Saturday, June 28, 2008

HM Rides The Short Bus

Yes! I'm happy to report that I rode the short bus today. I'm even happier to report that I survived. I need to print some T-shirts for that: I Rode the Short Bus and I Survived! I know I could sell 23 of them. The short bus, you see, was today's Old People Gambling Bus to the casino. We had a new driver again. I don't think we're that bad. I don't know why they have to keep replacing the driver. It's not like we mutiny, or dance topless in the aisle, or start a fire in the trash can in the back. Oops! That trash can stunt was my HH, when he went to Vo-Tech in high school, and there was no heat on the bus. That scathingly brilliant idea earned him 3 days suspension. But we're not talking about HH--we're talking about ME, and how I survived the express horizontal escalator to H*ll.

When I got on with three other people at my stop, I saw that the short bus was crowded as all get-out. And I wished some of those folks would get out, but NO, they insisted on riding the whole way to the casino. Go figure. I knew I was in for a bad trip when I counted 23 people on that 30-passenger bus, with one stop left to make, and I WAS NOT THE YOUNGEST! How dare the young people ride our bus! One was two years younger than me, and another had the gall to be born FIVE years before me. Ungrateful whippersnappers! Usually, we pick up 8 or 9 people from the northern stops. But...the route was changed after June 16, and they combined two stops, and made the folks drive out to the interstate. So thank the Gummi Mary, we only picked up one lady at the last stop. We were over 10 minutes late already.

We had 2 drivers this time. A black one and a white one. Ebony and ivory. Salt and pepper. Cookie and cream. Night and day. To be perfectly honest, only ONE of them drove. The white guy rode shotgun, and hopped out with the step-stool. He also held reign over the sign-in clipboard, which was a scary spectre, what with him swaying down the aisle and harping that we stole his pen. Criminy, they're ten-for-a-dollar at The Devil's Playground. At first, the ladies behind me were wishing this dude would drive. That's before they saw him walk. We were so crowded that there were four ladies on the last seat behind me. The conversation went a little like this...

Why are there two drivers?
Is that one new?
Maybe he is being trained and he's just riding along.
Well, I wish HE would drive. This swaying is making me seasick.
She just said, "At least he hasn't run off on those noisy bumpy things."
Stop saying that! It's a jinx. Now he'll do it again.
What? Oh, here it is.
Your pen? I gave it to you when you came to get the clipboard.
There. It fell off. Pass this up.
Yeah, we don't want him walking back here again.
I'm glad he's not driving. He can't even walk straight.
He walks like he's drunk.
Do you think it's because we're moving?
Well, we are whipping back and forth like a carnival ride.

To make matters worse, we encountered road construction. I blame the traffic jam on MODoT. They put up signs (heh, heh, first I wrote 'sighs') on each side of the highway that only said, "Road work ahead." Then, at the actual work site, after traffic crawled along for ten minutes, another sign said, "Right lane closed." Duh. Maybe the first sign should have told them 'abandon hope, all ye who enter the right lane'. That might have kept people from packing that right lane and having to wedge their way in front of us. Oh, and I think some people went up the exit ramp and came right back down the entrance ramp to merge in and skip ahead of about 50 cars. Anyhoo, this little roadblock cost us 20 minutes. This is where it gets dicier. That driver put the pedal to the metal. I was afraid to look out. Our heads were whipping side-to-side like bows on a kite tail. We were supposed to arrive at Harrah's at 10:15. We got there at 10:30. I have no idea how we made up that extra 15 minutes of the 30 we were running late. Of course, it didn't help us, because neither Ebony nor Ivory had our free money vouchers. We had to mill about on the sidewalk until one of the geniuses decided we could wait inside the air-conditioned casino. Then Ebony brought the lady to us, and instead of passing out the vouchers, she made us stand in line while she scanned them one at a time for us to step up individually and scan our player cards. There went the 15 minutes we had saved.

The gambling itself was a bit anticlimactic compared to the ride there AND BACK. Oh, yes. There's more. But let's get my gambling out of the way first. I always lose a bit, or break even. Today, I am the proud winner of $45! Yeah, I know. Now I can pay for that new LSUV I just bought. I was really hyped about my winnings, until I remembered that I had two free $15 vouchers, plus the $5 voucher from the bus, and that I spent $9 on lunch. Which leaves me with a grand total of ONE DOLLAR in winnings. Que sera, sera. It is what it is.

I went in the other side of Harrah's today. The part that is not the Mardi Gras casino. It might be the Island, but I forget. It is the dirtier, more run-down side. Instead of playing one game, I flitted from slot to slot. I was rewarded with a 3X/3X/7, which garnered me about $60. Don't you be proud of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. While she didn't play that away, she DID continue to play, which frittered her bankroll to $67 in the hole by lunch time. That's another bone I have to pick. Those grill workers are slower than molasses in January. But at least they spoke English in this one, not like the one out on the main walkway area. Oh, and then I stood in line 10 minutes at a freakin' cashier, just to get my free $5. I had precious little time left to lose the rest of my money. I was planning to cash out and go to the bathroom to count my money at 2:20. At 2:10, I was down over $100. Pretty far over, methinks, but I hadn't counted in a bit. I went to a progressive Red, White, and Blue quarter machine. I had a $6.50 ticket I had cashed out. I put it in, and pushed max coins twice. I noticed that my machine had no sound, no ding-dingety. I pushed max coins again, and hit 4X/double bar/4X. Whoop-ti-doo! That counter thingy went up to 1020 credits! I cashed out $255 on that silent machine. While I was glad to reduce my debt and enter the win column, I couldn't help but feel a bit cheated that my one-armed bandit was mute. Nobody turned to stare at me while my credit counter was going wild. But I'll take it.

I will have to save the return trip until tomorrow.



DeadpanAnn said...

There must be something in the stars this week causing buses to sway back and forth. I have a story about one myself, which will be posted tomorrow. We were also nearly beheaded several times on the Golden Gate Near Death Experience.

Congrats on your big casino win!

Hillbilly Mom said...

Miss Ann,
Today I went to straighten my gambling money, because I'm one of those anal people who MUST have her money all facing the same way, and arranged by denomination. In the casino, I just shove it in my pocket, so as not to advertise the fact that I have money, by cracky! So I count it in a bathroom stall, which is a dangerous endeavor, what with a open water that flushes by itself. I don't always get it in order until I get home.

One of my stacks of 5 twenties, (my preferred way of carrying my gambling money, because I can pull one out of my pocket and still know how much I have left)HAD SIX BILLS IN IT! Yep! I was not a $45 winner--I was a $65 winner!!! Or a $21 winner, depending on how you slice it.