My friend Jim, also participating in the “40 Days of Writing” project, did a piece on Las Vegas, where he goes every August for a Fantasy Football League draft. Just reading it, I began to foam at the mouth; I am so due for a Vegas trip.
I would not be going for the same reason as Jim, however; instead, my husband Chuck and I are two of those crazy people who enjoy playing the slot machines. We also enjoy walking all over the strip, riding the monorails and trams between the casinos, eating at various restaurants, catching a free show somewhere, people watching, laying by the pool, catching a gondola ride at the Venetian, and finding the perfect little hotel-casino bar where we can kick back and enjoy a cocktail.
We got married in Las Vegas, always joking that, “It’s all a gamble anyway.” After almost 24 years it was apparently a gamble worth taking. We were both in our late 20’s when we got hitched there, at the modest little chapel at the Riviera, a few years before the Strip really started to kick in with the Luxor and every new place since.
When asked why we decided on Vegas, we simply stated that we liked to keep things simple; but after years of marriage, and seeing how anal I get about throwing a simple cocktail party, Chuck jokes(?) that, had we decided on a big wedding he probably would have wound up cancelling the whole thing.
Back to Vegas (oh, how I wish, literally), providing we have some money to burn, we always seem to have a good time, and even budget ourselves accordingly. My mother once told me that when in Vegas, you have to almost think of cash as Monopoly money. Of course there are enough signs posted all around the casinos advertising help for chronic gamblers who, more than likely, went a little too far with that concept and wound up in a bad situation without the Get Out of Jail Free card, or anything else to save them.
People say we are wasting our time at the slot machines, and that the real money is to be made at the tables. Chuck will venture over to play Blackjack on occasion, but he will usually gravitate back to the slots — nickel ones, at that — and, like me, find a favorite game that he can feed a $20 bill to and see how long he can make it last. You may be surprised that we have actually done pretty well at some of these machines, walking away $200 ahead at times.
Las Vegas is so fun and full of energy; I think of it as Disneyland for Adults. I love the glitter, lights, sounds and intensity. Strolling through a casino and hearing the various noises of all the different slot machines gives me an adrenaline rush.
The only thing you have to remember, especially when it’s blazing hot outside, is to take some Airborne or some other preventative to keep you from getting sick; there is something about being in an air-conditioned casino — cigarette smoke, an added bonus — then stepping out in 110° heat, then repeating that pattern several times throughout the day, that will shock your system into a run-down, sniffling and coughing state.
I love flying to and from Vegas, rather than driving, not only because it’s a boring-ass drive, but also because when the green light is given for a Vegas trip, I want to get there as soon as possible. When it’s time to go home, it’s depressing enough to have to leave that town, without dealing with the long trek home on the 15.
Yes, Chuck and I are definitely due for a Vegas trip. Hopefully we’ll get there sometime before the end of the year. It would be great to go for our anniversary, but September is coming fast, so we’ll have to see.
What is comforting is that, when we do finally make our way out there, it will be just as exciting and enjoyable as always, providing us with all the things we love to do, and maybe even holding some nice new surprises for us as well.