Friday, June 8, 2012

Booter and Awl

Some things just work.  You don't know why and you don't ask how, but they do.  Like booter and awl.

My friend Amy and I were in Vegas last weekend.  We started the trip on the airplane, where we endured the malodorous emissions of a gang of baseball-capped fellas who expounded on how much ass they were going to get in between posing for Facebook photos.  I hate flying and she hates coach, so we helped each other through while constructing gas masks with our emergency exit cards.

Once in Vegas, we joined the mile-long line of tourists at the taxi cab stand.  It was like being in a herd of cows, all moving towards the barn, and if you slowed your pace, you were lost.  Such was the fate of an elderly woman in a wheelchair.  The young girl pushing her fell behind, her family kept moving, and finally, the girl got fed up and left grandma on the sidewalk.  We stepped around her, because hey, it's survival of the fittest in Vegas.  It took the family a few minutes to realize what had happened, and then they attempted a search-and-rescue against the current.  We didn't see them again until later in the trip, and I'm happy to report that Granny made it out OK.

I don't travel much, but Amy does.  So she knows all the tricks, like how to finagle room upgrades or get a Brazilian bikini wax on the fly.  The hotel she picked was beautiful - The Palazzo - and we had an amazing view of the city.  We hit the ground running, touring the property, which included open-air opera singing and indoor gondola rides in the neighboring Venetian, having a fabulous lunch and my first glass of Prosecco, side-by-side manicures, shopping at Louis Vuitton with security guards radioing our movements back and forth to each other, and then nap time.  We discovered the best place to have a Cosmo is at The Bellagio, at a restaurant called Olives.  We sat at the bar and charmed a corn-fed Wisconsin bartender named Zach. 

And here is what Amy I do best. We hashed out our lives, with the conversation developing into a comedic dialogue that would make Joan Rivers blush with the shame of inadequacy. We came up with catch phrases, code words, and lots of colorful language to illustrate the absurdities we must endure and the characters in our stories. We have different styles, different subplots, but we work together in perfect harmony.  Like booter and awl.

The rest of the trip in Vegas was one highlight after another.  Delicious food in unique restaurants, including at the top of a fake Eiffel Tower. Unforgettable theatrical moments, such as the water show at the Bellagio (a la Ocean's Eleven), the mind-boggling Beatles Cirque du Soleil, and the artistic stylings of the Chippendales -- don't judge -- they dance AND tell a story about cowboys, firemen, and the loneliness of vampires.  We experienced walking the Strip at night, encountering both the glamor and the seediness of Vegas in one square mile.  We were approached to go into private clubs, review flyers about naked women, and one man even told Amy he had picked up her scent at the craps table. 

The gambling was not my forte. I lost 20 dollars in 20 seconds at the slots, so when I tried it again the next day, I cashed out at $2. The cashier looked at me with disdain - Vegas isn't for cowards. But, I think I walked away a little braver and more street-savvy.

It was a bucket-list trip, and we had a marvelous time.  Even though we only see each other once a year, we never lose our mojo, the booter and awl.


Until next time, keep crowin', and always bet on black!

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