We always start out in high spirits, ready to rock ‘n’ roll.
We’re high on the idea of just getting out of town for a while and the journey is still fresh and new.
We enjoy sweeping vistas to the sounds of freshly composed playlists (including such varied selections as Three Dog Night’s “Never Been to Spain,” and Ray Charles’ stellar version of “America the Beautiful“)…
…making jokes about sights along the way (I suddenly felt a hankering for a snack around Donner Pass) and reveling in the freedom of the road.
Then we…come home early? What the….
We’d been looking forward to spending a couple of nights in Reno, Nevada (aka poor man’s Las Vegas, aka playground of working-class Northern Californians) ever since I had painstakingly (Obsessively? Hungrily?) tracked down third-row seats to see my favorite country/honkytonk singer, Dwight Yoakam, a couple of months ago. As it happened, several of our friends were heading over the summit as well, either to see the show or just to do what you do in Reno, which is gamble and eat and drink a lot and come home wearing the Nevada state fragrance: smoke de cigarette.
We checked into the Sands (which we had chosen because it was close to the “good” casinos but about half the room rate), went downstairs, got some light beers (slow and steady wins the race), stuck some bills in a couple of slot machines, and within a few minutes I promptly cashed out for almost 350 smackers! I’d like to thank Betty the Yeti for laying that nice payout on me.
Then we headed down the street, past where I would imagine Boz Scaggs would stay while in Reno…
…to join our friends at the Silver Legacy, a “good” casino and the one where we would later be seeing the quirky and wonderful Mr. Yoakam. Had some fun hanging out, wandering around, met up with everybody for dinner (where, as expected, somebody couldn’t resist making a snarky remark to show that they had noticed that I had, discreetly and without fanfare, chosen a meatless entree [EDIT: I’ve been advised that this is a little harsh. Make that “where, as expected, my unobtrusively ordering a meatless entree was pointedly acknowledged”]), then headed to the ballroom, where the enchanting, odd, charismatic, and talented Dwight and his band of hot young gentlemen charmed our ears off with his loud, technically beautiful and soulfully rendered, rockin’ honkytonk music, even as my neck and back were killing me to the point of screwing things up a little bit.
After the show (at which my contact with one old pal was limited to a wave between our seats, and we never caught up with each other–sorry, Craig), we headed back out and eventually wound up blowing a bunch of money on a round of drinks none of us was really enthusiastic about drinking, and when my husband was tired and had pretty much had it with me sitting there like an achy, sleepy lump, we trudged back to the Sands and hit the bed at around midnight, like the 40-somethings we are. I dreamed of Dwight’s changed-up and harmonized version of “Ring of Fire” all night, and it’s still stuck in my head a little as I write this.
The next morning we were downstairs eating at the rather shitty version of a Mel’s Diner in our hotel and I guess we missed the big sonic boom that supposedly rattled windows all over the area, which was later determined to be a meteor strike. Talk about oblivious! We proceeded to head back to the Silver Legacy and while away the hours drinking Coors Lights and playing penny video Keno in the Silver Baron bar.
I know that probably sounds like dullsville to a lot of you, but honestly, tied with seeing Dwight, it was the highlight of the trip. I’m so glad to be married to a person as smart and funny and slightly crazy as my husband is, and who thinks I share those qualities and likes that about me as well.
We laughed our asses off all day long, or at least until around 3:00 pm, when we were suddenly ravenous and ended up at an all-you-can-eat sushi bar, where I eschewed vegetarianism and we ate, as directed, all we could.
Not surprisingly, this was followed by a prolonged nap (back in our room, because there was nowhere comfortable enough in the sushi bar), during which I slept and Brad watched that movie about Chuck Barris of The Gong Show being a CIA hitman, starring Sam Rockwell, who is an absolutely mesmerizing actor, but anyway….we couldn’t really figure out what to do next, so we decided to check out early and headed home last night, leaving a little after 8:00 and falling into our own bed around midnight, where our pets proceeded to keep us awake for almost 2 more hours before sleep mercifully came.
I think we both felt a little bummed out about leaving early–a little old, maybe, a little like sticks in the mud. True, we didn’t exactly paint the town red, but we had a great time together, saw a kickass show, laughed a ton, ate sushi made by a Mexican guy, and then, when we were ready to leave, left. In short, we did whatever the heck we wanted to do, which is what a vacation, no matter how brief, is for.