First, the spam artists were calling to tell me I’d won thousands of dollars in coupons from Mastercard.
Now, I’ve won again. I’ve won! I’ve won!! One of the following is mine, all mine:
3 days, 2 nights in FABULOUS LAS VEGAS!!!!
A plasma TV!
A four day CARNIVAL CRUISE to one of several FABULOUS DESTINATIONS!!
Or! $1,000 in cash!!
All I need to do to get my Fabulous! Prize!! is to get in the car on a workday, make a two hour each way drive out to San Mateo, California and view a two hour presentation about the Fabulous! Time! Share! Opportunities! that Glitz, Incorporated has to offer in several Fabulous! Locations!!!!!!!
Can I please not win anything else?
On the bright side, at least the timeshare lady was upfront about who she was, who she was calling for and what-all they wanted from me. And when I said, “Thanks but no thanks” she confined her hard sell to saying, “You know, you can always just come out, watch the video, and say no. I’ve done that. Twice. Been to Vegas. Twice.” And she had a very cute laugh, and one of her coworkers laughed and said (stage left), “You did not do that!” and she said (sotto-voce, obviously having put her hand over the mouthpiece of her headset) “Oh yes I did. Twice!” and we all had a really good laugh.
But no. No, I really don’t wanna. I don’t wanna drive to San Mateo, and I don’t wanna watch the presentation, and I don’t want the Fabulous! Prize! either, which is undoubtedly going to be an off-season cruise I will never in a bazillion years be able to take or the Vegas thing, which again – I’m never in a bazillion years going to be able to take.
And don’t want to, frankly. I know it is sacrilege, but I don’t like Vegas. Or Reno. I find it too loud, too crowded, too full of people trying to hustle me, too many time share operators leaping into my path shrieking, “HAVE YOU SEEN OUR BROCHURE?!”, too many children looking at inappropriate things (who, I ask you, WHO?! brings their children into the casinos of Vegas?!?!), dirty floors and the overall feeling that I’m surrounded by…desperation. It’s leaves a taste in my mouth like I’ve been chewing on dirty aluminum siding, desperation does – I don’t like it.
It isn’t that I don’t like to gamble, because I do. I’m particularly fond of blackjack as a way to throw my money away. But I like to do it on quiet Sunday mornings in Tahoe. I like to sit at the nearly empty low-limit tables with the senior citizens and fledgling gamblers trying to figure out how the game works, to socialize and laugh and give a big old cold shoulder to any ‘high rollers’ that make the mistake of seeking action with us at our table. I like to look at pictures of their grandchildren and laugh with the dealer about the things our kids get up to and drink my ‘free’ coffee or diet Coke until my crummy $100 is gone…at which point I like to go out into the mountain air, down to the lake, to sit and watch the boats and the people. To go for a hike, or a bike ride, or rent a kayak and head out into the lake.
I like to gamble with other people for whom the gambling is just a side attraction, one of the many other things they’re doing there. In a place with a normal balance of human emotions. The content, the desperate, the peaceful, the fired up, the just getting through one day at a time like everybody else.
I don’t want a timeshare in Tahoe, either.
Not even if it comes with a plasma TV.
Life Before the Pandemic
3 days ago