Notes from Vegas: At the Copa

(Or just go to the slide show.)

I was not in a good frame of mind for my trip to Las Vegas last month. I’m not the sort to hang out in a bar alone, I don’t like gambling (except maybe for betting on football  or midseason basketball), most of my work-related pals weren’t attending the conference I was in town for, and Tom Jones was out of town. So I was pretty much on my own, but I didn’t have anything to do and wasn’t up for “going out.”

This made me weird and depressed. It wasn’t any sort of midlife frustration; it was just this sense of being totally in the wrong place. I missed my wife & my dog terribly (her more than him).

Fortunately, no matter how uprooted I felt, I was still able to appreciate some quintessentially Vegas aspects of Vegas. When I checked into my hotel, for example, I discovered that its headline act at the wonderful Las Vegas Hilton was none other than Barry Manilow! And he had his own gift shop!

During the conference, I talked with one of my less-close work-pals (a guy who works at a company that advertises in my mag, but with whom I haven’t had too many conversations with) about my sense of “eh, so I’m in Vegas, eh.”

He was staying up at the venue where the conference was, about 20 minutes from the Strip, and didn’t have exciting plans for his stay, either. He said to me, “Don’t worry about it. What do you like doing?”

“Hmm. I like reading, watching hoops, and not dealing with people.”

“Sounds good! Is there a game on tonight?”

There was. I spent that night with the awesome game 2 of Bulls-Celtics, followed by some Plutarch and some In-N-Out burger & fries (not animal-style, alas).

At the conference the next day, I told him that I’d had a pretty good night, all things considered, and that I had even better plans for tonight! During the drive up to the resort where the conference was being held, I’d seen a billboard for the Las Vegas AAA minor league baseball team. Turned out the Area 51s had a home game that very night!

Rather than subject myself to more woe-is-me-itude in my hotel room, I drove a few miles over to Cashman field (through the wedding district (!?)), bought a $14 seat about 15-20 feet behind home plate, picked up a beer, hot dog and pretzel (and some souvenirs), and watched a ball game with some locals and out-of-towners. I had a great time, relatively inexpensively, and got a whole new perspective on the pitcher-batter duel.

I didn’t have the stereotypical exciting/bleary/regretful/drunk Vegas trip, but I did have fun in my own peculiar way. And I brought back pictures with commentary!

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