Friday, July 15, 2011

Excerpt from Travelogue

I am up to my eyeballs in Quaker work today, so instead I'll post something that I wrote earlier in the week. Atlantic City was such a shock to the system that all I could do to cope was write about it.


The sub-standard tap water made me sick and woke me up at 1 am with heartburn. Having never been to a casino like this before, I see how they make their money. Mr. Trump nickel and dimes you to death. The breakfast buffet was $14. Even using the gym is $10 per day. And a sad looking gym it is, I have to say. A person isn’t exactly getting his or her dollars’ worth. Some of the amenities are very nice, but some of them have seen much better days. Now I understand why the up-front hotel cost was so inexpensive. Factor in a hundred surcharges as they appear and understand the true cost. I find it sad that they can’t manage to fleece people enough at the poker table or the slot machine, so they have to make money other ways.

Let me tell you how it will be/there’s one for you, nineteen for me

I hope this never becomes anyone's economic system or means to solve the debt problem.

Along with my bus ticket, I was given a voucher to play the slot machines up to $25 for free. I’ve often found places with blinking lights, noise, and lots of people incredibly over stimulating. This was also the case here, as I strode up to the first promising looking cluster of machines and tried my luck. After I became a Friend, I was told that gambling was frowned upon, so I’ve generally tried to abide by that rule. Quakerly or not, $40 equaled five minutes worth of effort. Playing conservatively, I took whatever money I won at each push of the button and immediately cashed it out. The winnings paid for dinner. I felt pleased with myself.

Here’s a funny story. While at my table for dinner, I spoke to someone over the phone about the Washington Post project for Meeting. Three weeks ago, The Washington Post contacted my Meeting requesting our participation. This request was forwarded to the committee upon which I serve. Specifically, we were asked to take part in a three part religion project. Its intention was to document the opinions and viewpoints of different religious groups located in the District.

I return to the present. From then onward, I was given stellar service. I think the casino workers then assumed that I was an investigative reporter or some sort of undercover media spy checking closely on how efficiently they did their job. This is not a distinction that I discouraged, because I generally enjoy having my glass refilled in a timely fashion. We all like to feel important from time to time.

Swimming in the ocean or playing on the beach has ceased to be thrilling to me since I was nine. Inviting sunburns, regardless of how judiciously one applies sunscreen, is never much fun for me. I went out for a little while, long enough to not tremendously outpace the time limitations of my sunscreen. The water was filthy, full of silt from a project to redo the design of the beach. I suppose I’m spoiled. Where I spent time as a child, the water was light blue, foamy, and translucent. The only issues I ever had were jellyfish stings. But that’s what meat tenderizer is for, when it is applied to the sting. The more people you add to anything, the common space shared by everyone will reflect it. This is not often a positive development.

1 comment:

Martin Kelley said...

Kevin! Next time you take your roll of quarters and use it to pay for the 25 minute ride to our place. The water's excellent, the produce fresh, and we offer a great gratis exercise plan (chasing kids around the backyard).