Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
Sometimes Comrade appreciates it when I point out that it's ironic that his favorite food is waffles. Sometimes he isn't sure if it's funny. Regardless, we knew we had to have at least one day of delicious waffles. So we started out our Wednesday at Maxine's, which was just outside our hotel.
I took a picture of brunch duck in front of our food. This was the highlight of our meal. The second highlight was that we conquered a Pokemon gym, and each put a shiny green monster in, and then four other people joined in, also putting in shiny green monsters. The third highlight was that, eventually, a server came over to take our order, while the tables around us loudly cackled at nothing, and had incredibly loud phone conversations where they played the "I love you. Ok, you hang up. No, you hang up." game until a vortex appeared and swallowed each of their phones, spitting them out into the surprised hands of their children who were then forced to say "I love you. No, you hang up first." to themselves until they died of starvation, having no hands free to feed themselves.
I thought I ordered a stack of waffles, eggs, and some bacon, but I'd actually ordered waffles stacked with eggs and bacon between them. The waffles envied Eggos. The high fructose corn syrup had never even seen a maple tree. The eggs were from seagulls. The bacon was actually faux wooden paneling pulled off a 1970s station wagon.
Comrade ordered the berry waffles, everything else seeming too rich. I would not have been surprised if the waffles had come out with crunch berries and boo berries. But they were real shaped berries, each of them named after one of the chef's exes. A puff of smoke rose out of each one as soon as the forks touched them. His waffles were decisively stale. But also wet. His syrup was made from the racist briars from Disney's Song Of The South. Our server apologized for nearly forgetting our drinks. A glass of crushed Cheetos in dirty dish water, masquerading as orange juice. I had a ginger ale made from onions and the carbonated sweat of an Edward Sheeran impersonator. I can not recommend Maxine's. Though neither of us had the Cotton Candy Pancakes or the Cocoa Puffs French Toast, so maybe it was our fault for not ordering the proper items.
We caught a Lyft to Area 15. A metal garden. Four laughing old ladies who cawed "You'll love this Betty," of course Betty, "it's almost like art." A dragon of gears, an embracing trophy couple, a fallen robot with a riddle decoded with an A-Z code that took too much time to be interesting. Tickets on my phone. A security guard loved my shirt: two kaiju kissing. He showed me his keychain, three kaiju fighting. I asked him where he got it, his answer was TV static.
We enter Area 15 proper. A gigantic doom mask. A generic bar. A generic bar. We bypass the central store. An ice cream stand. Two places to sit and partake in food or drink. I buy a ticket for Omega Mart. An hour wait. Avoid the gift store. Find a toy store that happens to be the aforementioned TV static. We do not find any kaiju keychains. Up the stairs. An ovoid zip line. Wink World. We enter.
Wink World is a hallway of Magic Eye art that fails to dazzle without hallucinogens or 3-D glasses. Not boring. Just just. At the end of the hallway, a door closes behind you. Lights go off. Bulbs. Voice over about infinity. A door opens. Another room. More bulbs? Different shapes? Something about letting go? Another door opens. Slinky corpses and pop music. Beats. Beats. Beats. Another door. Another voice over. More shiny. A journey from pot to opium to acid to being sober and listening to someone on boring drugs to general exhaustion. A perfect journey. Never a sleep moment. Time to blink and laugh and still be impressed. I would do it again.
We are out just in time for Omega Mart. Backpacks not allowed. Magic wand securitied. Bag check. The vegetable aisle of aspirational carrots, ducklings, a stack of apples with questionable holes to other dimensions. A hedge of flowers with mouths and eyes leads us into the secret back room. Basic illusions. A student film with a budget about missing siblings, aliens? a cult of groceries. We walk out dubious. A small cabin with books, a computer where someone is trying to solve riddles. Serious Twin Peak vibes.
Another cabin. More books. Another computer. A small hole. Comrade crawls through first. I follow. A cliff wall with a rope ladder. At the top, a place to sit. View of the area you came from. A hallway of lights. The break room. Safety video musical. A file cabinet to another room. A robot who doesn't want to be replaced. A recording about rebranding Omega Mart. Another hallway. Doors. Some say Nope. Spoilers, some have things in them. The Internet. Infinity. Music.
