Last week I found myself at a casino at three in the morning.
I’d been sitting at home, safely in my pajamas when I was called to the bar at 9 pm. One of my favorite bartenders had finished his finals. Don’t ask. So we went out to celebrate and ended up at the dive bar down the street. We drank and talked and had a good time. I had every intention of going home at a decent time, but that didn’t happen.
Next thing I knew, Bartender was convincing me we should go for food. Okay, sure. But we didn’t go for food, we went to the casino. He took out a few hundred bucks and started playing poker.
I’d always been curious about this place. I wondered who was there, squandering their hard-earned money late into the morning.
I saw three main rooms, all with tables. And all mostly full of Asian men. There was a little mix of everyone else, but there were very few women playing. Being a Sunday night, the people playing were all serious about being there. The table my friend played was full. He was winning. It was pissing off this guy at the other end. I imagined the pissed-off guy was really a Mexican drug lord and that he would later take his revenge out on Bartender, who would put up a good fight as an ex-Marine, but eventually would lose to the cartel. All that just over a couple hundred lousy bucks.
When I realized my wild, sleepy imagination was turning trash talking into a bad, Lifetime movie, it was time to go home. Bartender took a break from his winnings for a smoke. I chatted with him until he headed back inside, excused myself, and grabbed a cab home.
Three hours later, I “walked the dog” to my car in the dive-bar parking lot. It was embarrassing. We walked on the sidewalk right up to my car, looked around suspiciously, then I pressed the unlock button, hopped the curb, threw my dog in the back and drove off guilty of continuing the party-like-a-rock-star lifestyle to which I’d become accustomed.
This week has been much, much tamer.