For unknown reasons I was up at 2am this morning tossing and turning with several mirror-gazing moments. Flashes of parties, gatherings, car rides, bar closings, kisses, strolls, tears, those thoughts rolled by before the final bell went off two and half hours later. Freeze ass off while wobbling into the shower, then greeted by my wife after putting on the work wear.
For the past four years those words came out while downing unknown amounts of free drinks inside Las Vegas’ various concrete palaces. Eyes glazed over with a tower of chips in front of me, not knowing nor caring if I had more now then purchased several hours ago. Each year surrounded by a group of friends that expands daily, monthly, yearly, that more people step aside from the Yahoo IM chat box and purchase a plane ticket to meet avatars and hacked words from .blogspot.com websites at the Geisha Bar.
Those people will have to wait until this Friday (I refuse to acknowledge the dickheads getting there a day before me). Now, another gathering will be dashing to the MGM mixed game, staying up late to sling alcohol-soused stories, and meeting these strangers again for the first time. It’s why people show up every year. If there was a five mile radius around this group, the owner of the bar in the epicenter of that circle could start plans to build a Key West retirement home after one year. But, because we live so far apart our livers are graceful for real life things like mortgage payments, spouses, and comfty couches for Sunday NFL afternoons without the tax deductions producing another gray hair on the chin instead of wondering how we’re going to pay for detox.
As for myself growing a year older? I’ve gained my independence back, there’s a job I actually give a shit about, and found the people with a similar last name in my house to be more then tolerable again. Walking thru the mud room and upstairs after the work day is done with awe instead of gloom, I love just watching them and being close to them whenever possible. And thanks to the extra work, I’m able to be a little more flexible with money and the guilt factor of shuttling off to Vegas for an extended weekend is packaged into making sure extra hugs are given upon returning.
The Winter Gathering in Vegas is detoxing of the degenerate soul, and those who you’ll see this week are there for similar reasons. Make sure you introduce yourself and imbibe with those of similar minds but don’t forget to take a stroll along the strip yourself and lose everything you have mentally and start anew when opening the doors to the Imperial Palace champagne pit to lay down a quarter on blackjack.