Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two Days

Man, work is really not going to make this week easy for me, that is for sure. Not only do I have ten million things to finish up before I disappear for a week-plus, first to the sands of the desert and then to the sands of the eastern seaboard, but I'm somehow getting new stuff, things that have to be completed this week, even from people who I know already know I am outta here starting on Wednesday evening. I just don't understand it, these people cannot really think I have the time or the inclination to actually bust ass on these piddly little things right now, do they? It's all I can do to keep from jumping right out my window and onto the street below and start running to the west at this point. But I am really being made to pay my penance before my departure, you can be sure of that.

At some point late on Monday, though, I came to a realization that has helped me to be in a happier place since it came to me. In the end, work simply can't make me work for any more than the 36 hours or so between right now, as I type this, and when the Hammer Family piles into the new car and sets off on another summer sojourn. Time is still the master of all things, including my bosses at work. They can make me bust a hump this week, but only for another 36 hours. And ultimately, I realized last night, I can live through 36 hours of just about anything if I know that Las Vegas followed by the beach lie on the other side.

So...Vegas. In 36 hours I am on the road with the family, and in about 60 hours we're taxiing down the runway on the first leg of my two-plane flight across the country. In about 64 hours I'll be gazing down at the Rocky Mountains as the sun nears the western horizon, and in 66 hours I'll see The Lights. You know the lights I'm talking about. All things equal, flying into Las Vegas in the nighttime is the shizzle. It's all dark, basically for a good couple of hours except for little pockets of life here and there, and then all of a sudden, you go around a bend or fly over a mountain or something, and then you see it. The yellow of Mandalay Bay. The green of the MGM. The Luxor pyramid light. Each one the brightest thing you've seen in hours. And that's when you know your trip really begins.

Those of you who've made the cross-country trip to Vegas as many times as I have know this little trick very well I'm sure, but for those who don't, flying out from the East Coast really works out well if you play your cards right. The trick is this: stay up really late the night before your flight, and then fly out in the early evening eastern time, like, say 8 or 9pm being best. Or, you can just have kids, which will mean that you are perpetually tired enough as part of your natural persona to make this plan work. And, if you've stayed up appropriately late the night before, you are easily able to fall asleep shortly after sitting down in your seat on the plane. My move is to not even be awake for the takeoff and have no memory of it whatsoever, but anytime within the first hour or so of boarding works for me. Again, if you're me, it's a gimme that I'm out for the first half of that flight, and if I'm lucky, I'll get in two separate two-hour-plus naps during the roughly six hour flight from the northeast.

It sucks that Las Vegas is so far away from the northeast, but you do get to take advantage on your way out there. On a good flight, I can spend a good five hours of the 6-hour flight fast asleep. And for those of you who don't know this about me, that's more sleep than I'll get most nights of the week no matter what else is going on in my life. So, by staying up late the night before and making myself good n tired, I can not only pass the time on the long flight by not even being conscious, but I can arrive in Vegas at around 9pm local time, having already gotten in a full sleep for the night. And, since sleeping is very overrated on any Vegas trip, that's a major plus that you just can't duplicate if you're flying in from Chicago and certainly not from Denver or LA, etc.

The real move when you're flying from the East Coast is to go to sleep as close to the beginning of the flight as possible, get in as close to the amount of sleep you would have needed for that night anyways, and then try to be up for the final half hour to an hour of the trip. Like I said, there's the money shot when you suddenly see the sky lit up like it's daytime after two hours and about 1300 miles of pitch black. But more than that, the whole atmosphere on the plane that's about to land in Vegas for the weekend is so different from any other flight, really. I was going to try to describe in in my monkey grunt and curse word prose, but then I remembered that Bill Simmons the Sports Guy really captured the essence of it several years ago when he wrote about ESPN sending him out to Las Vegas for the weekend. Simmons wrote 5 or 6 parts of a fabulous read about that crazy Vegas trip, and it is in Part I where the Sports Guy did such a great job of capturing the essence of the cross-country trip to Vegas:

"One of my favorite parts of any Vegas trip happens during that final hour before the airplane lands in Nevada. People roam the aisles, giddy as schoolkids. The pilot sounds like he just washed down an ecstacy tablet with a Dunkin' Donuts "Big One" coffee. You find yourself babbling to complete strangers, swapping magazines and splitting a ginger ale with somebody who looks a cross between Yassir Arafat and Sam Elliott. When the plane lands, some passengers actually applaud with that "Here we go, guys!" clap. It's a surreal experience."

I completely agree. And that'll be me, in just 60 hours now. Work has me for another 36 hours, and they can do what they will to me during that time. But no matter what torturesome assignments they come up with, no matter what crass attitude they take with me, it's only for 36 hours. Then the next ten days belong to me.

Two days. Just 60 hours. In fact, to be accurate right now it's more like 59 hours and 40 minutes or so.

Not that I'm counting.



Blogger PokahDave said...

Good Luck!

1:21 AM  

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