19 August 2006

Whine whine

I hate Las Vegas.

Well, to be fair, I hated being trapped on the Strip…and even writing that out loud still makes me feel like a pansy, because if it really bothered me that much, I should have been more proactive—try harder to contact friends and friends of friends in the area, figure out the bus system, figure out someplace else to go in the city. Or even better, I should have had the chops to talk Ari out of it in the first place.

Ari wanted to get married in Las Vegas on her 21st birthday. Unfortunately, her life lacked anyone worth marrying, so she invited Lyss, Maya, and I to come celebrate 21ness instead. Actually, we would have married her, except Lyss is already engaged, Maya has a long-term boy, and marriage is against my morals.

I never thought I would voluntarily go to Vegas. I dreaded this trip all summer. I winced anytime someone asked me what my end of the summer plans were. However, I love the girls more than I can express. We’ve known each other since the first day of freshman orientation in high school. I would go to the ends of the earth for them…even [sigh] Vegas. Okay, I know I’m waxing melodramatic, and I know that a Vegas trip for most people sounds like a good time, but please understand that glitz really gets to me. Like fiberglass cuts.

Playing poker between friends is cool. Giving your money to some mega corporation is not. Taking money from some huge corporation could be cool, except it won’t happen because they’ve been playing this game for, like, Chinese years (ask Ari), and they make the rules. Even if you’re lucky enough to win a few thousand dollars, the house doesn’t care because they’ve taken more thousands from all the other chumps who tried.

Yes, I know other people can and do making a living off of gambling. Good for them. But meanwhile, it’s effing aggravating to walk through a sea of slot machine zombies. [though clenched teeth] All those people pumping money into effing computers that are effing programmed to be psychological money sinks. [primal scream] Wake the bloody F up! THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS!!

[deep breath] …it helps to think of heartwarming underdog-beats-big-mean-casino-system success stories: the MIT blackjack team, Doyne Farmer and his roulette crew in the 70s …but it’s not possible for everyone to win…or else the casinos wouldn’t be so bloody rich, eh? And yeah, I know, I’m a gambling prude. As Lyss pointed out, gambling is also a form of entertainment. You can pay $8 for a movie, or you can spend an hour on penny slots. There’s a thrill in gambling, right? I’d rather see a movie.

I couldn’t really adequately express to Ari, Lyss, or Maya why Vegas bothered me so deeply. Several hours of airplane thought later…

It’s the same reason why I don’t eat at McDonald’s or Denny’s. The food isn’t particularly bad, but the focus is all wrong. They don’t care where the ingredients come from or where they go. As long as customers buy it, it’s okay. They don’t care about their employees or the health of the customers. They don’t even really care about the food they’re making. The focus is on profits, which cheapens the whole experience. They don’t love you, just your money. This doesn’t bother some people. Fine. They have every right to eat where they want. But I don’t want to support anything so cheap.

The Strip is a huge bleeping McDonalds. With sequins and tanning booth flesh. It’s so bloody shallow.

Despite all my bloated righteous ranting, I did have a smashing good time being with the girls, spending hours at the pool, eating our weight in sushi, drinking tequila shots with Maya, walking through all the lavish casinos (Where else would you find New York and Paris a few blocks from one another?), dancing on the bar at the simulacrum Coyote Ugly, dressing up to the nines to go bowling until 4 in the morning, and then walking all the way home because the shuttles had stopped.

But if I can bloody help it, I’m never stepping foot on the Strip again.

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