Friday – Kicked the weekend plan off perfectly, got up early enough to go to the gym, write a blog post and eat a burrito before heading to the ACES train and the delights of Atlantic City. The broad plan was to head down to AC with SO on Friday, enjoy an hour or two at the outdoor pool at the Water Club on Friday, and then sneak a couple of SO’s friends into the pool on Saturday before we changed hotels (one night at Borgata WC, then to Harrah’s where the gambling is better and the crowd is, on average, 50-60 years older). We’d ride back Sunday with SO’s friends – foolproof. But after that perfect start, the logistics predictably devolved into a bit of a shitshow.
We’ve taken the ACES train a few times, and there’s never been more than eight other people on the thing (albeit always on the midnight train that gets in at 2:30). So rather than book our tickets in advance, we decided to just pick them up right before, just in case plans changed and all – keep it flexible. We rolled into Penn Station with plenty of time to spare, sidled up to the ticket machine with smug confidence and then got a swift, electronic groin kick: Sold Out. Next train: 8:15 PM and the tickets were $70 each rather than $30. What to do? Drag our bags twenty blocks up to the Port Authority and seek out that lowest form of public transportation, the AC bus? If the train was sold out, it stood to reason that the buses might also be full, and waiting around the PA for a couple of hours is undesirable unless you are hoping to barter sex for drugs or money.
So we did the responsible thing: we called a black car and paid $350 to be driven directly to the hotel. We would most likely get there at about the same time as the train, and could still salvage a little pool time. The regrettable aspect of this decision was that I’d been drinking for the previous six nights in a row, so I wasn’t in any hurry to get an early start to the weekend. So we drank Poland Springs (water – not Yellow Tail cleverly concealed in a PS’ bottle) and comfortably read important internet articles on our cell phones during the drive. Hit some pretty major traffic, and the time of arrival on the GPS kept drifting the wrong direction: 5:45, 5:47, 5:53…finally setting out at 6:39 PM….not good, as the Borgata pools close at 7:00 to encourage less maxing/relaxing and more gaming/losing. By the time we checked in and got back downstairs, it was five til seven. Pool not happening. One thing was happening though: Hibachi-San!!!! (I’m pretty sure that casinos love me/us given that even having free access to their nicest restaurants, we get most excited about food court offerings – particularly Hibachi-San at Borgata and Rubio’s at Monte Carlo.)
I decided to play some dice at Borgata against my better judgment, and my judgment was proven correct once again. Lost $600 in an hour or so. The satisfying lump of chicken teriyaki in my gut could not overcome my continued disappointment in the gaming action at Borgata. So we decided to take a cab to Harrah’s for some hopefully-friendlier craps action. We ended up staying there from from 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM, and walked out up over $3k for the trip to Harrah’s – worth the price of two taxis. (Note: At a cab line in Atlantic City at 4:00 AM, you are going to see some pretty sad/hilarious/scandalous stuff. Have seen a really hammered dude going home with a girl who is actually a guy and innumerable prostitutes who are always yelling at each other like they’re on a Real Housewives franchise. This time was no exception as some jumbo ladies of the evening (who likely exceeded even Flint’s modest weight limitations by a good 85 lbs) modeled outwear that contained less material than an average washcloth. Not good times.)
Also of note: SO has lately been a conversation magnet for older gents, and Friday was no exception. The gentleman in question, Big Walt from Delaware, was legitimately blind, 72 years old and a corn-fed 274 lbs. He was a very nice guy, but extremely literal – let’s just say our conversational styles led to a lot of miscommunication. He has macular degeneration, so could not even see the dice when they were right in front of him, had to feel around the felt for them, but not in a sad way. He was still at the tables when we left at 4:00 AM. I presumed he would sleep about 16 hours when he finally got to bed.
Saturday – Given the fact that it was Memorial Day weekend, Borgata resorted to using Blackwater operatives to make sure nobody was sneaking into the pools without actually having a Saturday reservation. Not only were we not sneaking our guests in, we weren’t gonna get in, either. The fuckers wouldn’t even give us a late checkout. So our intended purpose for even going to Borgata in the first place, the outdoor pool, was utilized a robust zero percent. And we had to check out at 11:00 AM. I found solace in a little lot more Hibachi-San!, and then we headed over to Harrah’s.
Harrah’s was a much better scene, we hit VIP registration, where they greet you with an ice cream cone. Given that I was sweating teriyaki sauce, I politely declined. Given how early it was, we had to wait for a room (with two queen-sized beds) to be cleaned before we could actually move in. It was gonna be a couple hours – no biggie, we’ll wait by the pool. Except we failed to put on our swimsuits before giving the porters our bags. Doesn’t really matter – Harrah’s pool is indoors and climate-controlled. Lots of people hang out there in non-sanctioned swimwear. Two hours later I went back and got our key and lugged our shit up to the room.
A room which had one bed. As a rapier-witted internet columnist, I’d been making my fair share of “there’s gonna be a foursome” jokes, but in reality the only menage I’m capable of handling is the fine wine made by the folks at Folie A Deux winery. So one bed was gonna be a problem – especially since there was the slight chance that some of my buddies were gonna make cameo appearances and might need a couch area to crash on. My casino host took care of it, but it was gonna be another two hour wait.
