Thursday, September 27, 2012

K is for Kimberly


It’s time for another round of ABC Wednesday, and I’ve been looking forward to this one, as the subject is near and dear to my heart.  In fact, I’ve had to take a short break from the frantic, all-night study session to make sure that I got this one written, because it’s the one I knew I simply could not miss.

“What K is so spectacular?”, you ask.  Karaoke? Kayaking? Captain Kangaroo?  No, no, and no.  (Well, technically, at least one of those is pretty spectacular in its own right, but not the subject at hand.)  No, tonight I want to tell you about my best friend, Kim.


   I’m quite certain she would prefer I not be posting this picture for all the world to see, but it’s got a story, and it’s a story of fun memories—just one of many that we share—so I think it makes it the perfect thing to share in a post dedicated to her.

   Actually, I’ve written about her before (and before), but I think a true BFF is worth more than one post, don’t you?  So, on with the story . . .


Back in our younger and more carefree days, we made several trips out to Las Vegas together, and this story is set in our Vegas hotel, the Riviera.  In case you’ve never been to Las Vegas, let me begin by saying that it’s hot out there.  I mean, it’s in the middle of a desert, right?  Sure, sure, it’s the dry heat everyone always talks about, but you can’t simply ignore the “heat” part of that phrase.  We’re talking scorch your lungs, melt your shoes, 120° in the shade heat.  When I say it’s hot, I mean it’s hot.

The next thing you need to know is that the vast majority of the things to see and do (especially back in the day) are located along one very long road—I’m sure you’ve seen it on TV.  Well, that might be convenient for the directionally challenged, but it also causes a disproportionate number of cars to be crammed into one relatively small space at the same time.  Consequently, it is almost always quicker and less frustrating to walk up and down the Strip than to drive.  But you’ve got that danged heat.  Part of me is fairly convinced that the town planners deliberately created the traffic jam scenario just so the pedestrians would be forced to stop in at random casinos and souvenir shops to breathe in some cool air for a while, and spend a little money while they’re there.  And let me tell you, there’s really not much better than stepping out of that desert sunshine into the dark recesses of an air conditioned money pit. 

In fact, the only thing better is when you finally make it back to your own hotel, and you can walk through the crisp air knowing that it’s okay not to spend any money in the casino right now, because you’re already shelling out for the wonderfully air conditioned room upstairs.  So imagine our frustration when we returned to our room only to find that the A/C was not running as we’d left it, and there was like a 25° difference between the hallway and the room.  I won’t get into specifics, but suffice it to say that our commentary on the housekeeping staff at that point was not overly kind.

But eventually we returned to a not-so-cold room that had not yet been made up, so apparently the housekeepers were not to blame.  Hmmm.  A little investigation revealed that there was a motion sensor tied into the air conditioner, no doubt designed to ensure that forgetful tourists wouldn’t leave a room empty all day, running the cooling system for nothing.  But what about the tourists who were not forgetful, but were simply willing to let the hotel foot the bill for some extra electricity for the sheer joy of returning to a delightfully cold room? Were they just out of luck?  Not if they’ve seen enough episodes of MacGyver to know the solution to just about any problem can be found in the random items in a typical bathroom.  So . . .

Since the A/C never shut off while we were sleeping, we deduced it didn’t take a whole lot of movement to keep it running.  We just needed to find something that could move about the room just a bit in our absence.  Thankfully, our bathroom included not only a standard box of tissues, but also a sewing kit.  A needle and thread through the tissue, then shove the needle into the ceiling, and voilà!  That tissue danced in the air like our very own magical fairy, allowing us to return to a cold room every time we returned from our adventures on the Strip. 

I could never do justice to the thought processes that led us from blaming the housekeepers, to being totally annoyed with such a ridiculous system in the first place, and finally to the laughter as we cooked up schemes to circumvent the hotel’s carefully laid plans.  And, not only was our room cool every time we entered, but we also got to see our handiwork dangling there, a testament to what we could accomplish together, and we laughed every time.  In fact, it’s probably been close to twenty years since we waged war with the hotel conservationists, and we still laugh when we talk about it.  There’s nothing like the history that comes with a best friend.

And I’m exceptionally glad to be telling this story this week, because in just a couple of days, Kim and I are going to take another trip—this time to Branson, MO—and see if we can’t have another adventure that we’ll be talking about twenty years from now.  I can’t wait.

Who’s your BFF with all the crazy history?

Don’t forget to take a stroll through this week’s other entries; the writers all have a knack for sharing their knowledge, and I’m sure you’ll find posts keen and kooky.  Enjoy.