A trip is one thing. I take trips often enough that they are normal, habitual. I have taking a trip down to an art and I have a mostly methodical system to preparing for and executing them. A vacation, on the other hand, is an entirely different thing. While the preparations are similar, a vacation has a more relaxed approach than any trip. When I know that I do not face chores, responsibilities, or expectations at the other end of the plane or car ride, I tend to approach it in a much more comfortable manner.
This week found Matt and me in Las Vegas, Nevada. This was a two-part journey: the main reason was to get away from getting away, the secondary reason was to retrieve some things from Jaki’s house that she had graciously stored for me for around five years.
Las Vegas is an amazing place and anyone who has ever been can attest to that. Whether the experience was good, bad, or somewhere in between, anyone who has seen those lights, walked those casinos, or watched any show can say that Las Vegas is a spectacle to behold. The carefree atmosphere that is typically associated with ingrates, vagabonds, and lowlifes is viewed in a much different light in Las Vegas.
“Sin City” is an applicable descriptor for Las Vegas, but it is not all sex, drugs, or rock and roll.
I opted to stay in New York, New York for this vacation. Having been to Las Vegas multiple times before, I knew where the good spots could be found, and where I wanted to spend most of my time. Matt had been to Las Vegas previously, but in a work capacity and had not yet experienced the good parts of the city. I hoped to show him some of my favorite things in only a few, short days. One of these things was introducing him to Jaki. The other things included roller coasters, Fremont Street, Zumanity, and the general life and atmosphere of a true tourist locale.
The end result of retrieving my stuff from Jaki’s house was that we could not remember what she had, where she put it, or if we had not already gone through it over the phone and took care of it that way. This revelation does not bother me because, if she happens to stumble across it somewhere in her home, it will result in another vacation. This is a dance we have repeated before, and it is nice to joke about the perpetual excuse to continue to travel to Las Vegas.
As if I needed another reason to want to go.
Jaki and Matt got along better than I thought they would. I did not honestly believe there would be issues with the introduction or the time spent together afterwards. See, I might have made jokes about it, but I was serious to a point that there is no warning, no preparation for Jaki. Ashley either, but she was unable to join us this trip. When I say there is no warning for them, it is not because there is ground that cannot be tread, or subjects that cannot be broached. It is because we have all experienced life in our own way, but so much of it was shared or mirrored that we finish each other’s thoughts, tell each other’s stories. This can be a daunting thing to people who come in… “unprepared”.
The nights we spent with Jaki were very much reminiscent of the life we lived together. Truthfully, we did a lot of reminiscing on top of maintaining that feeling of remembering. We told stories, we laughed, we cried, and we drank beer – something I have not done in more than a year. Matt kept up with the stories, and most of the drinks, throughout the weekend. We called Ashley to express how much we missed her… at 2am. It was extremely comfortable for me, and it made me miss Ashley and the life the three of us had when we were in the same place. It is a life that could not be repeated, I know, but having these times together to remember that life is a close feeling.
Tourist stuff! We wandered casinos and rode the roller coaster at New York, New York. We lost $100 gambling, just so we could say we had done it. Sure, we hoped for a win, but I was thinking more about spending time with him than with a roulette table. I introduced him to gelato at the Venetian, showed him Dick’s Last Resort – where the waiters have attitude – and I took him to see Zumanity.
Anyone who has seen a Cirque du Soleil performance knows how vibrant the colors can be, how emotional the display, or how memorable to music. Zumanity is no different, save for the restrictions to the audience. Cirque’s 18-and-over show, Zumanity, is a performance dedicated to sensuality, sexuality, and comfort within both realms. Attendees are given circus performance interpreting love, relationships of all forms, sex, and comedy in a place made comfortable by a cast armed with talent and humor.
It truly is my favorite performance in Las Vegas and even seeing it again has allowed me to see different parts of the show I am sure I missed the first time. Matt enjoyed it thoroughly and I am so pleased we got to see it while we were there.
The rest of the trip, the discussions Matt and I had, the memories Jaki and I shared, and the hidden parts of a long weekend in Sin City will remain mine… well, ours. Some are difficult to remember, some can never be forgotten. I am glad that neither time, nor distance can change the way things just are for the people closest to me.
What do we face this week? Matt and I are heading to Washington to clear out his apartment, then we are driving to California to spend some time with his parents. More waiting with very little direction is in the immediate future, and I am still okay with it. I am itching to do something great, but I am in no rush to push just yet.