Vegas By The Numbers: One

- The number of hours my flight was delayed. I am at the airport plenty early, having cleared security in thirty seconds flat despite my carry-ons being loaded with enough electronic gear to make me the 007 of the nerd set. I am early enough to wolf down a hamburger and fries from a place called - apparently with no irony whatsoever - Chezz Burger. I am early. My plane is not. My plane is, for some reason, in Missouri, having taken off and then returned to the ground due to some sort of mechanical failure. Thankfully the good folk of Southwest know better than to leave two flights' worth of Vegas-bound gamboolers stranded at the Burbank airport - at least, not since the TSA decided to allow pitchforks and torches through security again. An announcement is made: There's an empty plane on the way from Vegas and it will be there posthaste. The flight is brief and uneventful. I play a few rounds of Super Punch-Out! courtesy of my PSP's SNES emulator, nod off for five minutes, and we're on the ground. My cabdriver is a Russian woman who seems very uninterested in my reasons for coming to Vegas. She is really into the Foreigner record blaring from the minivan's anemic speakers. I can tell she's not just a casual fan because this isn't a greatest-hits collection - this is 4. Traffic allows me to nod my head along from "Juke Box Hero" to the beginning of "Urgent", certainly not the worst Foreigner song cycle I could have stumbled into. I consider asking her what she thinks of Lou Gramm's solo stuff but realize that she is a bad enough driver and a dedicated enough Foreigner fan that this line of questioning could lead to my death in one way or another, and having just got here I am not remotely ready to die. Don't worry, I'll get there.


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