Saturday, September 1, 2012

downtown tales

when i moved onto the las vegas strip, i knew i wasn't moving onto candycane lane. i was expecting glitter, more tattoos, miniature armies of pauly d look-a-likes and underage asian girls with hemlines warranting a sexually explicit content warning. unfortunately, i was right and thus i started hanging out 'downtown' in the artsy, grungier part of vegas the locals call home. there's a distinctly 'cool' vibe down there, the same way williamsburg once was for new yorkers. downtown feels like our little secret. another thing that was also a distant and blissful secret to me, were the amount of bat-shit, crazy homeless people that reside in the area between sahara and fremont. it's been over 2 years and i've had my fair share of run-ins with these people so it should have been no surprise that today's journey to fetch my bike would be anything but normal.

i woke up to a clear skies and sun, per usual, and decided to take a dip in the pool and then walk to my bike which was parked at the Odgen (a popular condo building on Ogden and 6th) about 2 miles away. along the path i take are several vintage and antique stores. there's veronica at gypsy caravan that bejewels animal figurines for celebrities like Bette Middler (hers included a 30 karat diamond) with costume stones for around 10k a piece. i needed to replace a stone on a vintage necklace anyways, so i set off on foot to kill two birds with one stone.

i made it to gypsy caravan relatively easily and then i texted my friend dave to see if he wanted to grab a beer when i got to the ogden (about a mile from where i was). he was nearby so he offered to pick me up. while i was waiting, i saw another vintage store and popped in. somehow in between a 1970's bright orange poncho and a t-shirt featuring a large, black woman wearing an apron and bandana that said 'lookin' for love, settlin' for lust' my phone went on silent and i missed dave's calls. we then played phone tag for 10 minutes while i wandered the intersection of 3rd and charleston until he found me and we had a good laugh. he dropped me off at my bike and i decided on my way home to stop in a local coffee shop and have lunch before i'd get some cash and go back to the vintage store for my pirates booty. it was around this time, mother nature decided to visit and the cramps kicked in. of course, i was wearing my brand new white bikini. explicit language ensued.

i decided that i would not let the torments of being a woman come get in the way of me and my spoils! so i set off. and then i started to sweat... my bike had another low tire (i think there is a nail in it). rats. no worries, i'll pedal to the gas station to get cash for the vintage and air my tire. bada-bing-bada-bang.

as i pull up to the gas station a young homeless man throws an empty pringles bottle at me and laughs, too loudly. rude. i start to lock up mint julep (my cruiser) and notice he is walking towards me. i thought he was going to ask me for cash, but instead he asked me for a 'liptons iced tea' (ah, a begger who knows what he wants). i'm still mad about him throwing a pringles can at me, but i shrug it off because it's really hot outside and i'm impressed he only wanted tea. "okay, come with me" i said. i didn't want to go to the ATM while he was with me, so i was wondering how i was going to get the poncho, but i decided i'd figure that out "a couple of condoms." "no, i don't think so" i replied and he laughed. he then says "you're in your swim suit huh? i'd love to jump in a pool right now. naked." enough was enough. I walked to my bike and said goodbye to him which he took to mean i wanted to chat.

him: "how long have you had your bike?"
me: "oh, 6 months or so." i am hurriedly trying to unlock my bike now.
him: "can i take it for a spin?"
me: "no, it's mine."
him: "do you wanna go catch some bands tonight? you like me don't you?"
me: "no, i don't. and no, i don't" <-- now the cramps are killing me and i might punch him in a rage.
him: "you wanna screw?"
me: "no, go enjoy your iced tea." i have this problem, where i am very calm in situations i shouldn't be.
him: "yeah. if you did, i'd need to take a shower. i smell from walking around here."
me: "yes. this is true. i don't want to do that. goodbye."
then i proceeded to spill my water and walk away with my bike aggravated that i hadn't gotten cash for the orange poncho nor air for my tire and there wasn't another gas station for half a mile. screw it, i need to go home. so i pedaled off huffing and puffing again, working double with a semi-flat tire. cramping, and sweating.

I get to the next gas station and i have to go inside to get cash in order to make change for the air (seriously, quarters?). i am getting really irritated. really irritated. in what sane world do we have to pay for AIR anyways?

i see a homeless man in a wheelchair and i see the target on my shirt saying "rich girl $$$$$"
he comes over as i'm failing in an attempt to air the tire.
"hey girl, let me help you.. you gotta really stick it in there!"
"uhhh thanks. oh my gosh, you're walking!!!" as he gets out of his wheelchair and walks over to the pump.
i have either just witnessed a miracle or he is a fraud. but, he airs my tire and i am thankful, and yet unwilling to part with a dollar as that lead to a sexual proposition a few blocks back.  i ride off while he yells "oh yeah baby! you enjoy that!"

the wind is really blowing now and threating to knock me over in the busy part of las vegas blvd. tourists are looking at me. i know it is mostly with envy because my bike is so cool, but also because i may look crazy. still cramping. i may die of heat exhaustion. i am poncho-less.

i get to my building, stare up at the valet hill of lombard-street-like proportion i have to go up to get to the garage, and wave to the gate keeper. she comes out and i start puffing up the hill.

"kid, you're brave riding your bike out there."

1 comment:

kimbaercowden said...

OH.MY.WORD. The momma in me is on full alert! Danger, Danger! =)
I think my favorite line is "no, go enjoy your ice tea." Too funny!! (And I do the SAME thing, staying way too calm in situations that might actually warrant a freak-out..A lot of times I wish for a do-over.)

You are awesome! <3