500 Days of Summer (Part 1)

This summer was one of the longest ones I’ve ever had. It went from April to September. The summer comes and goes, the days are long, and the nights are short; there’s so much, and so little, to do during summer. It’s not my favorite time of the year, but I love it just the same.

I can’t pretend like it hasn’t been months since my last update – so I won’t. The stillness of summer arrived and my inspiration left. There were several times where I sat at my computer and attempted to write, but nothing would make itself onto the screen; it hurt a little bit. I stopped doing a lot of things I enjoyed doing, like reading, writing, going out, yes, there were some fun times between the lapses of nothingness, but nothing that I could latch on to. That’s different now. The fall is here and so is my favorite time of the year.

For all of April, some of June, then July and August, all I did was work. I don’t actually mind work. It gives me substance. It makes me feel real. I was working, doing the family business, and at the same time, I was doing my internship.

My internship with World Wide Technology was a great experience. I’m a big fan of experience – I always say that all experience is good experience. I believe that. Working with their Data Analytics team opened my eyes to different technologies, tools, and systems that I had never seen or used before. A lot of my tasks involved general problem solving involving database queries, scripts, and visualizations. It was a grind; waking up at 7am each morning for a standup meeting was not IT, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

During my time there I sent out so many LinkedIn connection requests it felt like I was catching Pokémon and had to get them all. It was a bit of fun for me. I met students like me from all over the country, but a majority of them were from Missouri, where the company HQ is at. What was most memorable for me was getting 1st place with a team of interns for our Capstone presentation on a proposed messaging feature that could be directly implemented into Canvas. It was a lot of work, but it paid off – I got myself a couple books (to sit on my shelf) with the prize money.

One of my best friend’s birthdays is in the month of June, and for his 21st he invited me out to Vegas with him and his family. It was only a weekend trip, but it’s one of my best memories from the summer. I had to work that Friday that we were supposed to go; he left by car earlier in the morning, and I took a flight out to meet him there. My plane landed at 9pm, but it was really 9am. The day was just getting started.

I took an Uber to the hotel — one of the loneliest Ubers I have ever been a part of. I got to the hotel and was immediately embraced by that cold and smokey, cigarette smell that I had been apart from for so long. I went up to the suite and was greeted with a shot of Patron, hugs, and an offer to hit the pen. I declined the last one and gladly accepted the first two. The hugs were as hot as that shot of Patron. With that, we took off to the famous Tacos El Gordo. If you’ve been to Vegas and haven’t had food from there at least once, then you’ve never actually been to Vegas. The line is always long, the Al Pastor is always spinning, and the comal is always hot. The food is delicious and tastes even better when your head is spinning like the top the Al Pastor is cut from.

Our group of eight ate and we were off to the strip. I did two weeks’ worth of cardio that weekend. When you’re out on the strip, you’re out on the strip. You’re bumping into people, you’re hot, you’re thirsty, it’s chaos, but I like it. We had to drop off my best friend’s brother early. It was only 11 but he was gone already. Two more shots and a Modelo and we were ready to go.

We walked through Caeser’s Palace, the Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, all of the big and shiny hotels. One of our first stops was at a bar where they serve you those tequila daiquiris in these enormous cups with footlong straws. I obliged when it was my turn to order, I like to think I’m a little more professional, a little more high-class, when it comes to ordering drinks. So I ordered a cocktail. I drank half of it and spilled the rest.

By that time it was already past witching hour so we decided to head back to the hotel. As we walked, we talked and shared our daiquiris. Those things should have a signed waiver you need to read before ordering because they’re too easy to sip on. The fruity flavor puts the liquor in witness protection and doesn’t let it be seen. With what they charged for the drink you’d think it cured cancer, but that’s beside the point. We got to the hotel lobby and sat at a table next to the bar. This is my preferred way of having a drink.

The waitress came by and asked for our orders, by this time I was really feeling myself – I could do no wrong. I ordered a Vodka Mule, and everyone else decided on a bucket of Modelo. It was my first time having a Moscow Mule, I had seen it a lot on Better Call Saul (my favorite tv show) and had wanted to try it ever since. The Mule was crisp and refreshing, it was flavorful, and by that point everything was grand, so what did it matter. Vegas never sleeps, but my homies and I do, at 5am we stumbled back to our rooms and slept.

We woke up late and had our breakfast. We walked down to the hotel restaurant for pancakes, eggs, bacon, and mimosas without the orange juice. I had a headache the whole trip. After breakfast, we slept some more, woke up, and headed out to Area 15 with each of us double fisting a Modelo. Area 15 is a nice venue with lots to do, some different bars, and decent food. We made the mistake of not buying tickets to some of the attractions early, and at that point, we just wanted to drink so we headed to the barcade there. I ordered another Mule, this one was bad, but I drank it just the same. That whole afternoon was spent at the barcade.

After that, we headed back to the hotel and had wings at the sports bar in the hotel lobby. That was one of my favorite things we did that weekend. I enjoyed myself during that dinner. We had buckets of Modelo, wings, fries, onion rings, everything that pairs well with an ice-cold beer. The waitress was also pretty cute. It was a vibe.

By this point, I hadn’t spent money at any of the casinos so I went out and gambled a little bit. Looking back at it now, I really don’t remember how much I lost, so I can’t say, but it was money that I was comfortable losing. It was an unlucky weekend for me when it came to landing on red in roulette.