Saturday, August 20, 2011

Off to a Flying Stop

It’s time for the National Championship 8-ball tournament in Las Vegas. I’ve been anticipating this day with nervous excitement all week long. Unfortunately, that same excitement causes my Parkinson’s symptoms to act up, so my hand has been fluttering like a butterfly for days.

Halfway to the airport this morning, I realized that I had forgotten to pack my migraine medication. If I develop a migraine during the tournament, I’ll be unable to play, so I’m facing a hassle getting the prescription transferred from my pharmacy in Florida.

We took off on a clear, bright morning, weaving through puffy cumulus clouds.


Over Texas, I noticed these odd “crop circles,” created by circular irrigation systems.


Soon they were everywhere, stretching to the horizon.


Eventually, the land became more arid and mountainous.


After landing at the Las Vegas airport, we collected our bags and our pool cues from baggage claim. Pool cues have to be checked as baggage, because they’re classified as potential weapons. We then split a couple of cabs to our hotel. The league is putting us up at one of the worst hotels in Las Vegas – Circus Circus.


It was built in 1968, and by Las Vegas standards, it’s pretty lame. For example, the swimming pool is tiny and adjacent to a parking lot full of RVs. Worse, it’s packed with little kids. By comparison, the pool at the Riviera across the street is huge, and packed with nubile women in bikinis. Sorry, no pictures.

We were met at the hotel by our league operator, who delivered some aggravating news. It was 10:30 am Las Vegas time, but we wouldn’t be able to check in to the hotel until 3 pm. We would have to find some way to occupy ourselves for four and a half hours. Our team captain and I wandered around in the furnace-like heat, ducking into the noisy casinos when it got too oppressive.

Finally, weary and drained, we got our room keys. I’m rooming with another player from our team, who I’ll call George. George isn’t exactly a Rhodes scholar. We opened our luggage, and George said, “I don’t own a pair of flip-flops. This isn’t my suitcase.”

George had picked up the wrong bag at the airport. He quickly panicked, realizing that he faced a week without clean clothing. I found a name tag on the bag with a phone number, and we called it. Luckily, the guy who owned the bag (also named George) was staying at Circus Circus as well. He gratefully came to our room and picked up his bag.

Next we called the airline baggage office. George spoke to a stern woman who threatened to keep his bag unless he brought back the bag he had picked up by mistake. We had to call the other George and ask him to call the baggage office and straighten everything out. Later, another member of our team drove George to the airport so that he could pick up his bag.

The whole day has been exhausting, and I think I’m getting a migraine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good Luck, Sherlock! Looking forward to hearing/reading all about the competition.