When in Rome

Another phrase I don’t really “get.” But it seems to be the common wisdom, so i took it to heart and flushed $7 down the toilet last night.

I couldn’t have had a more dichotomous day yesterday — I spent the daylight hours among glorious red rocks and rolling hills, taking about, mmmm, a thousand pictures. I climbed up dusty paths for a better shot of the rocks against a stunningly blue sky.

And then, I came back to the hotel and walked in my dusty boots through the casino. This fish survived to later meet up with a colleague who is very enthusiastic about the slots. So I decided to join in the “fun” (that’s just not the first word that springs to mind when I look out at the face of people sitting at the slot machines, but that’s what they claim.)

I asked her for the cheapest games I could play, and she told me the ins and outs of the penny slots. I decided to live it up and put five dollars in and play the 30 cent bets. I know, I know — “Slow down, girl!”

So, for the first few minutes it was fun because we laughed at my losing. Then I won a few cents back. And so it went, back and forth. At my highest I had about $15, which of course I should have cashed out, but with the small amount I had out in, it was really more about entertainment then making money, so I kept going. Eventually I had 10 cents left on the machine, which wasn’t enough to play again. So two times I put a dollar bill in to play some more, each time losing, and each time with me thinking it would get to zero.

Finally, after I was down to 20 cents, I printed out my ticket. I should have taken it up to the cashier, but I figured I would keep it as a souvenir but then I saw the penny machines and figured I get the full “entertainment” out of my money, and about 10 minutes later, it was all gone.

It was fun because it was just a little bit of money, and we were laughing and joking as we played. But for me it was the fun of making the best of a situation. I mean here I am, I am going to experience it.

I would very much like to go do something else today — and luckily, my conference begins today — yippee!



  1. Ah, the perils of gambling…. For about a year when I was in my mid-20s, I hung out with a bunch of slightly older people who were into playing cards for money. They played a game called Guts which was kind of like poker but instead of clearing the pot every time someone won, the pot continued to build… I won’t bother going into all the details. Suffice it to say I got hooked on the adrenalin and used to regularly lose about $50 a week at those games! I figured it was worth it for the entertainment. But I’ve never let myself get involved in “real” gambling at a casino – I know my weaknesses! Glad you only lost $7 and had a good time!

  2. Hi Mimi! I can understand looking at the gambling cost as entertainment — comparing it to a night out on the town for dinner, movies, etc. But honestly, the faces of 99% of the people I saw sitting at the slots machines didn’t not scream “This is fun!” but rather, they usually seemed in a daze: push button, stare at screen. Repeat.

    It’s just not my atmosphere, but I am completely grateful that work trips allow me to experience things and places that I would not normally choose on my own!

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