The Unbearable Banishment: perfect day [with apologies to lou reed]

Sunday, July 12, 2009

perfect day [with apologies to lou reed]

Just a perfect day,
Problems all left alone.
I thought I was someone else,
Someone good.

Taking off work on my birthday and spending the afternoon in Atlantic City shooting craps and being home in time to have dinner on the patio with the girls made me yearn for an early retirement.

After breakfast and birthday cards, I drove my another-year-older ass down to Atlantic City. Alone. I like being alone. I spent many, many years alone by choice. I’m pretty good company. You can put me in an empty room with a piece of string and I’d still manage to have a nice time. I miss being alone and sometimes I cut loose.

A long time ago, Atlantic City was this:

I’m sorry to report that it has turned into this:

That town is a peroxide blond who can’t afford a new bottle. I am amazed at the dichotomy between the glamour depicted in the ad campaigns for Atlantic City and Las Vegas and the harsh reality. Those cities are successfully marketed as bastions of elegant sophistication. Beautiful, well dressed people frolic into the night. The reality couldn’t be more different.

Do you know who gambles in Atlantic City on a Wednesday afternoon? The downtrodden. The hand-to-mouthers. The people who are bankrolled with that month’s mortgage payment. I can’t explain its appeal. It’s like a horrifying traffic accident that I can’t take my eyes off of.

Good God almighty I love craps. I love it so much that I play it sparingly. I love how the points of the dice dig into my palm when I squeeze them. I love the clacking sound they make when shaken. I love the feel of the felt on the table. I love to rifle the chips in my hand and run my finger along the smooth edges of the wooden trays.

I like the lingo and the chatter by the stickman. (Six. Six. The number is six. Stevie Nicks. Pick up sticks. John Hicks and his Hot Licks. Put your money on the six.) They try to get you to bet the sucker bets. Sometimes I fall for it. I’m only human, after all.

I returned from the dark side of the moon in time to have dinner in the sunlight with my girls. While I was away, Mrs. Wife whipped up some ribs on the auld grill. I looked at The Daughters BBQ sauce-smeared faces and thought I could not be further away from where I was just a few hours ago.


Blogger Blues said...

Well, I guess beautiful well dressed people don't need marketing to tell them where they can find elegant sophistication. They just ask the other beautiful, well dressed people that surround them.

July 12, 2009 at 6:46 PM  
OpenID daisyfae said...

the people watching in Vegas is alternately hysterically funny and heart-breaking. Saw a real life "Patty and Selma", smoking Camels, playing 4 slot machines at a time in a near coma last time i was there...

but i also learned a bit about roulette last time i was there, and am getting better at card tracking in blackjack... don't get the math well enough for craps...

July 12, 2009 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger A Free Man said...

Sounds like a good day. I love that song, by the way, it's so sardonic and jaded.

I've not spent a lot of time in casinos, but whenever I do I come out a little down. As you noted, the people in there are the ones that don't have the money to be throwing around in the casino.

Still and all, a good day is a good day.

July 13, 2009 at 6:30 AM  
Blogger sid said...

You mean that reality id nothing at all like TV. There are no seriously hot male casino hosts just waiting to save damsels in distress?

July 13, 2009 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Blues: That's true. If it's being advertised to the masses, then how exclusive can it be?

Daisy: I'll teach you how to shoot craps. No math skills are necessary. Just a set of steel ovaries, which I'm sure you have.

AFM: Mrs. Wife is the same way. It depresses her. She doesn't mind if I go, as long as I don't insist she come along.

Sid: Not only that, there are no scantily dressed nubile young girls waiting do drape themselves all over me.

July 13, 2009 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

sounds as if you enjoyed your day and continued that joy into the night! xoxo

July 13, 2009 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Bastard said...

This particular post struck an unusual chord with me. It's the way these days that you blog... your style is interesting, not to mention fascinating.

July 13, 2009 at 2:31 PM  
OpenID hereinfranklin said...

Those people are scary...and I don't mean Fred and Ginger. I've never been to a casino except for about 5 minutes on a cruise ship. Las Vegas is the last place I want to go. Well, actually, Atlantic City may have just moved to the head of list. Ribs...yum.

July 13, 2009 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Savannah: I wish I could spend a lot more days and nights like that. Too bad I have a mortgage to pay.

Jimmy: I "borrowed" from you a tad. Hope you don't mind. You're a muse!

HIF: Casinos definitely aren't for everyone. And if you think you won't enjoy them, then you probably won't. It's best to steer clear.

July 13, 2009 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger Ellie said...

Craps? How does anyone ever win on those things. Gambling is lost on me.

But a bbq is not!

Happy Birthday!

July 13, 2009 at 6:19 PM  
OpenID nursemyra said...

but isn't that charles bukowski in the second photo?

July 13, 2009 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Ellie: Oh, you can win quite a stack of cash playing craps. It can go the other way, as well.

Nurse: A+! That IS Charles Bukowski. He ain't no Fred Astair.

July 14, 2009 at 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Greg T said...

This is so true. Didn't A.C. have an amazing train that would pull into town in the 50's and 60's or is this some fairy tale I've heard of??

Now A.C. is like hanging out at the Meadowlands on a week night with no live racing (yes, I've been there but it was to watch a friend's horse that was running in the Poconos). I saw a kid being dragged around by his father mumbling about not having enough gas in the car to get home and being told to shut up. Can you imagine???

Hey at least you had off on your B-Day.

July 15, 2009 at 8:09 PM  
OpenID tomeoftheunknownblogger said...

Happy belated Birthday UB.

That second picture is downright scary.

Interesting to learn about your preference for alone time.

July 25, 2009 at 11:35 PM  

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