Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

You have to dance in the Dance Area

Posted from Culver City, California at 7:30 pm, February 22nd, 2009

As an incentive for employees to work an unhealthy number of hours, 120 VC (the company through whom I contract with DIRECTV) offers a yearly trip to individuals who average at least 45 billable hours per week. Last year’s trip led Aaron and I to the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara, while this year’s offering took us to the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas. For those unfamiliar with Vegas, the Strip is the center of all activity; Green Valley is not on the Strip. As a result, on Friday night Aaron and I hopped into a shuttle, arrived on the Strip, and spent the next several hours punishing our livers and increasing casino profit margins before hailing a cab to return to quieter settings. The next day we awoke with the typical day-after Vegas lurgy and after spending some time at the arcade headed off to the hotel spa for detoxification, all the while vowing that Saturday night would be more laid back; this vow was one that would be broken.

The company had provided me with a bit of spending money for the weekend, so we decided to break convention and see a show. Since Cirque du Soleil has about 300 shows currently in Vegas we figured that was a good option, and randomly picked Zumanity, not realizing that it was Cirque du Soleil’s freaky sex-themed show. While I was fully in favor of the myriad of boobs and acrobatics, the six foot six dominatrix host(ess) and gay gladiators were less of a draw for me. Aaron summed it up well: “That was crazy. I liked it. I’m glad we went. But I’d probably never go again.”

With the show ending around 9:00, the evening took a new direction. Hanging out in the bar at New York, New York casino we were watching highlights on Sportscenter, talking to random people, and occasionally stepping away to lose a few dollars in the slot machines when the magic of Vegas intervened. While we were downing Coronas an obviously drunk pair of brothers from the actual state of New York came dancing by, and Aaron made the comment that “you guys are just sort of making your own little dance area, huh?” “Dance area” is Vegas code for mayhem, and thus was born the New York, New York dance floor. In the midst of a busy casino walkway next to the bar Aaron and his new friends started levying a dance tax on all who passed through – “This is the dance area, you have to dance in the dance area!” While this would have been beyond obnoxious anywhere else, in Vegas these moments are the stuff of legend, and girls, guys, waitresses, security guards, young people, old people, and everyone in between spent a bit of time dancing through the next four hours. One old Asian lady who clearly spoke no English looked panic-stricken when Aaron danced up to her, partially blocking her way, but after two seconds a smile broke across her face, she high-fived, and shimmied her way along. There were moves made that caused women to swoon and would have caused Fred Astaire to cringe, people who returned hour after hour to see what was going on, many drinks consumed, and more laughter than on almost any Vegas trip I’ve ever had the pleasure of partaking in.

The dance-a-thon ended around 2:00 AM, and by 3:30 I returned to the Green Valley. Aaron made it back around 6:00 AM, and the very overpriced room service was a blessing when we finally awoke the next day. I had planned on setting off back to LA around 4:00, but after a streak of bad luck the gods of Vegas decided to keep me around a bit longer by giving me two of the three highest “Hot Hot” jackpots during a two hour stretch (“highest” is relative on these slots – I won a grand total of $50), and when finally I rolled back into Culver City around midnight it was a tired but happy man that curled up into bed.

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