Yes, indeed, the casino decided to drop all the charges for the five days I wouldn’t be there. Oh, the generosity. Hooters almost made me want to slap myself. 2012 WSOP made me want to kick myself. Vegas? Sin City? Made me want to kill myself. Five days of the resort fee. Which included a whole bunch of extraneous amenities of which I did not avail myself. Like the pool. Excuse me, I am a 66-year-old grandpa, well aware the sun is not my friend.
The change in my return flight cost $262.50. But I get ahead of myself. Which is strange, ’cause I’m usually a little behind. Anyway, I had a plan. But, as I was later to learn – over and over and over – my plan sucked the big rutabaga. The giant kumquat, that too. Suffice to say, I was not enjoying myself. Lord knows, I tried. (What the Lord knows, stays with the Lord.)
The plan was … I stay at Hooters’ – I’m guessing that’s plural – which was across the street from the MGM Grand and the south end of the Las Vegas Mono-Rail. Get a three-day pass, zip up and down the Strip at my leisure and discretion. Walk a little ways to whichever casino might appeal to me. Same with the WSOP and the Rio. Avoid taxis. Limit myself to video poker, which I must note, humbly, I play at the Expert Level. I’m just sayin’. That was the plan.
Did I mention the plan sucked? Mea culpa. My bad. Holy bankroll, where do I start this report? Difficult. Perhaps why I have waited six weeks to tell the story.
True story. First words I hear upon entering the Rio: “Where’s the buffet?”
Cruising The Strip to partake of the visual cacophony, I saw my first Prince impersonator. Guess I can cross that off my bucket list.
Stopped at The Miracle Mile Shops to see what was so miraculous. Looking around, I halfway expected to see a store named Expensive Shit You Really, Really Don’t Need.
Now that – really, really – would be a miracle.
And another thing, I absolutely refuse to be clad in beach wear, unless I’m at the beach. (Well, honestly, not even then.) Far, far too many of my fellow cruisers seem unaware they’re on a sidewalk in the middle of a concrete canyon. OMG. Some things can not go unseen. Like flames from an over-turned truck in the median.
Admittedly, it’s fifteen to twenty degrees hotter here than back in famously warm Florida. I understand your need to deal with the heat. But, Jesus!, cover up the fat and the misspelled tattooes. Adapt. Get a cold drink. Stay in the shade. Indoors, even…we have the technology.
Myself? I am not only heat-trained, but I am part reptile. I am arthritic and the sun works like a theraputic lamp. I wore long-sleeved vented black shirts, black jeans and ninja shoes. Black.
Still freakin’ hot. Global Warning is real.
At Diablo’s, you can drink all the draft beer you want between 8-12 p.m. I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. Coyote Ugly offers three hours of unlimited consumption plus well drinks for $30. You know where to find me.
Can’t do any more. Can’t go on. My feet hurt too much. Brought the wrong shoes. Another part of the plan that sucked.
I stop for dinner at Mickie Finnz. Pulled BBQ pork sandwich. With cole slaw.
Finally made my way to “DownTown.” Old Vegas.
That was a trip. The Chamber of Commerce made it sound so easy. Skip across the street – if you walk, you die – to the MGM Grand entry to the Mono-Rail, head north to the end of the line. Hop off, pick up the 108 Bus and bingo!, you are DownTown.
Skipping ahead, I am sitting at the bus stop waiting for the 108. Waiting and waiting. Waiting. Worse than you know. It’s dark. There’s nothing but concrete emptiness all around me. Worse than that. Bus after bus come out of the night. I see their bright headlights and the signs. No 108. Waiting.
Some chubby guy, naked except for dingy green flip-flops and faded black boxer shorts, taking his evening walk, seemingly lost to himself, looks up and says, “You are right where you need to be right now.”
As I wrestled with the idea I had somehow stumbled into a scene from an early Twilight Zone episode and this was an omen or a parable or both, 108 showed up.
In this town, every night is an event. I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing, certainly not for all visitors. Las Vegas manages to be amazing, even impressive, but not necessarily in a good way.
BACK at the WSOP, back at the Rio, back at the bar, the bartender alerts me a young man across the way has paid for my bottle of Fat Tire beer. I am nothing if not grateful for a complimentary beverage, so I wave the fellow over. He was a foreign poker expert who recognized me. (It is, after all, why I wear the fedora.)
He asked me how I was enjoying the WSOP. I told him I wasn’t. Before I could commence my litany of despair, the man spouts, “Yeah, I know just what you mean.”
Now, I won’t attempt to paraphrase, but a certain darkness hovers over the event. Could be the world-wide recession, could be the Black Friday, could be Full Tilt. Could be all the dark hoodies.
“There is something tacky going on here,” he said. “Like more and more scamming is going on. I can’t put my finger on anything specific, just a feeling.”
“Well, thanks for the beer.”
I have nothing specific myself, but more than the air conditioning seemed cold about the event.
A chill which I think was lifted when Antonio won the One Drop tourney. Well played, Guy.
I remember reading that many people go to Vegas because something is missing from their normal life, their day-to-day routine. They go looking for excitement, they go looking for escape. They going looking for a second chance, they go looking for something they don’t even know what it is…. Just something is missing.
I don’t know if that’s true. Not my place to say. But I do know this….
A bad time… that’s what I was missing.
So, I went home.
You get old, you change.
Otherwise, you are stupid.
Then may God bless you.