Friday, December 5, 2008

Flashback Friday: What happens in Vegas...

...eventually gets posted on my blog for your entertainment, it would seem.

Some of my best vacation memories are from the one I took after my freshman (only) year of college with my cousin Emily and her mom. My Aunt Linda invited me to join them in Las Vegas to celebrate Em's 22nd birthday...her treat!

Emily and I were basically Siamese twins during my stint at BYU. I moved out of the on-campus housing into her apartment building for the second semester. Although I was lucky enough to live in Heritage Halls, the more apartment-like dorms on campus, it all still felt like an extension of high school where you are forced to live with your pretentious classmates. What could be worse?

I was much happier living in a real apartment with real college students. Now that I'm thinking about it, I have lots of fodder for the Flashback Friday fire from that semester. But today, we're talking about the Post-finals Vegas Vacation.

One night, while Aunt Linda entertained herself with some blinking, clinking machines, Emily and I went out on the town. At this time in our lives, our priority at any given moment was to meet and flirt with cute boys. During the Bellagio fountain performance, we set sights on our prey: a couple of normal-looking guys staked out a short distance down the concrete railing who looked as though they might have a similar goal for the evening. Naturally, we struck up a witty and charming conversation, and soon learned that Dave and J.J. were both returned Mormon missionaries. We were confident that of all the men we could have picked up on in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, these two would be a pretty safe bet. What a strange coincidence.

The rest of the evening was spent wandering through the Hot Spots of Las Vegas nightflife flirting innocuously with our new friends.

J.J., Emily, Kristen, and Dave in V Bar at the Venetian on the coolest couch ever. The only other sofa like it is owned by Madonna.

The pinnacle of our risque evening came sometime in the wee hours. We thought it would be amusing to find a wedding chapel, I suppose just to take some hilarious pictures. Not a drop of alcohol had been ingested, so there were no intentions of using the facilities for a regrettable purpose. A spontaneous wedding would be representative of a truly wild Vegas night, so I guess poking fun at it is the kind of thing a bunch of Mormon college kids do for ironic fun. When you don't drink or gamble, what's left to do in Vegas?

We meandered down to the lower level of some casino where we found the wedding chapel, nestled tastefully between storefronts, including the Harley Davidson store and a souvenir shop offering an unrivaled collection of refrigerator magnets. Unfortunately, the chapel was closed in the middle of the night. This was an unanticipated snag in our plan, considering tales of impulsive mid-night unions in Vegas abound. I guess those take place at the Church-of-Elvis types, not in chapels associated with the fancy resorts.

We weren't about to relinquish our scandalous objective though, so Dave and I posed for this intrepidly romantic photo:

Much to J.J.'s dismay, Emily was too chicken to kiss a stranger. Or at least her sense of moral integrity was more persuasive than mine. That thrill is the sort I lived for once upon a time. And this photo would have made another good schocker to send to my mom.

That story is pretty fun all on its own, but for the cherry on top, let's fast-forward three years. I had been dating Gary for about a year when his mother became engaged to the man who had been like his Step-Dad since the tender age of eight. Bonnie and Dale decided to get married in Vegas, and Gary and I took a fun road trip so we could be there to support them. Walking through the mall level of Ballys Resort brought some hazy memories to the surface. When we reached the chapel, I saw a white vinyl emblem on the window identical to the one in the photo above, and realized that Gary's parents had chosen to solemnize their marital commitment at the precise location where my rebellious teenaged escapade transpired. I took pleasure in reflecting on some treasured memories that weekend, but I don't think I ever mentioned the bizarre twist of fate to my future in-laws.


Bridget said...

Hilarious!!!! That is an AWESOME story. The picture adds so much, too.

Speaking of random photograph nights (from my FF), watch out, because I still have all the photos that you, me, Julee, and Nalea took that one night. Mwa ha ha...

Kristen said...

Oh crap. I don't recall any such photos. Or was that the night we got the infamous one of Julee and her braces all up in the camera? My "blackmail" photo I recall. Now I can't wait.

M and Em said...

Ahhh to be young and stupid once again. I'm sure I wouldn't have gone inside - this experience was a stretch for me and tops the books as one of the dumbest things I've ever done to try to shock my Mom. That's hilarious that Gary's Mom was married in the same chapel though.

Dale said...

Kristen what a good story, and now I know you can really keep a secret! I had to read your blog to find out you had preceded us in "marriage" over seven years ago.


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