Here is a tip for any and all who might be thinking of flying through the Las Vegas airport: Don’t. Unless you have to, anyway. If you can somehow avoid it, you’ll be a happier person, probably live longer, and have a more productive life. There is nothing quite as soul-crushing as standing in an endless sea of unfamiliar faces, waiting, waiting, waiting to get to the front of the line – not so you can go on a great roller coaster or have your forehead signed by your favorite rock star – oh no. Waiting, endlessly, just so you can be asked to take off your shoes, dump out your kids’ sippy cups, unzip your laptop bag, remove your jewelry (and hairclips!), and be herded through a machine while another machine irradiates your parcels and loose clothing.
And the Las Vegas airport is even less pleasant than a garden-variety airport. It’s full of noisy slot machines. Loud music emanates from an endless loop of ads for local shows and casinos that plays over your head on an array of giant screens. The color scheme and the lighting assault the senses. The carpet… well… it’s in Vegas.
Anyway. I made it back alive. And I actually had an interesting experience. I was winding my way through 3-mile-long security line, shuffling with the herd, when I saw a dime on the floor. I almost picked it up, but I didn’t… and as I wound my way through the next loop, I wondered how I had become the type of person who just leaves a shiny dime on the floor – when my childhood self would have been so, so excited to find something so cool. I thought about whether or not I could just, sort of, stick my foot out and get it on the next pass. But as I went by, I saw that wasn’t going to work. The lyrics of a Cake song ran through my head as I made another switchback, and something inside me snapped. I ducked under two or three of the dividers and I saw it there – on the floor.
I grabbed it.
There were two guys behind me that started talking. One guy said “Find a penny, pick it up…” and the other guy said “Whoa! She was like, hell with that! I’m gettin’ it!” I held up my dime and told them that it was a dime, and it was ten times luckier than a lucky penny. They asked if it was heads or tails, and I told them it was heads. Right when we got to the front of the line, they opened up a new one so we didn’t have to wait. Jeremy and his skateboard did have to wait while I took off my hairclip, but we all made it to the other side faster than we would have. Without my dime.
When I got on the plane, the flight attendant came by and asked if I would like anything to drink. “Yes,” I said. “I’d like a diet Coke. And I want the WHOLE can.” He smiled. And when he came back, he handed me an empty cup of ice, then whipped out a can of diet Coke, while the other passengers looked on.
Number of times a 12-oz can of diet Coke will fill your standard airline drink cup: 3.