This was a quiet day. Denise had a bunch of errands and I did not feel like going along. I slept in, did some work, and did some writing.
One of the places Denise had been wanting to go to was a casino. I have not been to one in ages and neither had she. I do not have great memories of them – I am not a gambler and the smoke, bright flashing lights, and loud sounds are not the most pleasant environment. But we went to Talking Stick Resort and Casino. I do not know if this is true of all casinos now, but there were few dealers. The only dealers we saw were dealing blackjack. Craps, roulette, baccarat, and a lot of blackjack were all electronic. Peter had asked me to put $5 on a hard 8 in craps and he said I could just hand the chip to the dealer and s/he would take care of it. But there was not a dealer and I could not for the life of me figure out how to use the game despite reading the instructions. And there were not a lot of casino employees walking around so I could ask.
So Denise and I walked around and found a couple of slot machines that we liked. I put in $5, was up about $20, let it go back down to $20 so that I lost the original $5, and then cashed out. We walked around some more and there was this whole group of Chinese-style slot machines that I could not make sense of. I put in my $20 ticket (that is the other thing – no coins although the slot machines make the coin dropping noise – you insert bills – I did not see any machine that took coins – or a ticket and when you cash out it gives you a ticket, which you can redeem at the cashier – now I am wondering if the blackjack dealers took cash, tickets, or chips) and lost $10, which is when I realized it was a $10 machine. So goodbye to half my winnings.
A lounge band started playing in one of the bars and Denise and I hung out and had some drinks and listened to the band. There were three musicians – vocals, guitar, drums – and they were playing along with a track for some of the background vocals and other instruments. Sometimes I do not think the singer was actually singing live. And they were all dressed in jeans. Denise used to play hotel lounges all across the country and she could not believe how casual this all was.
I had ordered our first drinks from the bartender but we ordered our second from the waitress. She looked like a casino waitress who had had a tough life and I felt badly that I had not ordered from her from the start, so I tipped her generously. She thanked me profusely. When we were done, I went to the bartender and asked how to play a hard eight. He showed me and said it is a terrible bet (there are electronic tables at the bar). I told him it was what my friend wanted. Peter lost. Before leaving I stopped at another craps machine and played $20, which I lost. And at another slot machine I lost the $10 ticket and ended up with a 9 cents ticket, which I redeemed at the cashier. I told her it was only 9 cents but it was mine and she said we need you to cash in the tickets so we have a job.
By Carene Lydia Lopez