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Vegas, baby

November 11, 2010

I flew into Las Vegas last night to attend a training.  The baggage claim area looked like the side of a city highway, with dozens of billboards advertising the performers that entertain the pleasure-seeking crowds pouring off of the airplanes.  As I glanced around at my Frontier Flight 773 companions, I noticed several categories of travelers:  there were the business men, dressed in suits and holding cell phones close to their ears; there were the eager vacationers, dressed in tropical colors and adorned in excess jewelry and makeup; there were the cool-and-casual “yeah, I know this place like the back of my hand” types who wore an air of self-professed importance; and then there were the handful or so like me who just stood calmly awaiting their luggage with no particular distinguishing features.

Contrary to what those who know me well might think, I love a place like Vegas.  Not for the casinos, not for the shows, not for the million-and-one things to do–but for the people.  It’s the best place in the world to people watch.  Nowhere in the world is there such an enticing collision of races, classes, cultures, personalities, dreams, and disappointments.  Vegas is a fascinating study in human behavior and interaction–a sociology instructor’s mecca.  I suppose you could say it’s a math instructor’s mecca, too, for the odds involved in each casino game!  Lucky me–I teach both 🙂

I’ve never been the type to look up at those billboards in the airport and on the highways and dream of the day when my face and name might be up there.  I never sought fame because it would destroy my anonymity and my ability to blend in with so many different crowds.  You can’t very well people watch when people are watching you!  I cherish my freedom to roam in and out of different groups and hold casual conversations with different types of people; it’s my favorite way to learn about the world.  I’ve already chatted with people from several different countries, learned about the winters in Oklahoma, b.s.’d about rodeos, and lamented the economy–and it’s only midday.

There is one place, though, that I don’t mind standing out:  the dance floor.  By day, I’m the quiet observer with the poker face–but by night, I’m the queen of country, or salsa, or swing, or ass-shaking, or whatever type of club you put me in!  And you can bet I’ll be looking for a place to tear it up tonight because I just got my dancing boots resoled and ready to go…

By the way, I mentioned I was here for a training, but the training got canceled due to the hotel overbooking its conference rooms–thus my ability to already be out and about and writing on my blog!



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