I took my stuff upstairs and found the Lyftber pickup point and swiped and pinched and tapped until a driver had been summoned to take me to my next destination - the good ole El Cortez, which Bugsy Seigel once owned. Or was a partner in. Or something like that.
Within 30 seconds I got a phone call.
I confirmed that I was at Mandalay Bay and told him where the Lyftber pickup point was, on the lower level, and to bear left when he entered so as to pick up the outermost lane, the lane closest to Las Vegas Boulevard.
The Lyftber app is cool - you can see a little teeny tiny Lyftber car with a little teeny tiny Lyftber driver in it on a map of your surroundings. I could see that he was near the Tropicana. I could see that he turned left onto the strip. I could see that... he'd gotten completely lost in the labyrinth of lanes and driveways around Mandalay Bay.
I waited. And waited. I watched him wind around the various entrances and exits of Mandalay Bay.
My phone rang again. Of course it was him. I explained where I was again, and to be sure he took the left-most lane.
Finally, finally, the Lyftber app showed him turning into the main entrance and I spotted his black vehicle hulking along. He peeled directly into center lane, of course. Well, that was that, at least he'd finally found me.
He got out and greeted me.
He stuck out a hand to shake mine. His hand was as huge as a hand in a novel or story that the writers always compare to a ham. That's how big it was. As big as a ham-sized hand. His grip pretty much crushed the blood from my fingers.
Angelo opened his trunk, which was full of - something. Something I didn't want my luggage near. He started to mess with things, trying to make room, and I said, "Look, let's just put my stuff in the back seat..."
There was some back and forth about that. He seemed reluctant.
"Look, I'll just put my stuff in really carefully, I won't dirty anything or scratch your.... vehicle."
And I did it. Problem solved, although he didn't look too happy about it. We got it. Angelo fucked with a cell phone mounted to the dash.
We headed out as Angelo looked up and down repeatedly, glancing at the way ahead and the cell phone. The laneway split into two. One lane heading left. One lane heading right.
I reckoned he could head left, slip north on the strip and left to I-15 at Tropicana. But Angelo handled this decision point by... choosing neither. He stopped.
He fucked with the phone some more.
"You could - "
Too late. Angelo chose right, and we were off, merging onto Las Vegas Boulevard heading south. Angelo celebrated by crossing across all 4 lanes to the innermost lane, and then swinging over one more, in to the left-turn lane for Four Seasons drive. I figure he was going to try do a u-turn at the light and head back up strip. Fair enough.
We stopped in line for the red light.
"What do you do, Angelo?"
Angelo replied that he had been occupied in a very demanding physical activity for money that is extremely hard on ones body, but leaves one incredibly strong.
But he didn't do that anymore. He did this and that. He had appointments with people. He drove Lyftber.
And without further warning, Angelo backed up about twenty feet, put the car back into Drive, and, without signaling, cut back across the five lanes to the outermost lane of Las Vegas Blvd.
Our route looked roughly like this.
We drove along, chatting about this and that. I tried not to ask any tough questions. I tried not to do my own shoulder check on quick lane changes, since the driver wasn't bothering. He didn't seem to bother with the mirror much either.
Once I had to point out someone about to merge in front of him, someone going a much slower speed. Angelo hadn't noticed.
By the time we were maybe halfway downtown, I started angling for an early exit from the freeway and suggested that getting off at Charleston was a reallllly good way to get downtown.
Good for me in that it would get our speed down to something perhaps survivable in a wreck.
Angelo took the bait, zipping over a few lanes to the right.
In a moment I'd be off the Mortuary 500 and onto city streets.
About the time the lane peeled right to get off at Charleston, there appeared to be a backup, stretching almost the length of the exit. Angelo swung left without warning.
I wondered how much whiter my knuckles could get.
Thank goodness, we took the very next exit, went north on South Grand Central Pkwy, and right on Bonneville to cut through the grid of streets heading east.
Angelo was confused and consulting his cell phone regularly. We stopped. We started. We lurched and drifted and swerved.
In one of his worst transgressions, Angelo stopped at an intersection - where there was no stop sign.
And in what was probably his worst transgression, at the next intersection, he ran the stop sign. Nobody coming, or I could have been a goner. Which was what he had in mind, right?
Don't ask me how, but a few minutes and a few more ticketable offenses later, I arrive, somehow, in one piece at my destination.
Lyftber was pretty good throughout my trip - until now. This guy should not be driving, let alone driving others. Uh-uh, no way, no how.
I got checked in to a room in the Cabana Suites (which was not a suite, and not a cabana, but was very green) and headed to the bar for about three stiff drinks in quick succession.
Brush your teeth
And wash your hands
Click Facebook like
clean frying pans.