Friday, June 19, 2009

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Last week I went to Las Vegas for a teachers convention in Cesar's Palace. For some reason everyone laughs when I say a teachers convention in Las Vegas. Where, then, do you suggest teachers conventions be held? Some place boring I suppose? Some place where there are a lot of libraries?

Before I left I got the idea to read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson while I was on my trip. It's one of Corey's favorite books and I've been meaning to read it for awhile. But then I had an even better idea to also photograph my trip to coincide with things from the book. At first I didn't want the other teachers to see that I had it with me and that I was reading it. I soon discovered none of them had ever even heard of it, and that I am the only teacher twisted enough to read such things. My little badge of honor.

Day 1: I was so excited to begin I forgot to hold the book up in front of my registration line. It was in my bag though.

"But when we finally arrived at the Mint Hotel my attorney was unable to cope with the registration procedure. We were forced to stand in line with all the others -- which proved to be extremely difficult under the circumstances. I kept telling myself: 'Be quiet, be calm, say nothing...speak only when spoken to: name, rank and press affiliation, nothing else, ignore this terrible drug, pretend it's not happening...'"

This picture is blurry because I took it in a construction zone and a dump truck started coming my way. When I finished one of the construction workers shouted, "You need to take a picture of that in front of Circus Circus!" Yes, construction workers read this book, not teachers. I was just happy I could find some grey rectangles in modern day Vegas.

"I could see the strip/hotel skyline looming up ahead through the blue desert ground-haze: The Sahara, the landmark, the Americana and the ominous Thunderbird -- a cluster of grey rectangles in the distance, rising out of the cactus."

Also difficult to find a neon sign outside a window. The Harrah's sign is neon-y.

"By this time the drink was beginning to cut the acid and my hallucinations were down to a tolerable level. The room service waiter had a vaguely reptilian cast to his features, but I was no longer seeing huge pterodactyls lumbering around the corridors in pools of fresh blood. The only problem now was a gigantic neon sign outside the window, blocking out view of the mountains -- millions of colored balls running around a very complicated track, strange symbols & filigree, giving off a loud hum..."

Day 2: One teacher was not pleased that I made us walk all the way to Circus Circus, until she knew it was to take a picture of my book which mentioned Circus Circus in front of it. Teachers love books!

"The bar opened at seven. There was also a 'koffee & donut canteen' in the bunker, but those of us who had been up all night in a place like the Circus-Circus were in no mood for coffee & donuts. We wanted strong drink."

Day 3: We were told 1500 people attended our conference. Coincidence? Spirit of Hunter?

"We sat in the rear fringe of a crowd of about 1500 in the main ballroom of the Dunes Hotel. Far up in front of the room, barely visible from the rear, the executive director of the National District Attorneys' Association -- a middle-aged, well-groomed, successful GOP businessman type named Patrick Healy -- was opening their Third National Institute on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs."

Too bad I didn't read far enough or I would have taken my book's picture in front of the Flamingo and...Cesar's Palace!

I learned a lot at the conference, perhaps because the strongest thing I had while there, in a very un-Hunter fashion, was a Mojito.


stephanie said...

Best post ever!

Also, why is there ALWAYS construction in Las Vegas.

Luvvie said...

Ditto!! Excellent idea for a post - sort of post post-modern. You could be starting a new thing here PP. One day I'll get to Vegas......with the lovely friend who took me to Simon and Garfunkel.....she loves it...