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 Texas : Features : Columns : "The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"

Babylon Blvd

by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Last week my two grown daughters and I packed up every glittery, silky and/or black thing that we owned, hopped a plane and went to Las Vegas for four days. Just us, no boys. What a great time we had! There are certain advantages to vacationing without men. One was that we could take just as long as we wanted to take getting ready. If somebody needed to wash her face and start her makeup all over again from scratch, the others understood. It was a given that one or the other of us might need to try on several outfits before finding the right one. There was not a single conversation that went, "how do I look?" "You look fine, letís go." We didnít have to ask each other how we looked because we volunteered the information and never used the word "fine" one time. "Fine" can mean too many different things and usually none of them are good. "Fine" generally means the color is wrong, the hem length is wrong, the seams pull, anything but "fine."

We girls on the other hand used better words, "gorgeous," "skinny," "mysterious." We encouraged shoe changes and shared earrings and make-up tips. From a grooming perspective alone, the trip was a blast! It was almost like prom night every night. Weíd never been to Las Vegas before and were a little surprised to find that most of the other visitors wore shorts and T-shirts most of the time. That didnít faze us in the least. We had brought our glad rags and planned to wear them.

Another advantage to traveling with all girls was that we agreed automatically on what kinds of things we wanted to eat. We all like our veggies and were not even tempted to look for "Carny Colonís 24 Hour All Meat Buffett." We had great meals, saw more neon than we had ever seen before, and shopped. Oh my, the stores! We went into places we had previously only read about: Dolce and Gabana, Michael Kors, Gucci. It was amazing! We learned that when it comes to high end designers "large" is different than "large" at Target. In fact, "large" is different than "small" at Target. We learned that there were whole realms of "small" that we would not have guessed could be found anywhere other than the pre-teen department. We learned that 50% off of big bucks is still big bucks. We were also happy to learn that the salespeople in these stores didnít mind a bit that we were only there to look. We didnít even try to pretend we were planning to buy anything, and they all seemed fine with that.

Where we did part ways, the girls and I, was on the slot machines. The very first morning we were there I got up at 3:30, which is 5:30 our time. I tried to wake the girls up, but they werenít interested, so I got ready and went downstairs by myself. I found a cup of coffee and wandered over to a slot machine where there was nobody else around. In case I made some stupid slot machine mistake. I didnít want any witnesses. I put $20 in the machine Ė I didnít have anything smaller, and I kind of cringed at my extravagance. I played for about 40 minutes. Up and down, up and down. Whenever I would get within a few credits of finishing I would win a little more and keep playing. It was starting to get a little boring, my arm was getting tired from the awkward position and my tush was going numb when the machine began to tingaling. Ding, ding, ding, ding. ĎWow,í I thought. Ding, ding, ding. ĎOh, my,í I thought. Ding, ding, dingdingdingding. It went on and on and on and on.

My whole body began to tremble. I glanced around to see if anyone was noticing. The dinging seemed to go on forever. When it finally stopped I reached out and touched the "cash out" button. I pulled the ticket out and gulped and looked at it. $458. Yikes! $458 right off the bat! How lucky could you get? Yee-Haw! I kept all my Yee-Haws silent and internal, thank goodness, and called the girls to tell them. You wouldnít think there could be a downside to winning $458 before your coffee got all the way cold. But there is. It makes you want to do it again. No matter how long it takes or how much money it costs.

If it hadnít been for the girls finally getting impatient with me I might have continued to sit on that stool for the whole four days. But they were able to pry me away, and we went back to enjoying each other and enjoying our time together. We saw an amazing Cirque de Soleil show called "Love" and all in all had a wonderful, wonderful time. I did play some more slots here and there and even won another $120, but I kind of had to sneak it in and wheedle the girls into it, "Just fifteen minutes girls, no matter what!"

We had a wonderful time, but I think one trip to Las Vegas was plenty for me. Iím way too compulsive for that town! And I think I would do well to avoid the casinos here in Oklahoma now that I have been seduced by all that ding, ding, dinging. The fact that I had to borrow the money for the airport parking from one of the girls should be almost warning enough. The fact that I was barely embarrassed to borrow it should be the rest of the warning.

© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything" December 8, 2008 Column
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