Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Confession of a Security Guard

Filed under: The Confessional — Laura Moncur @ 6:05 am

The Luxor hotel doesn’t have elevators, they have inclinators. Inclinators are kind of like Wonkavators in that they don’t just go up and down. They actually tilt at a thirty-nine degree angle, move up the side of the pyramid and then right themselves at the end of the ride. They were invented specifically for the hotel. The advertising for the hotel brags about them. It makes people curious and they want to ride them.

Of course, you’re not allowed to play on the inclinators. Only hotel guests are allowed to take a ride on them and the Luxor pays security guards to watch them 24 hours a day. Guests must show their hotel room keys to the security guard. It’s a royal pain in the butt for guests because you have to fish in your pocket for the key just to get into the inclinator instead of at the door where it is more logical. If you needed a functional room key in order to call the inclinator, I would have no trouble with that, but there is that person there, waiting for my fingers to find that damn room key.

There is that person there, wanting to tell me a story of his life. I showed him my room key. My hands were full of sushi, chopsticks, edamame, wasabi, and napkins. I fished awkwardly for the key and showed it to him so that I wouldn’t feel like a criminal. Mike wasn’t back from getting his dinner yet and the plan was that I was supposed to wait for him at the inclinator. In retrospect, I should have stood just outside the inclinator to wait for him, but I wasn’t expecting to be called to duty in a Vegas casino. I started the conversation. It was my fault, but I felt like I had to explain to the security guard why I wasn’t going up immediately, “I’m waiting for my husband. He wants a hot dog instead of sushi.” The guard nodded, “This is the place to get both.”

We were quiet for a moment and I thought that I would be able to just wait quietly for Mike, but he spoke again, “Where are you from?” It’s an innocuous enough question. People get asked where they are from all the time without confessions. I shouldn’t fear it, but something about the fact that he started the talking again braced me for the inevitable. “I’m from Salt Lake.” He nodded and asked if I drove. We did. How long did it take me to drive up? About six to seven hours. He was surprised. It usually only took him five. I made an excuse about the weather, not wanting to explain my aversion to committing crimes in a bright green Volkswagen Beetle.

“I love that city. We used to go up there all the time. I haven’t been up since before the Olympics. The freeways were all torn up and you only had two lanes with those wall things on each side.” I agreed about the “Salt Lake Auto-Luge Run” and waited for him to continue. “I usually ski at Alta, but I don’t stay there. It’s way too expensive to stay there.” I nodded thinking about the horrendous price I paid for the room upstairs just so I could have a jacuzzi tub and access to the inclinators. “I used to stay in the Ramada downtown, but now I have a roommate. His sister lives there, so we’re going to be staying with her.” I nodded and made a comment on his thriftiness. “Everything is so expensive there.” I looked at my sushi. I had paid twice what it would have cost me at my favorite place at home. “You can pay twenty dollars for a beer up at the resort.” I nodded thinking about the $13.50 I paid for a margarita at Coyote Ugly at the New York New York casino.

“I started skiing when I was I was about five years old. I would always be saying that I wanted stuff at the resort, but my parents just gave me my own cooler. Every morning we’d pack a cooler of food to eat from all day.” I remembered the cooler that my parents packed when we went to Lagoon. I remembered wishing that we could eat the greasy burgers and fries from the concession stands. If only we weren’t poor, then we could eat the burgers. I found myself wishing for the ham and cheese sandwiches fermented with mayonnaise. Nothing tasted like a sandwich that had aged half a day in a well-iced cooler. No burger or nachos from Lagoon has ever tasted as good as one of those ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo. Both are just as unhealthy, but the sandwiches taste so vividly like Lagoon. That alone may be the reason that Lagoon hasn’t been as enjoyable to me. Now that I have the money to buy the pizza at the stand, Lagoon just doesn’t taste right.

This realization came to me like a flash. To the security guard, I was a polite tourist, listening to his memories of skiing as a child. Within a second, the realization that Lagoon with a cooler is an entirely different trip than Lagoon without a cooler. He continued talking, “This time when we go, I’m stocking up my cooler every day. I’m not going to pay twenty dollars for a beer.” Mike walked up with two tiny cups of ketchup in one hand and a bag that smelled of cheese fries in the other. The security guard pressed the button to call the inclinator. I wished him well with a mind full of ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo that had been aged in a well-iced cooler.


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