105 Ways to Give a Book

What I Learned in Vegas

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?


adrienne said...

My aunt lives in Vegas, so I go there with some regularity. I have a love/hate relationship with the place. I always have fun, but it's always completely exhausting.

Did you watch the fountains while you were at the Bellagio? I love those things.

TadMack said...

Heh. I can imagine Kidlitosphere people there -- we'd get kicked out because we'd be laughing so hard they would think we were all completely drunk. Sounds like FUN.

Sara said...

For me, the fun of going to Vegas is being able to stay in a hotel with an awesome bathroom. My bath at home is a nothing sort of place, but away from home, bring on the glitz! TVs! Huge walled showers! Fancy shampoo! Love that stuff. Mandalay Bay has great bathrooms, btw. I like them more than their glamorous pool.

My favorite part of Vegas is the desert outside of it. Red Rock Canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

MotherReader said...

Adrienne, we stayed at the Paris, so we were right across the street from the Bellagio fountains. I watched them in day and night. Lovely.

TM, I don't think it's possible to get kicked out of anywhere in Vegas for being too crazy - but we could sure try!

Sara, the Paris had great bathrooms too. We didn't leave Vegas to see the area, but I stared out the window of the plane for twenty minutes because I couldn't look away from the miles and miles of desert with all the colors and texture of it. Amazing.

Emy said...

I also love Vegas. There's always something to do or see, and if you leave your hotel, you'll get exercise...because each hotel is as big as a mall. You can also spend a pretty good amount of time there and never leave your hotel, because each one is as big as a mall and they've got enough there to keep you going for a few days.

Now I'm pondering the idea of a couple of days at the Venetian or something. Hmmmm....

Robin Brande said...

The thing about Vegas that really freaked me out was when I went downstairs in the hotel to get my morning Starbucks, and there were all those people still drinking beer and hard liquor. My brain just could not accept that.

I know what you mean about wanting to be rich on vacation--well-put.

BJNewman said...

Years ago when my husband and I took a cross country road trip, we stopped in Vegas for the first time in our lives.

We gave each other twenty bucks to play with. He came back 2 bucks up from playing Blackjack all night, and I gave my loot all up to the magic of slot machines--nickel and dime machines at that!

In the morning , while in line for breakfast, I wanted to play again. Suffice it to say that he said he saw something in my eyes that he had never seen before.....

Now we never go to casinos, because he knows that I would be like Julie Haggerty who played Albert Brooks' wife in "Lost in America." I'd lose "the core of the nest egg."