Thursday, November 17, 2011

Leaving Las Vegas

True story: on my 21st birthday, I was living with my parents in Las Vegas. I'd just graduated from college, and came out to Vegas for what was supposed to be a 2-week vacation (I stayed until I was 25).

So I'm turning 21 in Sin City. Mid-afternoon, my dad comes home and says "get your shoes on, we're going downtown." We drive to a casino, and he hands me a roll of quarters and points towards the slot machines.

I lost the whole roll in ten minutes.

When I finished, he said "You get the point?"

"Yes sir."

"Alright, let's go home. Your mom's got cake."


I've been in town for an emergency management trade show, and it's been shocking how little I've emotionally connected with visiting a place I love. Other than a fantastic dinner with my aunt and uncle, I might have been anywhere. A big part of it is that we're staying at one of the seedier casinos (the Rio, best known for hosting the Chippendales), and I've had no transportation or time to visit my old haunts. Some of it is my Vegas-local disdain for mingling with the tourists. And a lot of it is that at this point I'd much rather be home with my family.

But as we drove to the airport this morning at 3:30am, I started getting nostalgic for the first time. I've not flown out of this airport on a return trip before... This was always the launching point for new travel. I flew out of this airport to propose to Judi, and again to marry her. I flew out for friends' weddings, for family reunions, and to visit Cincinnati to interview for grad school.

Arriving at McCarren is "coming home," but leaving is "starting a new adventure."

I'm ready for the next adventure.

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