How to Lose Freinds, Piss-Off Family Members, and Maintain Your Sanity: A Las Vegas Crumudgeons’s Dark Confessional on Dealing with Visitors
Las Vegas is a terrific place to go on vacation. Las Vegas is an even better place to live.
Not only is there lots of stuff to do 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week — but someone we know always seems to be in town. If not, then they’ll visit eventually. It’s like living inside Grand Central Station, only with about a million video poker machines.
If you live in Las Vegas, people from all those boring places are bound to come and pay you a visit at some point in their lives. In fact, there’s a 100 percent chance you’ll eventually hear from every old high-school chum, ex-whatever, former co-worker, ballbusting boss, frat brother, step-uncle, old college roommate, softball teammate, and long-lost distant relative, including those whose names you can’t remember and/or have been desperately trying to forget.
One surprise about living here is that locals don’t tend to hang out together much. Perhaps we’re just too exhausted entertaining all the out-of-towners to have much time left for friends and neighbors. Visitors expect us to be at their beck and call….acting as their booking agent, tour guide, chauffeur, casino host, maid, cook, banker, and sometimes even the co-signer for bail.
Yes, I did that once.
Don’t misunderstand me. I do like some of my friends and even enjoy the company of a couple of my relatives. But I also receive 3 to 4 messages per week on average, saying something to the effect — “Hey Nolan, let’s get together!” Imagine how high this number might be if I weren’t
such an asshat someone with impeccable taste and high standards. Sure, these social invitations are well-intentioned. I’d like to accept most of them — especially when they’re buying. Unfortunately, tough choices have to be made to preserve one’s sanity.
I’ve begun to decline the majority of invitations that I receive. It’s nothing personal. I’m just tired of hanging out in casinos for hours at a time, without any sense of purpose. Most nights, I’d much rather spend my free time at home — getting into political fights with complete strangers on Facebook — rather than sitting in a sportsbook, which all seems so pointless, especially when the shitty team you bet on like the Los Angeles Lakers can’t even cover the pointspread even though they’re playing against the worst team in the NBA that just lost and is in the second game of a back-to-back situation and you found a -9 when every other sportbook in town had it at -10. And, don’t even get me started on the prospect of grazing up and down The Strip like I’m stuck in the middle of a cattle drive or wading through mall crowds to go see a $140 show.
Screw that, man!
Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas. Sorry, but I’ve got a headache. Have fun. You’re on your own.
Here are ten unspoken secrets that most Las Vegas residents want to say to our dear friends and relatives who come here to visit:
 Give us plenty of notice when you’re coming. Chances are, you planned your Las Vegas vacation several weeks ago, or even months in advance. Well, we have lives, too. If you really want to get together, give us as much notice as possible that you’re coming. I can’t count all the occasions I got text message asking me if I want to get together that same night, and look down and see the message was sent at 3:30 pm. We can’t drop everything on two hours notice. It doesn’t work that way. Warn us please, so we can try and be out of town ourselves.
 Unless it’s an emergency, we won’t go to The Strip! I realize the main reason 40 million people come to Las Vegas annually is to hang out at fancy casinos and blow tons of money for free drinks. Flying here and then not going to The Strip would be like taking a trip to Egypt and then skipping the Pyramids. But hey, you can even see a pyramid here — it’s called Luxor. Thing is, most locals over the age of 30 don’t go to The Strip — ever. Crowds, high costs, paid parking, terrible odds on machines, we don’t want to go there.
 Most of us can’t afford $200 dinners every night. We know you saw a celeb chef on TV want to try out their new place. Reality is, that’s just a branding exercise. A facade. Famous people get paid lots of money to stamp their names on the sign in front, because, for some inexplicable reason, lots of gullible people want to eat in a place with a famous person’s name on the sign. Again, have fun! We’ll stick to our favorite locals’ spot, park for free, get better service, and save about 40 percent on the bill. Oh, and tap, not sparkling.
 We don’t have connections to grease you with free show tickets. Sorry, but we can’t pick up the phone, call Alfonse at the Copa Room, and have two front row tickets waiting for you and a special guest at Will Call. That archaic system ended about the time the Rat Pack died. But, here’s what we can do: Direct you to a great website where you can book your own show tickets! Oh, joy! One notable exception is something really cool called Half Price Show Tickets, which is a kiosk storefront on The Strip. Same day, last-minute show tickets are deeply discounted. Go there, so long as you don’t mind seeing a D-grade show like a juggler or “comedian” at 2 in the afternoon with a two-drink minimum. If you want tickets to any of the big headliners, it’s best to reserve well in advance.
 Friday and Saturday night are to be avoided at all costs. Whatever we said earlier about visiting the mega-casinos — double it twice and turn it sideways when it comes to heading to The Strip on a weekend. Recently, I made the monumental mistake of meeting someone at Bally’s on a Friday evening at 8 pm and then waited 45 minutes idling in my car to get out of the parking lot. I hated my ex-friend, after that. Forget about being anywhere around City Center during a Las Vegas Golden Knights (NHL) home game. When it comes to holidays, forget-about-it. I don’t know you. I don’t want to know you.
 Don’t even think about asking me to do something on an NFL Sunday or a Monday night during football season. Unless you hit the lottery and need somebody to do some serious partying with, I’m busy.
 Don’t expect me to drop whatever I’m doing to entertain you. What do I look like, Britney Freaking Spears? What talents I possess won’t interest you. Accordingly, your time is best utilized compensating a true professional. I can’t just drop whatever I’m doing and become your personal servant. Besides, the poker game I’m likely sitting in on a typical Wednesday night is probably great and I need to play a just few more hours to try and get out of the hole.
 We aren’t forking over our casino comps for you to splurge. The $62.17 I managed to rake into my account at Stations Casino cost me $2,700 in video poker losses over four months. I worked damn hard for those comps. So, don’t expect me to blow them on you. Yeah, I love you, Mom. But use your own comp points.
 If we’re picking you up somewhere, be there, on time. Picking up a friend in front of a 5,500-room hotel isn’t like going through the drive-thru at Wendy’s. Chances are, we’ve got one shot at seeing you standing outside on the sidewalk. If you’re late or aren’t there, that means we have to go circle around ten minutes again through the taxi line. Be where you say you’ll be. On time. If there’s any doubt about making the connection, always leave 15 minutes early. That seems to make just about everyone right on time.
 Buy your own dope. Las Vegas has gotten to be a tourist destination for dope smokers. I don’t know shit about that stuff, except that lots of people appear to be happy and having lots of fun. I have nothing against marijuana or cannabis or whatever it’s called. Stay high, my friends. But I’m not becoming your personal pusher. I’ve got another reputation issues already without being labeled El Broko El Chapo.
So, what’s all this mean? Based on each of my demands, that pretty much leaves just one spot open for visitors who want to get together and hang out with me: 1:30 pm on non-holiday Tuesday afternoons at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Downtown Summerlin, but only if you’re buying (alcohol must be included).
Sound good? Then, give me a ring! I can’t wait to see you!