People Come Here On Vacation? (part three)

A week prior to our trip, Julius was cutting and dying our friends hair, a cute couple.  They’re both teachers, he’s a mathematician…this is where the secret of Roulette comes in.

“It’s the law of averages, ya see?”  he says, drawing on a piece of paper.  I quickly remember the very experiment we did in school on this, probably ten years ago…wait…no, it’d be more than ten years…anyway, I digress.  The experiment, which I’m sure most of us did, involved spinning a coin and keeping tally of the amount of times that it landed on heads or tails.  The more often you spun the coin the flatter the scale becomes eventually becoming 50/50 or extremely close to it.  So no matter what, because there are only two options, one of the two options MUST come up 50% of the time….and don’t come after me telling me “well what if I stick something on one side” that’s cheating and the IRS is on their way to your house as we speak!

“But the wheel has more than two numbers.”  I clearly don’t know anything about gambling, since I do it so rarely.

“Yes, but there are only two colors on the wheel.”

“Oh, I see now.”

“Sometimes you’ll have a wheel with double zero and zero as green, but that only throws off the formula slightly.  So what you do is place a bet on red or black, not both, and if you win then you bank what you won and place the bet again on red or black.  If you lose,” he said this slowly, for emphasis, “double your previous bet.  This is where it gets difficult, cause your mind doesn’t want you to do this.  You keep doubling what you’ve bet, 2 to 4, 4 to 8, 8 to 16 and so on, until you win again.  This way you get all of your money back plus your original bet had you won.  It gets high real fast and don’t get greedy.  You can really make money on this.”

Flash forward to Paris, Las Vegas.  Jule and I are sitting at Rapid Roulette.  I’m cheap, I keep my starting bet to the minimum, $1.50.  Sure it’ll take me a lot longer to get up high, but it’ll also take me longer to lose anything, thus giving me extra room for doubling should I hit a losing streak.

We play for an hour, I’m up.  Julius is having a hard time getting over the cognitive dissonance occurring due to the requirement that he double his money….that’s basically not feeling right because you know you should do one thing but your mind doesn’t want you to- that’s a pretty lame explanation but I’m sure you get it.

I’m getting pissed, I’m almost outta my 20 bux.  Then I remember something my sister said to me on the phone;

“I have a feeling about the number 33.”

“That’s it?”

“Yeah, that’s it.”

I place my last five dollars on red 33 and turn to Julius as the wheel spins.

“Well this is pretty boring, how do people get addicted to this.  It’s like getting addicted to watching the dust bunnies form.”

“RED THIRTY-THREE!” Shouts the dealer.  Wait, what?  Red, what? I smack Julius on the arm.

“I WON!”

“You won?”

“I FRIGGEN WON ON MY LAST FIVE DOLLARS!”  I immediately cash out, grateful for the money. “Well I’m done.”

“You’re done?”  What is it with Julius just repeating back what I said in question form all the time?

“Well I’m not about to lose what I just got.  You keep goin, I’ll just sit here and drink.”

I get another beer, this time the cocktail waitress is one that looks about 12 months pregnant.  Something about a pregnant cocktail waitress just doesn’t seem right to me, but at least she’s more covered up than the rest of ’em.  I sit, and watch…boy is Roulette not a spectators sport. Bored, bored, bored.  At least the music’s good…I recognize the song, so I start singing along…I haven’t got anything better to do.

“So take a letter, Maria.  Address it to my wife, lala lala la la, gonna start a new life.  So take a letter Maria.”  Yes, ok, so I’m buzzed, sue me.

Julius is down, way down.

“What should I do?”

I snap to attention, I’m stupidly bouncing along to a song with yet another drink.

“What do you mean?”  I thought the formula was pretty straightforward.

“Well I’m down over 100, should I double?”

“Well what’s the formula?”

“To double when you’re down.”

“So whats the problem, hun?”  I laugh.

He’s uncomfortable so he starts betting low again, giving up any hope of recovering the money he’s just lost. Oh, well, it’s his money.  I distract myself with the music.

“And I said, hey, ey, ey, ey, hey, ey, ey.  I said hey!  What’s goin’ on!”  I wonder whatever happened to that band.  It’s been 3 hours, I’m bored, irate from being bored and feel like I’m wasting my time sitting in here.  Julius is down again, way down.

“What do I do?”

I’m not a fan of stupid questions, especially when someone has given you a formula that statistically works.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I’m way down.”

I roll my eyes.

“Julius!  The formula works!  JUST USE IT!”  Realizing I just became a raging bitch, I apologize, mention that I’m starving and we cash out and go for dinner.

We go back to the room and relax for a bit afterwords and turn on CNN.

“CERTAIN DEATH!  THAT’S WHAT THE PEOPLE OF HOUSTON ARE FACING.”

“Oh for crying out loud, these sensationalistic jerks really should be shot.”  I say.

“I don’t get why they’re freaking out, it’s a category 2.  We’ve had category 4’s before and been ok.”

They’re predicting the storm is going to made landfall in less than 12 hours, we discuss how we think anyone who stays on Galveston Island is an idiot, especially since the Galveston and Houston governments arranged for evacuation help.  We don’t for an instance think that we won’t be home Sunday night, the news has a habit of becoming the news rather than reporting it.

We go out and explore a few more casinos, I frankly am bored by them all.  Each one has the same games, the same machines and frankly the same knocked off cheap looks of every other hotel.  There’s really nothing that either of us finds too fantastic about Vegas.  We go to bed, not realizing that Vegas is about to get 1000% worse by tomorrow morning.

Saturday morning we wake up to the news reporting absolute devastation in Houston, phone calls from friends asking if we’re ok, and that’s if they can get through.

“What the hell happened!”  I shout.

“Shit, I wonder if the airports are shut down.”

I open up my laptop, ready to pop online and check out what Continental has to say…this message pops up.

“Welcome To The Planet Hollywood WiFi System.  By Clicking OK You Agree To A $45.00 Charge To Your Room For The Use Of The Internet.  This Charge Will Renew Every 24 Hours.”

“ARE YOU FRIGGEN KIDDING ME!”  I scream at the computer.

“What?”  Julius asks, his eyes glued to the television.

“They want 45 bucks to use the internet….DAILY!”

“Welcome to Vegas, hun.”

“Yeah, welcome to Vegas, bend over and take it.”  I am pissed off to no end. “Can you call your brother and see what’s going on?”  I ask Jule, since his brother is a former Continental team member. I pull out my SmartPhone and start surfing online to see if I can get any information.  I see an email in my inbox.

“Your flight has been rescheduled for Thursday, thank you.”

“Lovely.”

“What?”

“Continental rescheduled us for Thursday automatically.”

“Can you call and try to get it moved up?”

I call and get an automated message that says they won’t be taking my call, click.

“Oh my GOD! Continental, you are about to lose my business for good here!”

Julius is on the phone talking to his brother.  Seems like the storm was only a Category 2, but none of us paid attention to the fact that it was MASSIVE.  Power is out all over, both airports are shut down, our downtown suffered sever damage as well….our downtown happens to be where Continental operations is.  There are lines for gas, water and 10 hour traffic to Austin, the nearest city – our state capital.  10 hours for what is normally a 3 hours drive.  People are running out of gas on the highways, there’s no food available.  What the hell just happened?  We went from the 4th largest city in the nation to a 3rd world nation over night?

“Well, it’s better we’re here, there’s nothing to go home to yet.”

“We gotta find a hotel to stay in for nearly a week.  Maybe they’ll help us out because of the storm.”  I realize how ridiculous I sound just as I spit out the words.

“Well I can always ASK!”

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