Zoe and I knew full well that spending 2 days in Reno would involve lots of drinking and eating of all things bad. Thus, we awoke Friday and hit the gym. I’d probably packed a good twenty outfits, complete with coordinating shoes, handbag and accessories. Not to be outdone, Zoe had separate bags for her clothes, shoes, toiletries, make-up and road trip snacks. Apparently, we’d confused Reno with Vegas, and any opportunity to bust out the sequins is met with rabid enthusiasm by both my beloved roommate and myself. We made it to Reno in 5 hours, stopping for over an hour at the Dixon, California Chevy’s and neighboring Chevron. Passed on the highway by truckers and Burning Man hippies, we made it into Reno by 4ish.
Let’s just take a moment and get something basic out of the way. I’m a snob. A horrible, horrible, spoiled rotten, knows better than to be so snobby, snob. I can certainly help it, I absolutely know better, I was NOT raised this way and I’m still the most judgmental, pampered bitch I know. Try as I might, and quite frankly, I don’t, I’m an over sophisticated twelve year old who should be grateful for my many blessings instead of appalled at anyone I deem unworthy. I make half assed attempts to hide my contempt for those with shitty taste, but truth be told, I delight in mocking and have sadly, developed a talent for it. I’m not proud of this, and will be the first one to point it out. One day, I’ll fix this shameful and highly unattractive trait, but until then, I’ll find myself in places like Reno, Nevada standing next to a teenager holding an infant, smoking a cigarette, proudly sporting a tattooed likeness of said infant upon her entire calf, and I will HAVE to comment. It is simply my way.
Thus, I found myself standing in the lobby of the Circus, Circus Hotel and Casino having no idea what to do next because I couldn’t seem to find a bellman. In fact, I made Zoe save some one dollar bills, assuming that we’d have to tip those that parked our car, carried our bags and brought us our ice. Turns out, at Circus, Circus, you park your own car, carry your own bags and that ice?…well, the big loud ice machine was right outside our door, accessible to any number of people at all hours of day or night.
We checked into the room, spent 20 minutes not knowing whether to laugh or cry, changed into our afternoon outfits and began to roam. We soon found ourselves at Gecko’s Bar, located within the casino and proudly featuring $1 margaritas. We saddled up to the bar, delighted in the video poker built right in, and dove into our drinks.
The whole point of this trip was to help Zoe’s brother, Tristan, celebrate his 21st birthday. Tristan is a firefighter and paramedic in rural Oregon and planned to come down to Reno with a collection of guys from the firehouse and a gal or two. Tristan soon called us at Gecko‘s, claimed to be leaving the Reno Airport and on his way to the hotel, friends in tow. An hour later, I found myself meeting Tristan and his 5 co-horts. Allow me to introduce them.
There’s Cap’n, who is literally the Captain of the firehouse, Tristan’s boss, full fledged old school firefighter complete with the requisite moustache and Hawaiian shirt. Cap’n is absolutely adorable and Zoe and I fell in love with him instantly. Then there’s Paul, rumored by Tristan to be the local ladies man. Paul is 29, a cherry farmer and volunteer firefighter who’s apparently the big catch in town and we could see why. Mike is probably 6’6” and just as wide, full of off-color remarks and gambling wisdom. Before becoming a firefighter, Mike was a blackjack dealer and not only shocked me with his constant winning, but his appalling and tasteless jokes in his many successful attempts to offend me. Mike brought along his adorably tiny wife, Amy, who could not have been nicer. Amy is the least offensive person I’ve ever met, just happy to be having a good time. We love Amy.
And finally, there’s Audrey.
Audrey was a friend of Amy’s, just as new to this group of fire folks as she was to us. Audrey possessed an unfortunate hairdo, an unfortunate ensemble and an unfortunate attitude towards Zoe and myself. On the plane ride over, Audrey had set her sights on Paul. She was thus none too pleased to be greeted in Reno by 2 overdressed, high falutin’ city girls and even less pleased to find Paul’s delight in these here skanks.
Let me just say, I can see why the ladies love Paul. In addition to being relatively cute and owner of his own billion acre farm, he’s the most chivalrous person I’ve ever met. Not only does he open every door, engage you in constant conversation about yourself, and even go so far as to hand you your plate in the buffet line, he will never let an opportunity to compliment a lady pass. Literally, at every turn, Paul would remind us how gorgeous we were, marvel at our ornate outfits and say things like, “So, Beth, how come a pretty girl like you isn’t married?“
To my bitchy delight, there were soon only 2 recipients of Paul’s country charm. And Audrey, or “highlights“, as she came to be known, wasn’t one of them. Thus began Audrey’s open hatred of Zoe and Beth.
When I think Oregon, I think tree-hugging recyclers. Apparently, that’s about half of the population. The other half is filled with those who are proud to call themselves rednecks. While I immediately adored Tristan’s fire friends, I think it’s safe to say we differ politically. For example, I rarely use the word “Oriental.” In fact, the first time it was casually spoken this weekend, Zoe shot me a look across the table, both apologetic and concerned I might leap up and into a tirade about the difference between a rug and a person. I kept my cool, even into Dinner Buffet #1’s discussion of homosexuality.
I could tell the conversation was getting gay, and could tell these weren’t the kind of guys who watched “Will and Grace” round the fire pole. Just when my tongue was starting to bleed from my biting it, Paul piped up with, “My mom’s a lesbian.”
“Your mom’s a what?”
“My mom is gay. She fell in love with my dad’s boss, Colleen.”
That shut everybody right up. Turns out, Paul loves gay people, apparently enjoying their joie de vivre. Zoe shot me another look across the table and we silently agreed. We love Paul. Audrey growled, wiped food from her face with her acrylic claws, and complained about something.
It was turning into quite an weekend, and we hadn’t even ventured outdoors yet. I adjusted my slutty top, threw my bag over my shoulder, grabbed Cap’n’s arm and we all hit the town…
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of my 60 hour adventure into Nevada, where we’ll hit the spa, hit the pawn shop, and I’ll learn my way around a .38...