I am a gambler. I've said it before, but if ever a vice lands me under an overpass with only cardboard and magic marker as my writing tools it will be that that adrenaline rush of excitement I get anytime I risk a part of myself. I am not alone in my addiction. The shiny lights of the Vegas strip are powered by the millions of dollars spent gambling here. Some know when to say enough and push away from the table or slot, some do not. don't worry I am still on the right side of that equation.
I like rum. Free rum is even better. Except like in life, nothing is ever really free in Vegas. You generally have to be partaking in vice number one from above to be afforded much in the way of "free" rum.
I like Vegas. Duh given what Ive already told y'all. But guess what? I haven't mentioned the thing about the city I like best. In truth I could play poker, and do often enough right in Amarilllo, even while at my trusty keyboard. I could and have bet on sports away from Nevada. (okay not legally, but the opportunity still abounds) I can afford to buy my own rum so what is about Vegas that suckers me in? Glad you asked.
It's the mob. No, I'm not talking about Italian guys in expensive suits. I talking mob in the purest sense. The many varied, crazy, whacked out, friendly, naive, hustling, awestruck, jaded, friendly, angry, people that live work, visit and meander through Vegas.
The people from all over the world that congregate and blend together to outshine every marquee on the strip. As a writer, they are brain food for me.
A recap of my day here at the American Postal Worker National Conference and out and about in Vegas.
9 AM -- Noon- I listened to speeches from 4 different Union presidents, 2 US congressmen, and half a dozen other high ranking labor officials. Sure they all said much of the same thing, (the American worker is under attack and only Obama can protect us) but listening to these vivacious speakers and seeing the reaction they illicit from a people who span the country is a eye-opening regardless of your political beliefs. Barack Obama is schedule to directly address the assembly himself via video on Wednesday.
Noon- 230 PM- Took part in the state caucus for delegates from Texas to decide which way the state body leaned on certain issues regarding our national labor contract. Debate is another one of my favorite things and it is always interesting to see what spars emotion in others.
4ish- Took a taxi ride with what I can only describe as a Greek philosopher. For nearly twenty minutes the man spoke in his heavy Greek accent about his theory on life , gambling, drugs, sex, doctors, lawyers, and people who drive fancy cars. I say theory because he only had one that applies to all things in this world. His theory -- We are shaped by our very first experience of something.
A gambler who wins his first bet will always be a gambler regardless if he never wins again and winds up living in under the above mentioned overpass. Drugs or booze he said you basically became an addict if you enjoyed your first drunk or high. He said everyone likes sex because you can't really have bad sex unless you are forced and in his words those people will always be screwed up and never really find out what they are missing. According to Jimmy the Greek doctors and lawyers are all educated assholes whose joy in seeing human suffering stems from being left in their cribs alone as infants. His words not mine, so don't sue me. And guys with fancy cars are those who got told no by the girls they asked out in high school. Girls int eh same cars are just whores as best I could figure but by the time he got to that point he seemed quite agitated and the accent harder to understand. Interesting and somewhat expensive ride, but you can bet some of his diatribe will wind up in my fiction down the line.
8 PM until Midnight - I played in a poker tournament. I finished fifth, but could have done better had I not screwed up a few hands there at the end. But along the way I sat by a very good player from France who finished third, an obnoxious blowhard from Miami who cursed my good name upon his exit, a lovely lady from Canton, Ohio though I must confess she seemed to have trouble keeping her girls under wraps. maybe she was trying to distract my play I don't know. I outlasted her so I guess it didn't work. there were others as well from Atlanta, Baton Rouge, England, and of course the homer from Vegas who boldly calls himself a professional and tosses poker lingo around like a fat man does crab shells at he many all you can eat buffets. These guys never seem to be as good as they think but they are part of the scene that makes Vegas my kind of town ... to visit that is. Living here would not be good for my mind, body, or soul.
And how was your Monday?