There’s a lady sitting in front of me on this flight who has a Las Vegas themed neck pillow. I respect that. She’s saying, “Yeah, I like to have a good time and I sometimes have to buy things at the airport that I forgot to pack and I don’t care who knows it.” But she can’t be completely unorganized because I know she’s not coming directly from Vegas, so she’s at least kept a purchase from a previous trip and remembered to bring it along now.
Or maybe it wasn’t an emergency purchase at all. Maybe it was a gift from a supportive friend when they heard that she was achieving her dream of going to Vegas. Or it’s a souvenir from someone else’s trip and she’s never even been. Maybe she actually loathes the pillow because it has come to symbolize her cold, loveless marriage—what sort of husband gives his wife a neck pillow? What sort of husband goes to Vegas without his wife? Or is it her husband’s pillow but from a previous, rascally era and she wears it as a trophy signifying her success in reforming him?
Or maybe he went for a work thing, like the security officers’ convention in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Las Vegas has got to be a weird place to have a work conference. Nothing builds team camaraderie like seeing your boss’ unblinking, bloodshot eyes as he hunkers down at the slot machines in the small hours of the morning, clutching his bucket of quarters with more desperation than Gollum with the ring.
I’ve never been to Vegas but every time it comes up I just remember my brother’s story about a creepy parking garage and a hallway that smelled like pee. And that he met Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson at an IHOP.
I wonder if the neck pillow lady knows who Kyle Anderson is? Maybe she also went to Vegas for the NBA summer league in 2015…
Or maybe she’s from Vegas. Could be. Somebody’s gotta live there. Or maybe she went to UNLV and her mom or a misguided aunt gave the pillow to her as a congratulations gift when she got in, even though she’s embarrassed by the gambling and promiscuous connotations of the place and is actually going there in spite of the city’s reputation because they really do have a highly regarded nuclear engineering program.
Either way, why is she flying out of Detroit? Just a layover on the way from Nevada? Unlikely since this a 6:43 a.m. flight. Moved here for a job post-UNLV? I’m not aware of a booming nuclear industry in eastern Michigan but what do I know?
It appears that she’s traveling with a group of ladies. I suspect friends, although there’s always a possibility they’re a heist ensemble mid bonding montage. Did they all go to UNLV? Or, if we stick with the more likely explanation that she was a tourist to Las Vegas at some point and just bought a neck pillow because she needed one (and why not get one with some fun memories attached and of course she’d reuse it, why buy a non-location specific neck pillow for future trips when you have a perfectly functioning one in the closet), is this her first time vacationing with the group?
Or is this a reunion? Did they all go to Vegas together and if so were they all in agreement on what they wanted to do? Or was one friend wheeling and dealing at the blackjack table while the rest went to go see the Doobie Brothers live? Did they go to that one fountain and reenact that one scene from that one Ocean’s movie? Have they seen the Ocean’s movies? I sure hope so. Quality flicks. I wonder if Kyle Anderson has seen the Ocean’s movies? I wonder if George Clooney knows who Kyle Anderson is?
Oh yeah and there’s that heist in Ocean’s 12 where Julia Roberts uses a pillow to try to look pregnant so she can impersonate I think actual Julia Roberts? So that’s fun.
But back to our ensemble. I like to think they’ve done lots of trips together. They’ve been through it all. Late nights, early flights, lost bags, mysterious rashes. Matching t-shirts that say “I’m the Mom friend” because they’re ALL responsible and prepared. Maybe they take turns picking their destination. Vegas lady picked Vegas of course, someone has now picked Florida. The first one was a 2012 spring break trip to New York to see Wicked on Broadway. At first they were just humoring their theater nerd friend but of course they all loved it.
I wonder what grand adventures await them? Will she lose the pillow and resort to a less branded option? Or will she collect one at each destination, like shot glasses or tiny spoons?
Anyways, looks like a pretty comfy neck pillow. Wish I thought to bring one.
Christina Ribbens (’19) graduated with a major in history and minors in studio art and data science. Originally from Virginia, she now lives in Ann Arbor, MI where she works in campus ministry with Reformed University Fellowship (RUF). She has a benevolent dependency on tea, is always down for a game of pick-up basketball, and would love to have you over for pancakes sometime.