Sunday, August 12, 2007

What I learned on my Vegas Vacation

Sacramento airport has really crappy security.

We had already been through the screening and x-ray process, and were sitting at the gate, waiting to board the plane. My wife was fishing for something in her carry-on bag when she said “What the---? I forgot I had this in here” and she showed me a big pair of blue-handled scissors, which were definitely on the forbidden list.

We didn’t want to take them on the plane, of course, but we didn’t want to be scene throwing them away, either, just in case anyone thought we were depositing them for someone else to pick up later. We thought about handing them to one of the security guards, but that seemed … risky, somehow. Yes, we were paranoid. So, she took the old newspaper someone had left in the seat beside me, surreptitiously wrapped the scissors in it, and then nonchalantly dropped them in the trash can next to her seat.

Not five minutes later, the custodian came by to empty the trash can. We just sat there, hoping he wouldn’t notice the scissors. Sure enough, the first thing he does is pick them up off the top of the pile and place them in a special pocket on the side of his cart. He looked around, then moved on. We were sure he was taking them somewhere, and a few minutes later a guard with a dog came by, sniffing the air.

Kate was certain the dog had smelled the scissors and was now looking for the person that had left them there. Again, we did nothing but sit there and try not to be noticed. Either it was a coincidence, or the bomb-sniffing dog was just as bad at his job as the x-ray screeners, because we were not discovered, and boarded the plane without further incident.

Later, she found a huge bottle of lotion, one that far exceeded the 3-ounce limit, that she had been allowed to carry on the plane. So, we know that we shouldn’t trust Sac Airport security to keep anyone safe. Also, that my wife needs to be more careful when she packs.

Don’t talk to strangers.

I’m from the Midwest. I was raised to be polite. When people say hi to me, I usually at least say hi back. It’s not that I like people. I just don’t want to be rude. Of course, in Vegas, or probably in any big city, anyone who talks to you just wants to sell you something. Like the nice lady offering an afternoon looking at time shares, or the gentlemen handing out credit cards. I’ve learned my lesson now, and I don’t even need my wife to pull me away by the arm with a “keep walking” and an eye roll anymore.

The Treasure Island pirate show is no longer family friendly.

It was my wife’s idea to go see this, honestly, she had wonderful memories of watching the swashbuckling pirate show, which ended with the ship actually sinking in the moat. Imagine my surprise when the Victoria’s Secret models walked out and starting dry humping the mast of the ship. And then the Chippendales arrived, dressed like pirates, and … um … a lot of buckles got swashed, we’ll say. There was even some freaky cirque de soleil reject hopping around dressed like a parrot. It was very weird. The ship still sank, I will say that much. Just remember, I was only there because my wife wanted to go.

Las Vegas does not want your quarters.

We didn’t come to Vegas to gamble. We came to see Spamalot! No, really, that’s why were were there, just like our trip two years ago when we went to see Mamma Mia. What? But, like last time, we brought our collection of quarters to play the slots a little bit. Last time, we turned $40 worth of quarters into about $150. This time, we couldn’t find any slot machines that even took quarters. These were even the quarter slots. We’d gone back to Caesar’s, which was where we’d won the money last time. The machines only took bills and, of course, credit cards. So we spent about $30 in tens and ended up winning $25.25, so we didn’t win anything, but we didn’t lose much either. We looked all around Caesar’s and didn’t find a single machine that took coins. We found a couple in treasure island, but only a couple. They did, obligingly, let us waste all of our quarters in them so we at least did not have to carry them around anymore.

Las Vegas Airport has really good security.

No, we did not try to smuggle scissors or hand lotion onto the plane again. This time, it was the magnetic boards we’d bought for the kids as FAO Schwartz. They had to run my backpack through the scanner several times before they finally pulled me to the side to inspect it because they couldn’t see through it.

Turns out the magnets were blocking the sensors, so the security agent took them out and inspected them, and then had to know where we’d gotten them because she wanted them for her own kids. They are really cool. They’re magnets boards with little illustrated tiles marking various chores the kids are supposed to do around the house with a weekly chart, where they can put reward magnets. Not that my kids have been transformed into house-cleaning dynamos, but my son now at least brushes his teeth without argument. It’s a victory, and I’ll take it.

Spamalot! Was really good, bye the way. But how can you not love a musical that includes both a song called “I’m not dead yet,” and a bovine trebuchet.


Anonymous said...

Dogs don't smell scissors... that's not what they are looking for.

C. E. Grayson said...

Oh, I know. You go to some weird places in your head in an airport