Las Vegas isn’t for everyone. Though Las Vegas does offer something for everyone. Many years ago I lived in Las Vegas for 6 months. I wasn’t a stripper, a cocktail waitress or a show girl but go ahead and think that I was if it helps your mental picture of me or lend any credibility to my story. For the past four days I have attended a Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Conference on Recruiting and Talent Management. I’m a recruiter. No, I don’t recruit strippers, cocktail waitresses, show girls or gamblers, but – again – if that helps you, go with the belief. Most of Vegas, to me, is repulsive. The smoking, gambling and drinking is gross. I love Vegas for the gracious delivery of people at their best, in their finest hour. If you want to people watch or have random interaction with people, Vegas is the place. Last night, along with a fellow SHRM buddy I just met, we went to Ri Ra, an Irish Pub reported to have good food, good beer and good live music.
Did I say last night? That’s an overstatement. It was really late afternoon. We rolled in at 5:30 PM. It was early. Our plan was to go early, have a beer before dinner to get seats before the crowd arrived.
We sat at the bar. Two women in our 40-50’s with our SHRM tote bags in tow. We were chatting over our Guinness when this guy from the bar table behind us wedges his way in to order drinks. The bartender, a woman, asks what he’d like and he gave his drink order and added “Are you from Ireland”? She nodded. He added “God that’s so sexy. Don’t mind me, my wife is right there, I just think anyone who speaks with an accent is sexy”. He walks away and the bartender says to us “Idiot”. We laugh in full agreement.
A bit later, the same guy wedges in and orders shots for his group – his wife and two other women. His conversation topic this time is whether or not “the car bomb” is a real drink in Ireland to which the bartender said no. He carries the shots to the table, asks someone to take a group photo and instead of the typical “cheese”, they all yell out “car bomb”! The bartender, my friend and I look at each other in shock. The bartender says, “He’s worse than an idiot, he’s ignorant too”. At that point, just over 24 hours had passed since the Boston Marathon bombings. Car bombs, any bombs, are not something to be celebrated.
The fun is not over yet. My friend receives a call she had to take out of the restaurant. The guy comes back to settle his tab. He sits half a cheek on the stool occupied by my friend’s bag in her absence because he’s really too plastered to stand for any length of time. While he’s waiting to be processed out, he looks at me and says “Can I ask you a question”? “If you’re able” I reply. I’m a “may I” kind of person. I constantly make my children rephrase the question or answer with “I’m sure you ‘can’ but you definitely ‘may not'”. He was too inept and inebriated to even catch the correction so he asked “If you were on a desert island and could only have one food, what would it be”? Really? Fine. Quickly I respond “Apples”. He then told me his “choice would be garlic bread” as if I cared. Then, stumped by my response (where is the bartender with his card?) he said “Really? Apples. Apples huh? Why apples”? (Where is that bartender? Where is my SHRM buddy?) I explain that apples are versatile. They can be dried, juiced, sauced, baked, peeled or eaten whole. One thing you can do a lot with. You’re going to get really thirsty eating all that garlic bread. At this point his eyes are crossing, his mind is boggled and he is clearly stumped. He said with little hostility, “You just shot me down. That wasn’t very nice”. Though I wanted to say “I’m sorry you’re an idiot, choose who you engage with more carefully”, I, instead, said “I’m sorry you think I shot you down, I’m a foodie. I think a lot about food”. The bartender then shows up. He gives me a sideways drunken scowl and returns to his wife and friends. The bartender notices the exchange and after he leaves asks what happened. I told her he didn’t like my food choice. She looks at my plate of fish and chips in front of me and says “idiot”.
The fun isn’t over yet. Las Vegas never sleeps.
The two bar stools to my left become available (the entire exchange with the guy happened on my right). Two Irishmen sit down. I know they’re Irish because the Irish bartender knows them and they start raped fire talking in accented tongue that you could maybe catch every third word. They order Budweiser. What? Irishmen ordering Budweiser in an Irish Pub? I couldn’t let it go, so I asked them “Why are two Irishmen drinking Budweiser in an Irish Pub”? They tag teamed their reply. The first guy said “We drink Guinness for breakfast”. The second said “We drink Budweiser as our early supper”. Instantly I loved them.
In spite of my love for them, the Irishman on the end got excited about something and knocked over his Bud causing his friend to jump up and knock over HIS Bud, both of which ran down the bar and all over me. The Ri Ra staff and the Irish gents were all very kind and gracious in mopping up the me and the mess. In the end I was still soaked. In Budweiser. Soak me in Guinness, slather me in Kerrygold and call me brown bread. Fine. I can deal with that. To be drenched in stinking Budweiser was insulting. I paid my tab and left.
I held my head high as I walked out and traipsed through the casino and hotel to my room. Smelling like Bud.
Though I add last night’s experience to what I don’t like about Vegas, I do leave with good memories. The lunch break I spent in 85 degree sun poolside with one of the best veggie hummus spinach wraps I’ve ever had and reminded me why I love resort living. The conference itself was excellent and provided great takeaways I look forward to implementing soon. Happy hour at MIX in THE Hotel was a great deal with a beautiful view of the strip. The lobster cesaer salad and tuna tartare appetizers alone are worth a return trip. I highly recommend THE Hotel over staying at Mandalay Bay. A beautiful room with excellent service. Though I’m thankful for the experience and opportunity to be here, Las Vegas, to me, is a good place to leave to those that really appreciate what it fully has to offer.