Ooookay people ...the weather is not good today here in my neck of the woods... I am surrounded by cardboard boxes...some of them filled with the contents of my life thus far in contemplation of my imminent move to the dolls house...a number of them engineered for me by someone whose desire was to motivate me to fill them further, and who maybe disappointed... but possibly not surprised to learn therefore, that I chose to write about my Vegas trip instead. I was even more determined to do so, having lost the first version of this article into the depths of cyber space at the mere touch of a button.
I don't see this as an unproductive thing though, there was much that I learned in the states this summer which I like to think has given me a wider perspective in respect of all the challenges which lie ahead than I may have otherwise possessed without it.
As I have written before...Vegas was a place which excited and troubled me in equal measure, the close proximity within which 'the have's and have not's' reside in relation to each other is one of the more troubling aspects. I was talking to a guy at the roulette table one evening who seemed highly amused that the advent of him losing $10,000 on one spin of that innocuous looking wheel, had reduced me to tears.
'Hey honey...don't worry about it...I got it covered...its only money' he explained to me in a manner he must reserve for all those people he considers to have mental health issues, and for my part I saw no point in trying to explain that my distress was not born out of any sympathy for his stupidity ...but out of frustration of the fact that a small fraction of the amount he had dismissed out of hand as 'only money' could have been considerably more important to those hustling a dollar on the strip outside than he could ever be made to appreciate.
As a former business woman who has been used to putting her money where her mouth is for most of her adult life...I am not risk averse... however, it is a simple house keeping rule of mine that I should do all I can to narrow the odds in favour of my own success as much as I possibly can. The thought of relying on the spin of a wheel, or the turn of a card to dictate the chances of me succeeding is just simply something I can not easily compute or locate the enjoyment factor in, especially knowing that the odds are calculated quite cynically against that success.
All of that said...Vegas was my chosen destination and had been arrived at in the full knowledge that...to use a well worn marketing term...its unique selling point...had at its heart in the sprawling casino's and the ethos of the gambler. My buddies not unreasonably pointed out to me that my claims of wanting to be a person who thrives on being drawn out of her comfort zone were somewhat arbitrary given my resistance to the experience of surrendering myself to chance. Therefore, I reluctantly agreed to enrol at baby gambling school in order to learn as much as I could, to help even out the imbalance in the odds as I saw them.
So towards this end I, and several others joined Hank at 11.00am one morning to be taught the game of 'craps'... the one that involves throwing dice. Now Hank was somewhat of a distraction in himself...I did try hard to ignore his twinkly blue eyes...muscular figure and...well other assets especially as one of my buddies watching from the sidelines was already distinctly unimpressed with the flirtatious nature of the interaction between me and Hank. I resolved to concentrate on the task in hand but was hampered by the fact that at 5ft tall my own assets were preventing a complete clearance of the gaming table, and before long my good intentions had given way to my low boredom threshold which was reached and breached in pretty much record time.I tried to fathom the difference between inside and outside bets...but the simple truth? I can not seem to retain information my brain has deemed I am unlikely to need...so as tends to happen in this type of circumstance I decided to liven things up a tad.
'I have a question' I raised my hand politely and tried to look disinterested in Hanks come to bed eyes when they locked with mine.
'Sure honey...fire away' he smiled and I was immediately aware of a distinct change in my breathing...but my sanity was by now at stake so I pressed on regardless. 'What possible purpose do those pointy things at the end of the table serve'. For those of you unfamiliar with a 'craps' table it has a rubber cushion at its end, onto which the die are aimed...and this is populated by lots of uniform tiny pyramids. Hank explained that this was just how the tables were designed...and it was deemed to be aesthetically pleasing.
'So those little pointy things have no affect on the trajectory of the dice then?' I was assured that this was indeed the case and Hank returned to his deliverance of the many rules, which by now he may as well have been delivering in Mandarin for all the sense they made to me.
'Hey dude' another voice at the end of the table also had a question 'if those...what did you call them again sweetheart?'
'Pointy things' I clarified 'yeah those pointy things...don't need to be there...then why are they there?' Hank repeated his stance that there was no sinister reason for the inclusion of the 'pointy things' but in the discussion which ensued, which included the assurance of a supervisor I was more than happy to observe that the clock was ticking merrily away on my time at baby gambling school...and was altogether much more interesting as a result of my contribution.
Eager to get the class of 2016 back on side Hank suggested that we each try out the game in hand...and I do mean literally one hand as the die are not to be handled in both, but cupped in a singular palm and then aimed at the unnecessary pointy things. The player then must be deemed to be making proper effort to play off the back of the table...or his bet can be voided.
When my turn arrived I eagerly took the dice...determined to show my intent to make contact with the back of the table.
'No San...one hand remember?' Hanks reminder was not really necessary but my apology was deemed genuine, and I kissed my clenched fist...a particularly theatrical twist I thought and launched the die...which despite my best efforts did not make contact with the pointy things as required, but cleared the flippin table completely, before landing in the middle of a particularly tense point of a black jack game behind ours.
'Good job' came the response from Hank whose commital to the positive was as commendable as it was misguided. 'Maybe you should go again sweetie' he suggested 'maybe ease up a little on the gas though huh?'' 'Gotcha' I took aim for the second time and as my die landed well short of the rear of the table...Hank voided my bet, before leaving his station to the sound of some clapping and cheering from my classmates who were equally divided by frustration and amusement at my antics.
'San I want you to meet Harry...Harry likes you I can tell...right Harry?' A huge American guy smoking a large Cuban cigar in front of whom were chips equivalent in value to the gold reserves in Fortknox...nodded in the affirmative, causing the ash from his cigar to fall onto the table. 'The thing about Harry' continued Hank ' is that he is a very wealthy guy... he'd like you to sit here real quiet ...and smile a lot...Harry thinks you have a great smile... and lets face it honey you ain't never gonna be able to afford to play craps without a Harry...am I right or am I right?'
The crowd erupted into cheers as I took the empty seat next to my new benefactor to then discover the unmistakable whiff of body odour ... which given the fact that my perfume runs out at £100 a bottle, I was fairly confident was not coming from me. This I considered a small price to pay in exchange for recognition of the fact that as a gambler I actually had zero potential...and was also considered to be something of a health and safety risk to boot.
The guys to my left were all cracking up and high fiving my blatant and successful attempt at getting expelled from baby gambling school...with of course one notable exception who was looking distinctly less impressed. He made his way over to my seat at the table and whispered in my ear that he was going to the room to consider another event planned for later the same day...our wedding.
Apparently this was now worthy of further consideration...and I would be informed of his lordships decision once he had arrived at it. Hmmmm! If I had been a gambler I certainly didn't fancy the odds of it going ahead now...but the odds against me giving a s...?!! Well that would definitely have been worth a punt...maybe I had learned something at baby gambling school after all.
Watch this space people!! xxx