Up some stairs to a slide down to a doorway that leads through the soda coolers in the grocery store. Vegan goat pus. Who told you this was butter? I think a lot of this is out of order. A spiral staircase to a different file cabinet. A room full of computers. Choose Your Own Phone Adventure. An employee likes my shirt. Takes what I'm working on to another desk. Cat pictures. Hostile takeover. A cult leader ascends. A sister suffers. A graph of rumors ranked by believablity.
A path leads back towards the slide. I frighten an employee who was trying to frighten me. Yelp reviews mention that the employees aren't very helpful. I guess it depends on what you need, Betty. Down another corridor back into the grocery store. We buy some sodas that aren't very good.
It's fine. Back in Area 51 an all soda store. Two different delicious varieties of Heteronormative Teeny Bopper Bullshit. Another circuit of the building. An overpriced clothing store. A mannequin flipping the bird. Prismed swimming goggles. More sequins than Liberace could palsy a fist at.
At Meow Wolf, we buy a magnet, some postcards, a hat.
We ordered a Lyft back to the casino. Got dressed for a show. Prepared to get dinner at Fulton Street. But Vegas. Vegas you improperly signed fucko. A giant sign for Fulton Street outside a McDonald's and a Panda Express. Neither of which are Fulton Street. Inside the casino, Harrah's, signs for everything but what we were looking for. Fine, Outback Steakhouse. Not the one I helped open for a few hours in 2003. A different one. Dinner was fine. We watched the Volcano show from a safe distance. Headed into The Mirage.
We were early. Comrade kept making the same jokes about his favorite Beatles songs, always actually talking about ACDC songs. He conjured two unrelated people wearing ACDC shirts. I did not think of the story Tony told me a billion times about how he once tried to bust a shoplifter who turned out to be Angus Young, who could buy and sell the entire inventory of that store fifty times without his bank account being appreciably dented. I didn't think of it at all. A billion times. I did notice that there were virtually no records, CDs or other physical copies of Beatles music in the Beatles store, just generic Beatles junk and forgettable t-shirts. Hrm.
There were a lot of jokes you don't need to hear that we told during our hour wait before seeing Cirque Du Soleil's Beatles show. But I did use the bathroom, and walked through two halls of urinals. There is no way all of those urinals were neccesary. When I was done, I washed my hands, walked back and every urinal was occupied. The previous Beatles show had just let out. I see.
Dozens of people were having their pictures taken in front of a frankly boring mural, so Comrade and I pretended that we were waiting for someone to take our picture. We posed. We looked hesitant. We shrugged. We looked around. No one noticed our pantomime routine. We got in line for the show.
Look, the acrobatics in the Cirque Du Soleil Beatles show were fantastic. The performers were excellent. But, Paul's not dead yet, what a boring show. There's neither a narrative nor a lack of narrative. There's a weird Did You Know World War II Ended So That Beatlemania Could Exist moment. There is a guy who searches for love the entire show by handing out flowers. At the very end, for no discernable reason, he has a huge boquet of flowers. A performer we've just met is hit by a car, and a child actor raises his arms in the air in despair, and I said, out loud, Please Don't Let This Be The Beginning Of Hey Jude. It was.
We were the only people in our row. Calling the performance sparsely attended is being polite. There was a couple a few rows in front of us, wearing matching straw hats, who either had a relative in the cast, were on A LOT of uppers, or else were genuinely touched by the show. I'm glad they were there, as the rest of us were a dead fucken audience. I began to question if I'd ever liked theater.
The lowpoint: there are very few people of color in the show. The dance scene the two main poc acrobats have together? (They each have several numbers with other acrobats) It's to "Blackbirds". While they dance, civil rights scenes are superimposed on screens around them. That would just be mildly heavy handed but fine. But then, out of nowhere, a fucken tramp black bird splats to the ground and does a goddamned pseudo-minstral routine before ascending as the song says "Blackbird fly." It's the only part of the show I remember that was played for comedy. And it interrupted the civil rights scene.
What the actual fuck?
I also think, maybe, this year they could have cut the Back In The USSR number, it made no interesting statement.
It wasn't all bad, but very little of the good parts were as excellent as the bad parts were terrible. It certainly didn't make me want to watch any more Cirque Du Soleil shows.
We went back to the hotel where an ominous group of men in NFL jerseys were checking in. We slept. Cautiously.
There were still no flamingos out in the flamingo habitat.