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independence

And now it's Sunday morning. Time flies when you're having fun. I wasn't exactly having fun all day yesterday but mostly I was irritated at stop lights. There are a lot worse things.

I am gaining independence. For an absurdly long time, I have had to depend on my children to navigate around this town. I was not able to put things together, to get places easily on my own. The last few times I have taken off in my own car on my own and have had to work things out, and have therefore done better. I won't say it is all easy now but I can actually get around much of the place without fear. In my defense, I will say the place is flat. And the same shopping centers repeat themselves endlessly, not to mention the housing developments, so the only real landmark is the strip. This is, oddly, not always visible, and for me does not offer enough guidance.

Elaine and I had breakfast out yesterday, then elaine went to work at noon. I took off on errands. I was determined to get mary's computer into the shop, had to pick up her bank card, and Elaine had asked if I could get some computer disks and card stock for her final project. None of these errands was without a trial of its own.

I unplugged her computer and put it in my back seat. I headed for Henderson, to a Gateway store I knew was there, which employed service people Mary had gotten to know while working at the diner next door to it. When I got there, unfortunately, I discovered that Gateway had consolidated their service places at a store far away on Sahara. I had no idea where the block numbering was (although I could have guessed, come to think of it) so I asked the people in the store. They gave me simple directions that turned out to create a very long trip. But before I was ready to take that trip, I stopped at Sunset Station, where Mary had left her bank card the day before.

The women in the Jitters caf there did not know where it was. They hunted around, then finally tried to get the guy who was there the night before, but he was on his way to work and not available by phone (what!? A Nevadan without a cell phone??!! Unheard of!!) They said he might be in in fifteen to thirty minutes, so I said okay, I'll wait, I'll have a nonfat latte. They made me the latte for free, and after I had had just a few sips one of the women thought of another place the card could be and it was. So I was out of there and heading up Stephanie (I always think of "Short Circuit" when I drive on Stephanie. I can't help but think, "No disassemble, Ste-pha-nie.").

I found the 215 up the street and headed west, as instructed. ("go this way," the clerk had said, pointing. "When you say, 'this way', what direction do you mean?" I asked, using my Lindamood-Bell training to phrase the question. "West," he said, "west".) It seemed like I was driving forever. I came to a sign that said "freeway ends one mile" and thought I was for it, as the British say. But I soldiered on and discovered that while the freeway ends, the highway does not. And finally saw "Rainbow". I took Rainbow for another forever, not quite as long, to Sahara, turned right (yes, I know, going back the same direction) and there was the Gateway store. On the way there I had scoped the streets and the strip and knew where I was and how to get back to mary's place. Obvious, considering all these casino names all go to the strip and across. And Mary lives on a parallel casino name, Flamingo.

The guy at the Gateway service desk thought it was the power supply and gave me an estimate I could handle. Took my cell phone number (I want to pay for this), said they'd probably call me that evening. They didn't, by the way. Too bad. I was hoping against hope that we could get it back today.

I figured I'd find a Staples or Office Max or Depot on Flamingo on the way back to mary's place. But I didn't. I took some side streets, still no dice. Left Mary a message on her cell phone, called Elaine, and Elaine told me where one was. So I went there, found the paper and disks, and headed for Mary's apartment. She was home from work, had picked up Joey. Elaine came over after she was off work at four, and we all went out to dinner at the Spaghetti Factory, where everything is included in the price

The Spaghetti Factory is next door to the Galleria Mall so we had to stop there after eating. I bought some new clothes, something I never would have chosen myself. Again, Mary's advice and enthusiasm. She has such a good eye for these things and sends me off in different directions than I would take myself. Elaine and I left her there with Joey (her choice) and took off for Elaine's place. Mary had called Edward, who was going to pick her up.

Elaine and I got dressed, ready to go, and the minutes were ticking. She remembered she had left her purse, with the tickets, in her car at mary's place. So we jammed over there (I let her drive; she has more nerve about this kind of thing than I have) and got the purse, screamed for the strip.

We got stuck in stop-and-go traffic on the street behind the Aladdin. Ticking timehad to take deep breaths. The tickets said we would not be seated until a break if we were late. (turns out there is no break, really, until intermission) We decided to valet-park to help speed us long. Elaine veered into the wrong parking lane accidentally, took the initiative, headed up the ramp to the valet parking area, and parked, jumped out of the car waving two dollars at a valet parker who was just parking a car nearby. She said she had taken the wrong way, could we get a valet ticket and go on in. He said sure, just pick the car up in the regular location downstairs. That was nice. So we took off for the elevators.

We had to get through the mall to get to the theater. We soon saw two or three other couples racing through as well, and guessed they too were late for the show. About six of us were finally actually running through the casino, or run-walking. And when we got there it was okay. Still people in line, people at the drink booths inside. Elaine took the tickets to find the seats while i stood in line for drinks.

The show is good, although it seemed really loud to me. The voices pierced my ears. I think it may be the sound system in such theaters can't be tuned exactly. I don't know how large that place is, but would guess 3,000 people could get in, at least. It was not filled, maybe two-thirds.

I thought about this theater, this casino, and about what I know about the people who work there. My fingers hurt now so I will ramble on about that later.

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