Catching ‘Mono’ Is No Picnic

I’m in Vegas.

Every year I go, and every year I rave about the monorail service that serves as a very worthy, and considerably cheaper, alternative to the cab situation.

I bought the $28 three day pass soon as I got here, and made very good use of it–avoiding cabs, and cab lines, for the first couple days in Sin City.

Then, this morning, as I was heading over to the convention center around 9, there was a line just to get to the turnstiles. Mind you, the line was full of people with a monorail ticket, and there was no one at the front of the line, fouling up the entrance.

What gives?

In fact, there was a security guard there, holding people back. Because when the monorail is too full, they won’t even let people on the platform. So we waited, for about eight minutes, until the train arrived and pulled away. Then, and only then, were we permitted to enter the turnstiles, take the escalator down, and wait for the next train.

The next monorail that showed up, and it’s five minutes in between, was pretty darn jammed with pasty men wearing laminated convention badges. (It was like being backstage at a Rush concert.) I squeezed in, and prayed for a smooth, delay free ride to the convention center.

Alas, we stopped somewhere between Imperial Palace and the convention center–overlooking the Wynn golf course, which is gorgeous–a sea of green and a waterfall in a place where neither rightfully belongs.

It was cheek by jowl. A man joked about how everyone was lucky not to be claustrophobic, which, of course, was not the case with everyone on board. I would have yelled at him to “F— off,” but my throat was too dry.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re being held, but will move momentarily,” went the voice on the PA.

But the weird thing is, I don’t believe there’s a human on board driving the thing. In fact, the cloying recorded voice on the monorail boasts about how the monorail has the best designated driver there is–one who isn’t even on board.

We got going about three minutes after stopping–not much time for most, a lifetime for those who don’t do well jammed into tight, unmoving spaces.

And this was sort of creepy–a few seconds after we got moving, the monorail narrator came on again, the mechanical voice telling us we’d be moving shortly.

We spilled out of the train at the convention center. The oppressive desert air felt welcome.

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