I’m back, tired and a little bit poorer, because no, I did not win money. But I did come home with some valuable knowledge about myself, gambling, and Las Vegas.
I realized that I want to be rich, but only on vacation. Ninety-five percent of the time, I don’t particularly want to be wealthy. I don’t crave $500 shoes or $5,000 purses. I enjoy seeing big, well-decorated houses, but I don’t strive to live in one. Fancy cars, diamond jewelry, and designer clothes don’t do it for me. However, on vacation I would LOVE to be one of those people who don’t think about money. People who go to $100 shows every night and start their gambling stash with $1,000. I also wouldn’t mind being rich enough to take lots of vacations in the first place. Mercedes, Tiffany’s, and Prada? No. Milan, Tahiti, and Peru? Yes!
I finally understand gambling. I’ve played slot machines a couple of times, but I always had in mind what I was comfortable losing. So if I was out all night and lost thirty dollars, it didn’t matter. I knew I had gotten thirty dollars of entertainment plus the free drinks that they bring around, so I was fine with losing. I’d rather win, but I could afford to lose.
This trip I decided that I was going to play at the tables at least once. When my group went to the Bellagio one morning, the chance came to me. There was a blackjack table open with a friendly dealer and two nice women. I thought if I was going to lose money and I fully expected to I’d rather lose it in this classy, serene casino with pleasant people. The table had a ten-dollar minimum per bet. Oh boy. As I played, I realized that this was gambling. To get that rush, you have to put in more than you feel comfortable betting. I never understood that, because I never tried it. I suspect, too, that as you get used to that set amount whatever it is for you then you have to bet higher and higher to get the same charge. No wonder gambling is so addictive.
As for me, I played for about thirty minutes with nice people in a classy, serene casino. I was up by twenty dollars at one point, and down by fifty at another. In the end, I lost twenty dollars, but I left feeling good because it was such an interesting and exhilarating experience. Sometimes it’s worth it to leave your comfort zone for a little while.
Now, Las Vegas. Even though I was one of my group to suggest this vacation, I didn’t quite understand the attraction of Las Vegas. I do now. It’s a combination of a frat crawl and Disney World, but for adults. People walk through the streets carrying beers like it’s one big party. At ten in the morning! While bars in D.C. seem to be for the twenty-something crowd, in Las Vegas all ages seem welcome. Also like a frat party, people go out of their way to meet other people. (I got chatted up a bit, to the amusement of my friends.) Then there’s the Disney World element of replicas of fabulous places but instead of Cinderella’s castle, it’s Parisian streets or Egyptian pyramids. Top it all off with a sense that your parents Wouldn’t Approve a exciting/nervous feeling that you may not have had since high school and there you have the winning combination that makes Las Vegas special.
Anyway, I had a great time and I’m looking forward to going back with Bill. Or hey, maybe for a Kidlitosphere conference?