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Saturday, August 15, 2009

HOM: Vegan Potpourri

Vegan - adjective - referring to a star of the first magnitude in the constellation Lyra. Potpourri - noun - any mixture, esp. of unrelated objects, subjects, etc. ----- Okay, so it's a misleading title and not perfect, but hopefully it applies to these further Vegas anecdotes. No, I didn't see any stars . . . ----- While Lyn played the slot machines I did my usual Vegas thing: played out a twenty dollar bill till it was gone and then wandered around watching people. It was quite entertaining. Casinos have a lot of human drama playing out on the gambling floors, like a hundred soap operas playing at once. There was the obvious hooker, blonde and nervous, rubbing her john's arm as he gambled while she kept an eagle eye out for Casino Security. There was the Indian family -- Indian as in "from India." He rolled dice while his wife and kids sat on the floor around him. He was having fun, they were enduring. There were the slot machine ladies, looking and acting more mechanical than human as they relentlessly recycled coins and pumped levers on their machines, blank faced and dead eyed and not even reacting to jackpots. Many played two or three machines at once and only came to life if they thought someone might try to trespass on "their" machines. They seemed joyless, and when they animated they became shrews. It was hard to believe that they were having fun. There were show girls, who usually looked a lot better at a distance on a stage than they did close up, like VHS compared to HDTV. There were a number of intense husbands backed by pale and worried wives, probably gambling for more than they could afford. The casino floor was a constantly shifting parade of characters, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, and the strange: I suspect I fell into that last category since I was more interested in the players than the games. ----- Then there was the Portapotty episode. The emergency facility in the topper needed emptying and Lyn refused to let me bring it into the motel room and dump it into the toilet. That seemed unfair to me as she was the one that had filled it. I drove around to nearby service stations and got "NO" every time I asked if they could empty it for me: they were set up to service motor homes & campers, not portapotties. Finally I drove by a vacant, weedy, and trash-filled lot at the edge of town, so I stopped and discretely disposed of the Hazmat under some bushes and then fled the scene before anyone raised a stink about it. ----- Lyn came out way ahead on the slots. The next time we hit Vegas, Lyn hit them hard. She never told me how much she lost, but it was a lot more than she'd ever won. The law of averages caught up to her. I got my turn at a winning streak on a slot machine in one of the downtown sleazebuckets that weekend, collecting a small jackpot on almost every coin. Naturally they shut the machine off so I couldn't use it any more. The only winners are the casinos . . . No, I didn't find gambling to be addictive. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)