Day two had me up early because I hardly slept at all the night before.Â You see, the best thing about TAM is the friends you make.Â But for me, the worst thing about TAM was the friend I had made.Â Hutch.Â Hutch is the most generous, friendly, kind, and thoughtful person you could ever want to meet.Â At TAM4, Hutch rented a van just to shuttle people to and from the airport.Â It was during one of these shuttles at TAM4 that Hutch began to talk about his passion….roller coasters.Â I made the mistake of saying I hadn’t been on one in a LONG time, and was afraid of the “new” ones.Â Hutch assured me that I would LOVE a roller coaster ride if I would only give it a try again.Â In fact, he was personally going to see to it that next TAM I was going on a ride.Â
Â Now, some people just say stuff.Â Lots of people make promises, and forget them between TAMs.Â Not Hutch.Â He sent me emails with descriptions and ratings of all the Vegas coasters.Â I get to “pick” which one I want to go on.Â I want to go on the gonola ride at the Venetian.Â Nope, has to be a coaster.Â
So I awaken knowing that Hutch is waiting.Â I have picked the Speeder ride at the Sahara.Â Kitten and Aynz (my daughters) are ready to ride.Â We meet up with Hutch and walk down to the Sahara.Â And then I see IT.Â On the outside of the Sahara is this straight up in the air phallic symbol roller coaster rail.Â It seems to just END.Â I think, “so you go up and what?”Â I feel dizzy, and I’m not even on the ride.Â With friends like Hutch, who needs evil enemies of doom?Â Still, we go inside and I am going to NOT chicken out because Hutch IS my friend.Â If he loves it, I’m at least going to try it.Â The girls are foolishly happy and excited, that is because the young can not picture death.Â
Â Being strapped in I do take comfort in Hutch.Â He is an expert.Â He’s done this time and again.Â I am sitting next to a pro.Â
And then it GOES.Â It GOES.Â
And then I hear myself saying, “I LOVE THIS!!!”
and I mean it.Â I freaking loved it.Â I expected to survive this ride, and I loved it.Â
That is what TAM is about.Â Learning.Â And giving something a chance because you trust your friend.Â I went out of my safety zone, I was open minded, but I would never have gone on a coaster ride for the rest of my life if it had not been for Hutch and TAM.Â
Next TAM, I’m ready for the Stratosphere!Â ThankÂ you Hutch!
We stagger back to the Riviera, and go to our new little favorite place there.Â It’s a semi famous little cafe where everything is 99cents, or $1.49.Â Giant hot dogs, chilli cheese fries, shirmp cocktail.Â Sure the food is ok (well cheap, we can’t really afford TAM except on the strictest budget), but what we love is the Elvis impersonators.Â Though one day Sammy Davis Junior was performing (sadly, all he had in common with theÂ real Sammy was he was black).Â It was just SO Vegas to see people playing slots, eating giant hotdogs, and Elvis singing his heart out.Â You have to take in the local culture whenever you travel.Â Sure the customs of the land may be strange and unusual, but you really haven’t travelled until you have experienced what passes for normal where you are.Â My teenager and I live in Spofford Village New Hampshire.Â Elvis is dead, and a hot dog costs $2.50 in New Hampshire.Â In Vegas, Elvis LIVES!
Every TAM in Vegas has had a group go off to visit Mac King and his afternoon show.Â I decided this was MY year to finally see him.Â The only rude nasty person I met in Vegas was the idiot at the Riviera that told me it was just a “short 2 block walk” to Harrahs.Â By the time I figured it out, it was too late to hail a cab.Â I made the show, breathless, and cursing the jerk at the Riv.Â Mac King put all anger out of my head.Â He was funny, he was hysterical, he thought that woman in the front row was going to pass out from hyperventilating from laughter.Â (he gave me some funny looks).Â Mind you, at one point, the smoke alarm goes off.Â Well, make that many points.Â For a LONG LONG time.Â Finally, Mac gives up and they turn up the volume and he keeps going.Â What was funny was after the alarm was turned off, an announcement kept saying “the alarm has been investigated and declared false”.Â Just in case we didn’t hear it because we were trying to enjoy the show, the voice said it again and again!Â Poor Mac handled it like the pro he is.Â After the show I had to get a copy of this book, and to say “hi from Hal!”Â But as I was waiting for him to sign the book, he was talking to other people about going to TAM!Â When I did say “hi from Hal!” he told me how much he was looking forward to seeing Hal’s show.Â I could only hope that the smoke alarm at the Riviera was broken!Â
Â I walk back, and collapse.Â I miss the opening reception, but with Mac running late, I didn’t really have time toÂ get as hot as I wanted to look.Â That alarm kept ringing on my head!Â So I took a nap!
Mind you, while I was napping the teenager found….
the video arcade area!!!
Â Yes, it was time for DDR (Dance Dance Revolution).Â Inspired by Hutch, I decided it was time I trusted my daughter and tried something NEW.Â I’m bopping around, having a lot of fun.Â It’s midnight by this point, and to be honest, I’m really getting into this game.Â It’s a great workout.Â It’s just fun to bounce around and curse (“darn” I was with a teenager) when I missed.Â Then I look over.Â And there is Hal, with Elaine.Â And Hal has a camera.Â Did I mention that the best part of TAM is the friends you make, and that is the worst part too?Â So I just don’t care because this is Vegas baby, and TAM is about learning.Â And I had a blast with my teenage daughter.Â Looking stupid is a small price to pay for happiness.
Â The next day is the real start of TAM.Â I’m excited, I’m going to be helping Linda with selling stuff (making the money for JREF, oh yeah).Â I have to say I could not just do TAM and not volunteer.Â I could not just sit there and enjoy.Â I don’t pay enough money for what I get out of TAM.Â I don’t have money to contribute, but I do have time.Â So I am looking forward to paying back just a bit of what I owe JREF.Â
I go to sleep, knowing I’m a different person then when I woke up that morning.Â I like roller coasters, no I LOVE roller coasters.Â And I find my teenager can teach me a thing or two about fun.Â
Life is good.