Saturday, September 5, 2009

A very Vegas Labor Day (long post, but hey—you have a three-day weekend to read it)

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, 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?


Unknown said...

Your staycation sounds like fun! Vegas is a hotspot during Labor day weekend!

After the last blow up with the ex's wife, I chose to not communicate with him any further. It's so much better for me and for him, although he doesn't see it that way. In fact, he called yesterday and I was relieved I didn't answer the phone. The more I don't hear from him, the faster it is for me to completely forget about him and the life we once had.

Carol in MN said... sounds like a really cool deal. You are a very lucky lady to have something like that in LV. Live music is the Best!

As for staying friends with 'exes and formers' this is the way it works for me:
If I was the one that ended things, we no longer speak. The times that I've tried to remain friends, the guys just don't get it...they think something more is going to happen. If the guy is the one who decided we weren't going to work out as a 'couple' - we have remained good friends. I know this says something about me, I'm just now exactly sure what (or if it is a good or a bad thing).

Vegas Linda Lou said...

@ Chocolate: I'm lucky I don;t have any drama with the ex-husbands. Of course, one is on the other side of the world--that helps!

@ Carol in MN: Houseseats has worked out pretty well; I've certainly gotten my money's worth, and I've been to see shows I normally wouldn't have seen. Hal Ketchum was a gem!

Julie D said...

Do I have to answer that ex question? I'd rather just plead the Fifth...

Enjoy your staycation! This time next Saturday I'll already be there!!!! Woohoo!!!!

Rochelle said...

The weather sucks but we're doing lunch w/ol' friends, a classical guitar open-mic (my hubs plays), and helping friends move, which I'll consider exercise for the weekend.

Ex's? I was hardly friends in the first place with my "ex's" so, no, didn't even think of remaining, "friends" afterwards. ;->

Caz Wilson said...

Happy Labor day! Our 3 day weekend was last week and Lover and I had a chilled one, I love 3 day weekends so much!!

I don't have any contact with any of my exs. I really don't see how you can be just friends with them and having been burnt in a past relationship with someone who left me to go back to their ex, for me it's just a no go area. Luckily, Lover shares the same views so that works out quite well!

Other Mikey's Julie said...

Football all weekend long - nephews, my 2 boys and college ball. I love the fall!

Speaking of love - I LOVE Hal Ketchum! I totally wore out his cassette in college. Mmm Mmm Mmm! Is he hot in person? (aside from the fact that like most famous men he is probably 5 foot 5.)

I am friends with my exes - but they are from high school so I'm not sure that counts. My only real ex from "adulthood" lives far away and I have no contact with. The other boyfriend from adulthood, I am married to. Fortunately we too are still friends.