I’m realizing this has been a laborious description of how the logistics soured – I’m like the Don DeLillo of casino arrival. Let me speed this process up by cliff-noting some stuff:
1. SO’s friends don’t gamble
2. One of SO’s friends is enduring a personal crisis
3. It looked like none of my friends were gonna make it
4. Flight, or offering them wine, are my only responses to crying chicks
5. Said flight led me to the dice tables
6. The dice tables felt pretty comfortable in raping me
7. We had a delicious dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s
8. McCormick & Schmick’s should label their petite filet “the filet mcnugget”
9. SO’s friends bailed on gambling after dinner
10. One of my friends, Money Mike (cousing of XmasHO), actually did show
11. The girls were somehow up ordering (non-pronographic) movies on PPV while SO was supposed to be getting me money from the safe
12. I threw a tantrum for this delay
13. I got killed following the tantrum
Big Walt finally found us after walking around trying to hear us for some time (actual hours of sleep: three) and started offering me cool-older-guy-on-The–Biggest–Loser wisdom when he heard me giving SO a hard time about not bringing me my wallet fast enough. I was throwing F-bombs around and Big W was trying to save our relationship – which I didn’t even know was in peril. The day ended up a bomb, but at least Money Mike and SO ended up okay. Leave it to the Chillster to take one for the team. Absolutely no foursome took place.
Of note: Kim Kardashian was at Harrah’s on Saturday “hosting” the nightclub party. This means that a bunch of jerseyites paid $40 to get into the pool club where she would be shuttled to a stage for 30 seconds then leave. The club let out at 4:00 AM, which is when we headed back to our room. It looked like some mythical creature that fed only on Jersey Shore wannabes had just thrown up all over the place. Supposedly they had to skim an orange slick off the pool before they could reopen the next day. The ratio of tattoos/piercings:humans was probably 7:1.
Sunday – We were supposed to leave on Sunday. The girls wanted to hit the pool again for a bit before heading back. Turns out Sunday was the first time that Harrah’s was having an afternoon pool party. Who was “hosting”? None other than acclaimed actor (including a role in undeserving best picture winner Crash) and rapper Ludacris! We got to the pool at 1:00 PM, the pool party started at 4:00 PM and the girls inexplicably wanted to stay for it. I groaned silently. This was probably the first time I was the “let’s get the fuck out of here” proponent when in a casino, but I didn’t want to spoil anybody’s good time. I’d been drinking for eight straight days, had lost a small amount gambling (after having been up a small amount) and was very wary of looming calf cramps. Then the designated driver started drinking, and I realized the complexion of the trip had changed once again (we had the room for the night anyway, so no issues staying an extra night).
1. We may, or may not, have been sitting right next to Zach Galifianakis at the pool. Will never know for sure.
2. Would never recommend getting a tattoo of your child, mom, or girlfriend – will not turn out well
3. Among other reasons for hating Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl: handing out free Killers beach balls that guidos can splash around with as you try to enjoy your fucking Long Island Iced tea
4. Ludacris was actually onstage for a shorter time than Kim Kardashian; he had a concert in Arkansas later that night! Why, oh why, wasn’t rapper a legitimate career option when I was growing up?
5. Being a hype man is a better job than even being a guest rapper
6. Let’s make some noiiiiiiiisssssseeeeeee! Ludacris is in the house!!
7. (Ludacris is actually not in the house anymore)
8. The designated driver is hammered.
9. Plan officially changes to getting up early Monday and driving back.
10. It’s back on.
More gaming, etc, blah, blah, blah. (This post might well become the embodiment of “too long, didn’t read”) We were all pretty drunk following the pool party (we were there for six! freakin hours) so I went up first to get ready, along with one of SO’s friends who was charged with ordering them some sobering food. And, for the first time in my long life, I got stuck on an elevator. Lessons learned: when stuck, don’t hit the alarm button, that apparently doesn’t do shit. Find the phone – there’s always a phone – and someone from Engineering will answer. Twenty minutes later, you’ll have to crawl through the top of the ‘vator and then shimmy up a cable. I now have action hero cred. (Either that, or we just somehow ended up on the 29th floor and changed elevators). The other guy on the elevator with us had the fullest glass of wine I’ve ever seen with him, it was a marvel. I’ll always wonder who poured that, and whether that guy at the pool was Zach G.
So I showered and SO and her friend showed up and were about to get ready themselves; I was heading down to the casino. SO was telling me I needed to eat and generally implying that I’m too drunk, etc and said that if I passed the room service cart I should come back and have a chicken finger. I fucking love chicken fingers, so that sounded good, but unlikely. I left and then did run smack into the room service lady, who was pushing a huge bowl of pretzels and fruit down the hall (one of SO’s friends is a health freak). I confirmed it was for our room and then headed back to grab a couple chicken fingers. Given that I had just left 20 seconds earlier, I felt safe opening the door so that the room service lady wouldn’t think I was some kind of loser who can’t open a fucking door.
A lot had transpired when I opened the door: one of SO’s friends was lathering up in the glass shower, with the bathroom door inexplicably wide open; her other friend had pulled down her swimsuit top in an apparent effort to compare their breast sizes. It was like a supersized Tony-sees-Angela-in-the-shower reaction, complete with screaming and awkward cover up maneuvering – even though I shut the door immediately. Note: “nice nipples,” “impressive shaving regimen” and other similar comments are always funny following a situation like that, even though – like Big Walt – I couldn’t really make out any discrete shapes in that split second.
The rest of the night went well, made a little dough – ended up slightly down but satisfied my gaming bloodlust for a while. The trip back took no time (even though we passed a wreck with a flipped SUV) and the sleep that followed was Van Winklesque. Now back to the fucking grind.
Later (and sorry for the absurd length, I’m dreading going back through and rereading this shit for errors/stupidity/superflousness),