I had a hot dog as big as my head for lunch today. It was no Nathan's, but tasty none the less. Nathan's is this amazing hot dog place in the New York, New York back home in Vegas. Thinking about Nathan's started to make me ultra excited for my upcoming vacation.
On July 10 I fly out of Austin and through today's modern marvels, will land in Vegas mere hours later. I moved to Vegas to live with my dad at age 15, half-way through my sophomore year of high school. Even though I only lived there for three years before I left for college, it really is the first place I ever lived that I could call a city my own. It is where I was when I learned to drive, had friends, joined the church, and really became aware of myself as a person.
From the moment I set off the plane, all of my sense tell me that I have returned home. The smell is something that you cannot capture. It is an arid smell of the parched dirt, mixed with an ephemeral quality that I have never quite been able to put my finger on it. The heat is a warm embrace from my city, that I spend my entire life trying to recapture. As the tiny pores on my arms open up to release moisture into the air, I can feel the city permeating my body. Entering my blood stream, and saturating my soul.
I fly in on a Friday and that night and day, my father is off and we get to spend time together. We will probably do some touristy things while we wait for my step-mother to wake up year. In previous years we have done the Star Trek Experience at the Hilton, the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, and the Bodies exhibit at the Tropicana. I wish that Wet 'N Wild was still open. The Sahara had to go and ruin that for everyone. I might try to talk my dad into eating at On Top Of The World, the restaurant on top of the Stratosphere, or see about getting a locals pass to the Hard Rock's pool. It has real sand at the bottom of the pool. Then again if only the pretty people can swim like at The Palms (they literally have a bouncer), we might have to make alternate plans.
Sunday both parents will be off and I am sure that my step-mom will drag us out for some shopping that neither me or my father wants to do. I love to shop. Lets look at shoes or bags or cute dresses. Unfortunately that is not the kind of shopping that she likes to do. She will drag us to Costco where I am not going to buy 10lbs of pretzels, she will drag us to the bookstore where I am not going to buy six books that will put me over my luggage weight limit, and she will drag us to Babies R Us to buy things for my other siblings. Not to fear, dinner will make it work it. We usually eat at a fancier place like will usually net me lobster tail or at least crab.
Monday my dad will work, and it will be more painful shopping with my step-mom. Tuesday I am going to try to talk one of the parents into letting me us a car to go to the temple. The Las Vegas temple is amazingly huge. Every time I do a session there and I sit in the chapel, waiting for the session to start, I look around and wonder why you would need seating for 500. Wednesday I will fly out to Portland. As I board the plane that will whisk me away for Vacation part two, I know that there will be the sting of the bittersweet that will buzz in my chest for months. One day when my parents retire, and I have no reason to make my annual pilgrimage. I am sure that the last time I board the plane to fly away, and I have to close a chapter of childhood, the sting will become a permanent part of me.