Longtime readers of this blog know all about my love affair w Atlantic City. But for the less familiar, AC and I have HISTORY — and I was ready to make more.
I left Massachusetts at 7:30 am yesterday morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and arrived in Atlantic City 6 hours later, a deflated, hangry mess. It’d been raining steadily, traffic was bad, and worst of all – my ear was acting up. No vertigo, thank God, but I was half deaf.
I’d been expecting fair skies and 60 degrees at the shore, but the storm followed me south and at my first stop (Lucy the elephant) my umbrella blew inside out- not once or twice, but 4 times. I got back into the car waterlogged and bedraggled and drove through empty streets to the AC historical museum. By the time I was done, the wind was howling but the rain had thankfully stopped, so I walked 10 mins along the deserted boardwalk to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! And believe it or not, by the time I’d emerged, the clouds had parted and the sky was a beautiful blue. I thought Hallelujah!! My luck has changed!!! So I hustled over to the Absecon lighthouse, just in time to be TURNED AWAY. No view for YOU!
I felt sort of like an overdue baby, who after a restless incubation claws her way out of the womb, only to want to crawl back in. Atlantic City, you are NOT my soothing Mommy. The weather, traffic, GPS re-routing, and worst of all – my EAR! – all had me down. Seriously down. By the time I arrived at the Borgata, I already knew this wasn’t going to be my day. But sometimes when you’re down, you still feel slightly optimistic. I inhaled my way through the Borgata buffet, and proceeded onto the casino floor.
My secret luckiest winningest machine was sadly gone, though I did my very best to locate it. In its stead, in an altogether different location of
course (that floor is like a shell game), I found what I believe is its third generation offspring, but so had an elderly woman. Who stayed glued to it the entire time I was on the casino floor. I must have done 50 laps in the dizzyingly complex maze – thank God they’d offered me a map at checkin– but she just stayed put. I would have hastened to an adjoining machine in the off-chance she’d eventually have to wizz, but she’d already thought of that and had a pack of cronies parked beside her- not just on either side, but across the aisle as well! She wasn’t taking any chances. And each time I passed by they were, I kid you not, rooting her on! Crap. It truly is the best machine ever.
SO Instead of big winning, I managed another less-fun though mildly entertaining personal record by playing the SAME $20 the entire time. No kidding. Just $20. I spent way more on supper! I’d go from machine to machine – and if the thing didn’t cough up at least 50 cents in the first few spins, sayonara baby. Onto the next one. By the end my butt had grazed so many slot machine seats, I could’ve gotten a rash.. Thankfully I was wearing pants. At least until this morning when I crawled back in my metal cocoon and hit the road once more. Kidding!
Between the awful smoke (non-smoking sections, my a$$!) constant barrage of machine sounds, shouts of winners, screams of the attention starved, the haggard shells of the gamble-hardened.. Even the artwork.. Yes, this is what awaited me in my hotel bathroom:
I’d had enough. I got security to walk me up to my room (yes, I’m a freak who doesn’t do elevators, so I got escorted “behind the scenes” in the stairwell that gives you the distinct impression they’re not coughing up much for the employees) and I went to bed.
Waking up in AC is like having a 1 night stand w a hotel. What’s hot at midnight by morning is a hot mess. SURE it’s still the same, but you see it with fresh eyes. Instead of ornate marble, all you notice is mildewed caulk. Even the bathroom artwork makes you feel dirty, like you need to draw the curtains. Face it. There are behaviors that are totally acceptable at night that during the day and especially at 8 am, just seem terribly sad. Like sitting parked in front of the Secret Luckiest Winningest machine ever. (You know I checked- DAMN!)
Ahhh casinos. it’s like turning over a rock and finding something hiding. Shiny and eye catching up top, fleshy wriggling underparts beneath. Part of me will always love AC, its glitzy fun and polished luxuriousness, but I’m a pilled socks and sweater kinda gal. Whatcha see is whatcha get. I know AC is irresistible, and everyone needs a good dose of surface shallowness now and then, but this morning I was a little relieved to leave, clutching my wallet just a little less tightly as I went.
SO. Onto stop number 3. I’m still half deaf, but feeling lucky. And that’s everything.