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For a Portland techy geek like me, the “hip” thing has always been rather questionable. The concepts of “hip” and “techy geek” simply don’t go together.

Back when I was living in Portland, too many years in the rain had affected my brain. I had a real need to just get the heck out and go find some city that was as un-Portland as possible.

Las Vegas is definitely the anti-Portland.

I kinda forgot that Las Vegas is the mecca for the “hip and cool” crowd, not quite for us geeks.

My idea of a party resembles something like the famed Algonquin Round Table on a much smaller, geekier and gentler scale, where a bunch of intellectuals with a sense humor hang out, share ideas and try to verbally out-wit each other. The geekier the humor the better. I love knowing why it’s funny to name a bird “Faraday” for instance, and I love meeting someone else who can make me think like that.

Anyhoo… about a year and a half ago – during the months when I thought I was finally free of cancer – some friend of a friend invited us to a “hip party” in condo in a local luxury high-rise. The FOAF had done some work in building the kitchen countertops there, so he and his wife got the space for a hipster party in return for the work.

I and a fellow geek friend of mine accepted the invitation. We arrived at the party in his old car and I handed the keys to the valet. First time I’d ever did the valet thing.

In the fancy tower we go, marveling a bit at the ultra-modern architecture. We saw tanned cool dudes in sunglasses strut by. Women in little black dresses with high heels and perfect hair walked by as well, yapping on their jeweled cell phones as they disappeared out the glass double doors.

I looked at my friend and we simply decided this experience would be another part of our education about living in Vegas.

We finally ended up in the fancy condo on the 23rd floor. I remember some guy in a silk shirt, wearing some rather large rings on most of his fingers and his teeth were decorated in gold. The women there were talking anxiously among themselves about whether or not their shoes matched their hairstyles. The wife was pouring various colors of alcohol for everyone from fancy-looking bottles.

I sat at the table and munched the “crudites” as I tried to join the party conversation. That didn’t work very well. I tried to ask the gold-teeth guy his opinion on various complex ideas. He just gave me a blank look. The women who had been fussing about their shoes had no idea what I was talking about either. They seemed to like discussing and sampling the free liquor, though.

Eventually the heavy-beat techno music got pretty darn loud, so I and my friend retreated to the bedroom to stare at the Strip view. I figured that room could serve similarly to the chill rooms at the rave clubs I had often heard about. We could have our chill room thing and they could do their loud party thing.

That didn’t work. The host demanded that we join the loud, now-drunken party.

So we gave up. I realized that I still had some chemo-recovery to consider anyway and could not stay late. So we mentioned my health as a reason to go and then politely left. Sometimes people are people in a way where I simply can’t fit in and that’s the way the world works. Nothing against them, it’s the way things are.

As I and my friend waited for the valet to bring out the car, we talked about how my geeky self, old blue jeans and my velcro-laden walking shoes simply didn’t fit that scene. Same for my friend. We were simply just not “hip” enough for this kind of thing.

Suddenly I realized the funnier aspect of all this.

I said to my friend: “Well it looks like we both have witnessed how Elana came to Las Vegas and threw out her hip!”

That cracked us both up.
It turned out to not be the end of the story.

A few months later, he and I decided to check out The Palms Resort and Casino for the heck of it. I like the idea of visiting any of the local multi-zillion-dollar casino hotels at least once, and doing so is 100% free.

I knew that The Palms had a reputation for being one of the hippest, hottest places in town. Ah, the utter, complete irony of ME being there. I imagined the Oregon moss and pine needles still clinging to my anti-fashionable, practical shoes. Still, exploring any new place is always fun. So I and my friend decided to check out the “skybridge” between the casino and the hotel building.

While we were in the elevator, a bunch of hip, fashionable young 20-somethings came in. They were laughing themselves silly and debating about whether kissing some guy once when drunk meant their boyfriends had to be mad at them for just that one time. I came back with some lame comment which cracked them up. We all started just trading jokes at each other. Within 30 seconds, we were all hip-partying on the moving skybridge, making jokes about I forget what and constantly cracking each other up. We started singing some goofy tunes together. When we got to the end of the skybridge, one of the young women had problems trying to walk with her high heels on the polished granite floor, so I grabbed her arm and made sure she didn’t fall until we got to the hotel. She thanked me and the whole group cheered. We finally parted at the elevators in the hotel building and they told me and my friend that they were glad we were with them. We said happy loud goodbyes at each other and they went on in search of whatever hip party they were headed to next.

I ended up sitting on a bench in the hotel lobby and laughing. Amazing what just happened. Me fitting in with a bunch of hip party people at the PALMS? Good lord.

Just a few months ago, I came to a Vegas hipster party and threw out my hip.

Now I had gone to the Palms – where I got a hip replacement! :)

Hell of a way to get the Portland rain out of my brain. :)

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