Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas…Mostly Fear

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005, 12:59 pm

I am, as you might imagine, excited about going to Vegas in FIVE WEEKS. Remember, I’ve had to read ten of thousands of words written by yinz about previous WPBT events. How you couldn’t wait to go. How the time was going so slowly. How it’s finally here! And then, for weeks afterwards, meandering recaps of dirty little escapades that brought to mind the movie Rashomon, where different narrators give very different accounts of the same event. Of course, for me it was all the same–I was stuck in my goddam cube seething with envy.

I seethe no more. Now I’m the one on pins and needles, ready to go. I’m already packed. No, I lie. But I did find myself sifting through my wardrobe looking for appropiate casinowear. I had to sift exceedingly fine–I haven’t gone shopping for clothes in awhile and what I own is so bland as to be both timeless and completely unfashionable. I may need the advice of my friend Jeff, who visits Vegas regularly and who no doubt sneers at those who wander the casinos dressed in ObviousTouristWear. Then again, it’s hard to find flashy threads in Pittsburgh, unless you’re up for a solid-gold Ben Roethlisberger jersey. Which I’m not.

So a Great Adventure beckons. I’m not sure if I should start drinking every day to condition my liver or teetotal until December 9th so I give myself an honest shot at survival. Should I immerse myself in Small Stakes Hold-Em or Harrington on Hold-Em? Or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Is Debbie Reynolds performing that week?

Which brings me back to the title of this post, and the one aspect of the trip that will probably make the time fly by for me. Emphasis on “fly”. As in, I’m afraid to. I’m not afraid in a “you’d better sedate me or else I’m escaping by flushing myself down the loo” way, but more in a calm, rational “We’re 30,000 feet in the air and unless I remain TOTALLY FOCUSED and sit RIDGIDLY AT ATTENTION it’s quite possible the GODDAM WINGS WILL FALL OFF.”

I haven’t flown post-9/11. My brother, who’s coming with me, flies from Pittsburgh to Kansas City on business every week. You’d think he’d help relax me, but now HE says he doesn’t like to fly. Great. I think we’ll be leaving the ‘Burgh around 8AM, not giving me much time to tailgate and get loaded before I board. Maybe I’ll get lucky and fall asleep for a bit, but chances are I’ll be WAY, WAAAAAAAY too keyed up to catnap. Where’re the goddam bullet-trains like they have in Japan, where’s the goddam infrastructure?

It is ironic, of course, that growing up I wanted to be a fighter pilot/astronaut. Yep, that’d be me, downing a few shots and a beer before climbing into the cockpit of my F-15, shooting off Sidewinders just to see the fizzy little smoke trail they leave behind. Awesome.

It doesn’t help that last night I had one of those semi-waking dreams where I was on a plane and there was turbulence. We weren’t crashing–just a few bumps. And I woke with my heart was going about 235 beats a second and my skin clammy with my pouring sweat. That sounds like another scene from Fear and Loathing. Like most scenes, actually.

I know, rationally, that flying is the safest way to travel. Far safer than me driving cross-country for 5 days. I’ve never been on a flight were anything untoward occured. Everything’s been quite routine. Dull, even. And that’s fine. But to calm my nerves, would it be too much to ask for God to provide me with a notarized affidavit assuring me that nothing is going to happen?

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7 Responses to “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas…Mostly Fear”

  1. BadBlood Says:

    I feel the same way. Just get drunk, it’s much easier.

  2. Otis Says:

    Dude, I’ve been on a plane that emergency landed…twice. Nothing like seeing the line of fire trucks on the runway below you.

    That said, I fly EVERYWHERE. You stand a greater chance of having a heart attack out of security gate frustration (wait, I just had one thinking about it…okay, it’s passed), than being a member of the unfortunate “Died in a plane crash” statistic.

    And with THAT said, sleeping is a good option, but hard to do on a flight TO Vegas. Even I, who grew TIRED of Vegas this summer, am sure to get all little-boy-on Christmas excited when I am wheels down at McCarran.

    Finally, with all of THAT said…your best bet…and I’m quite serious about this, is to hit the airport bar nearest your gate and do the following:

    1) Order a Guinness. Drink it faster than you normally would. I recommend four big gulps.

    2) Order a shot of Jamesons and a Guinness. Shoot the Jamesons and then chase it with the Guinness.

    3) Order one more Guinness and sip it until your Zone # is called. When you’ve been called the gate, FINISH the Guinness and head for the plane.

    This works best if you have thought ahead and arranged an aisle seat (just in case you have a small bladder, like moi).

  3. God Says:

    Everything will be fine.

  4. Pauly Says:

    Scotch + Valium = Smooth Flight

  5. JoeSpeaker Says:

    I don’t exactly HATE flying. I am definitely uneasy with it. I tend to pray everytime we steam off down the runway. Hasn’t failed me yet.

    Look forward to meeting you. That’s how certain I am of your arrival!

  6. April Says:

    I used to be the same way. I once flew from Orlando to Dallas and had the plane drop altitude a noticable bit. (Yes, I screamed. What of it??). When we arrived in Dallas, I begged my then-husband to figure out a way for us to get a car from his parent’s house and then drive to Austin – no way in hell was I getting on that plane. I did manage it though. His parents on the other hand would always drive everywhere. Except for places like Spain and Hawaii. I got over my intense fear gradually – just went away to the point where I made the 8 hour flight to Hawaii with no problem. And Vegas – try to keep me off the plane. It does help having someone you know with you. And sit over the wing. I know you probably don’t want to think about that emergency exit thing, but that’s the smoothest ride on the plane. Therefore, less of those “omg” moments.

  7. Drizztdj Says:

    I suggest an all-night poker bonus whoring session, then passing out on the plane from sheer exhausion.

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