wine by the color

Monday, November 06, 2006

It’s a good thing I’m going on vacation tomorrow. I need a break after the past few days.

The quartet of me, my best friend of 30+ years and my two college roommates was supposed to go to Vegas this past weekend but when one of us had to cancel, we decided to postpone until we could all make the trip. Instead, KJ and I opted to see if we could find some fun closer to home, in Atlantic City. We didn’t have much of a plan, figuring we’d just head down Saturday night and see where the evening took us.

If you call arriving at your hotel at 5 a.m. in a stretch limo “some fun,” then yes, I guess we did okay.

We drove down late in the afternoon, thus saving me the torture of watching the Buckeyes try to blow their game, and thus their season, against Illinois. After checking into our hotel, we headed to the Trop for some gambling, and then it was on to dinner.

I don't get to that end of AC often, as we usually either go to the Taj or the Borgata, so I hadn’t been to the Gallery at the Trop. It is really impressive. It’s hard to believe this is the same place of 15 years ago, when the town struck me as a seedy, depressing Vegas knock-off. Our little AC has grown up nicely.

After some marvelous Chinese grub, it was back to the casino and the tables. And that’s when the evening took an interesting turn.

When the guy who sits down next to you has his chips delivered in a locked plastic box and signs for them rather than handing over cash, it raises some eyebrows among the table’s other players.

His delivery? Ten-thousand dollars.

So while we went crazy with our $15 hands, he was playing upwards of a grand a hand. Truly something to see. I have expected someone dropping $100 every six minutes to be obnoxious, but he wasn’t at all. In fact, he was quite nice and in no time we were all enjoying some banter. He wasn’t hitting on us as he spoke often and happily about his wife and kids. He just seemed to enjoy the chatter and the company.

In no time, two hours had passed and it was 1 a.m., so we decided to head back to the Quarter. Our buddy also opted to leave, for other tables, but we agreed to meet up later.

Oh, and we walked away with a $50 profit. His take was 100 times that. You do the math.

And so began the carousing portion of the evening.

Have you seen the humorous Miller Lite commercials that decree Man Laws? Saturday night, we started our own list of Lady Laws. Number one on the list: If you try to dance with a woman and she turns away from you, indicating her clear intent to not dance with you, do not wait an hour and try again. She still does not want to dance with you.

Despite this, we enjoyed ourselves, starting at a vodka bar called Red Square and moving on to a Latin place called Cuba Libre. Eventually, we met up with our new friend, but he seemed antsy to get back to the casino. We were well past our maximum sobriety level and in need of sleep, so we called it a night.

KJ and I were discussing how to get back to our hotel when he stepped in and said that he could arrange a car for us through the hotel, as he's a "fairly good customer there." We gratefully accepted his offer, and he headed back to the casino after arranging things at the front desk. We waited outside, and after a few minutes an absurdly long black limo arrived. Off we went, giggling like teenagers about the ridiculousness of our situation.

I think my favorite moment of the evening (morning?) came when the limo dropped us in front of the hotel. A man was smoking on the front steps as we arrived, and the look on his face as two people stepped out of a vehicle that could have easily transported 10 times that is something I wish I had captured on camera. Very, very good times.

After a mere four hours of sleep, I somehow managed to remain upright for five hours Sunday to watch the NFL games with the Captain and his friends at an oceanside watering hole. I'm still not sure how I managed that, and I could barely muster the energy to drive home from the shore. But it was worth it. I rarely get to park it in a bar and watch all the games via satellite because I'm usually at the Jets games, and it was a very good time, despite losses by the Browns and Packers. At least the Jets didn't lose.


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