, but I did like the frogs in the fountain. I have no idea if this was the Venetian or the Palazzo — I got lost every time I had to walk through the casino connecting them — but it was in the complex with the conference anyway. (See the folks with the badges?) Also in attendance the day I took this picture? A newlywed couple posing in front of the waterfall for a photographer. (For many photographers, actually, since a lot of tourists also snapped shots.)
Although this was my second time in Vegas, my first time I think I must have been asleep. (Seriously, when the plane landed, my first thought was “There are mountains?” Where was my mind?!) As visits go, I have no complaints about this one. It was hot (duh), but not scalding, even in the sun. I had an amazing time: plenty of fun stops along the strip, including some rooftop views of the city lit up at night, a couple sunrises, a deliciously malty chocolate malt on a sunny day, a concert by the Killers (!), an amazing (and cheap!) tapas dinner my last night, dozens of good conversations. It was a good trip.
Inextricably linked to my memories of this week are thoughts of possibly the longest-surviving pair of shoes I’ve ever owned. I bought these shoes for my highschool prom (how’s that for rounding out a post?), and they’ve carried me through that dance, my university formal, my best friend’s wedding, and countless other semi-formal occasions, as well as a couple stagettes. Twelve years these shoes have been seeing me through my dressy-up occasions.
As shoes go, they’re nothing particularly special. Italian leather, and very well-made, I actually wish I could remember the brand. I’d worn them pretty much to the ground, so I figured I’d get a last week out of them and leave them in Vegas. Poetically, one of the straps on the left shoe finally broke on my walk home from the last party. I’ve never been good at goodbyes, but even I couldn’t deny that the time had come.
Not so pretty anymore, but oh, I’ll miss these shoes. These glorious, comfortable, dance-able shoes! Thanks for all the parties, shoes; I’ll remember you fondly.