Here it is Labor Day already. Yesterday as I was leaving the cube farm a co-worker said, “See you next Tuesday,” and I totally went back and asked, “What’s that supposed to mean?” because we all know there’s a big difference between “See you next Tuesday” and “C U Next Tuesday,” right? He said he meant the former.
Amazingly, I’m not going anywhere this three-day weekend. Nope, I’m having a mini “staycation” (queer word I never thought I would use). Although how lucky am I that my staycation (now using twice) is in Las Vegas?
Actually, I’ve stayed put for a couple of months now, since from mid-February through the end of June I went back to Albany four times (twice with side trips to Pennsylvania), made two trips to Boise to see Mom and Stepdaddy, had two weekends in Arizona, and went to New Orleans for JazzFest. Between now and the end of the year, I have four trips definitely planned (two to Boise and two to Albany) and I’ll probably go somewhere for my birthday weekend (October 3—mark your calendars). But this weekend, I’m just going to enjoy Las Vegas.
I’ve been seeing a few shows in town lately. About a month ago I joined houseseats.com, which is a great deal; for one flat annual fee you get tickets to shows (on an as-available basis, mostly last minute) absolutely free. So far I’ve seen Gladys Knight (who could forget that infamous night?), a mentalist show (not the greatest) at O’Shea’s with my old boyfriend Fightin’ Irish Tim, the Naughty Boys Hypnosis Show at the Harmon Theater (very fun) with Kri Monster, and last night I saw Hal Ketchum at the Railhead in Boulder Station.
I’ve always wondered about Hal Ketchum; he’s from Greenwich, New York, about 40 miles north of Albany up near the Adirondack Mountains, so I’ve heard of him, but never heard his music. The Railhead is a great venue, so I thought what the hell—the tickets are free. I could have gotten two tickets, but sometimes I really prefer to go out by myself, so that’s what I did. You have a lot more freedom when you’re a solo act. I know many people—women and men—don’t really like to go out by themselves, but I’m telling you I had a million times more fun than I would have staying home. I beg of you, don’t be afraid to hit the town by yourself—you’re depriving yourself of so much!
I didn’t know what to expect with this show. I knew Hal Ketchum was a country-ish guy, and while I don’t particularly care for the country music you hear on the radio, I love the Lyle Lovett/Steve Earle type of country that never gets airplay. I was hoping he would be more in that vein, and he was. Man, what an amazing show! What a fantastic voice! The band was awesome, and they even played one of my favorite songs on earth (not written by one of my kids)—Daniel Lanois’ “The Maker.” You may remember that as the song that rolls during the credits of Slingblade, and kids, I’m telling you right now I want that song played at my funeral (in 50 years). You don’t hear “The Maker” covered very often and I was just out of my mind when I heard them start into it. They also covered “Tupelo Honey,” which was very cool.
His fans politely sat through those covers and then went nuts on his hits, which I didn’t recognize at all, but I enjoyed seeing everybody so psyched to hear them. During the last song, a couple got up and danced in the aisle (they were the only dancers of the evening) and you could tell they were having one of those orgasmic concert moments that bring incredible orgasmic concert joy. Good for them!
This afternoon I’m dragging my BFF Lisa Gioia Acres to another biker bar--the Sand Dollar Blues Lounge on Polaris--for the monthly open jam of the Las Vegas Blues Society. Then tomorrow night I’m seeing Al Green down in Primm (free tickets again) with Joey D, my dear friend and a big freakin’ hunk of Brooklyn-Italian testosterone.
I met Joey D three years ago over Labor Day weekend in the race and sports book at Green Valley Ranch. The Thursday before I had plastic surgery to take care of some skin cancer near my nose, and I’m telling you, I looked like the freakin’ Elephant Man, all swollen and black and blue. I swear I was like, please God, just make me look normal again and I’ll totally forgive you for giving me this fine, shitty hair.
By Sunday I was tired of lying around the house with frozen green beans on my face, so I went to the race and sports to play the Saratoga ponies, figuring it’s full of old guys who wouldn’t give a shit what I look like, not that they would notice anyway since they rarely take their noses out of the Daily Racing Form.
So anyway, I sat next to Joey D, who’s not an old guy—he’s my age (which is not old—ha!) He’d seen me there before, so he knew what I looked like in real life, and we struck up a conversation and yadda, yadda, yadda… about a week or two later I dragged him out to the aforementioned Sand Dollar biker bar. By then the swelling had gone down on my face and all I had was a black eye, but if you can picture little ol’ me drinkin’ beer in a biker bar with a black eye, sitting next to a giant Sopranos-looking guy… well, it was pretty funny.
Being a smart guy, Joey D realized pretty early on that I would be one pain in the ass and I realized he was way too into watching sports on TV for my taste, so in no time we could see an official boyfriend/girlfriend arrangement was not gonna happen. But we still liked hanging out and truly enjoyed each other’s company—we both dig that “recreational bitching” mode where we’re complaining and swearing just for the pure fun of it, and so we’ve been BFFs for a long time now. Earlier this year, Joey D moved to Florida for a job (a consequence of the in-the-shitter Vegas economy), but he’s back in town this weekend and I’ll be psyched to see him.
I know what you’re thinking—Linda, you and all these old boyfriends and ex-husbands. Tim and I were talking about this at O’Shea’s last week. We were saying just because you’re not with someone “in that way” anymore, they obviously had qualities that you once liked. I think it’s totally possible to restructure the relationship and maintain a friendship, if you want. Of course, you can’t let the ghosts of the past get in the way of a new, committed relationship—that’s just not fair. And believe me, I was very committed to Mike. (As you can tell, he and I are still “on a break.” Could be over, or maybe not. We’ll see.)
So what are you up to this weekend? Any fun plans?
And I’m curious—are you still on good terms with your exes? Would you call yourselves friends? Or should the past be the past, including past relationships?