I've come to the end of a long week. I don't know why, but for the last three nights I haven't been able to get to sleep until sometime after three am. I'd leave school around 5:00 pm, yawning and barely able to keep my eyes open for the hour-long commute of less than 20 miles, get home and check email and such, surf the web for a bit, and force myself to stay busy and awake until about 10 o'clock. I'd hit the bed (ok, actually foam pad on the floor...) and I'd stare at the ceiling for a few hours, unable to drift away.
Maybe it's too quiet in my neighborhood. Although I'm less than ten miles from the Strip, late at night it feels like a world away. I don't hear a sound. In Arizona, my house was right under the approach flight path for Sky Harbor airport. In Nashville, my house was about 75 yards from Ellington Parkway and it's four-lanes of trafficky goodness, along with a set of railroad tracks that never seemed to get any use until around 5:00 am. But I had no problem sleeping then.
It's not like I've got a guilty conscience or have the weight of the world on my shoulders. Life is pretty good and I'm making progress in the right direction--I just can't sleep. Of course, dealer's school has become almost all-consuming as far as brain power is concerned, so in moments of daydreaming or just trying to relax, I find that I'm forcing myself to try and think of something besides stuff like the payoff on a nine-dollar High-Low or a $25 horn bet when the Aces hit. (Ok, it's $130 and $168 if you must know).
So I lie there in bed trying to clear my mind of numbers, checques, odds, and such when just a few miles away there are hundreds of different casino stories unfolding simultaneously. People winning big--clapping, cheering, high-fiving--while a few feet away somebody hits rock bottom again and wanders out into the neon glow swearing to themself that this time will be the last time. Drunks try to regain their bearings, others collapse at the first available slot machine to rest their aching feet, not having walked as much in the past year as they had this day. Propositions of all kinds are being made--in the sports books, at the craps tables, and of course at the lounges and bars, where the professionals circle like sharks outside the reef, waiting to separate a man from his newly-acquired windfall.
I love Vegas, I just hope I don't become bitter and jaded from living and working in Sin City. Other dealers I've spoken to have told me that the thing that helps them the most is to just ignore most of what you see and hear. I don't know if that's helpful advice, as most of what I see and hear in a casino is extremely fascinating from my point of view.
The one thing I've noticed about life in Vegas is that this place attracts SO much more human debris than any other city I've ever visited--People on the fringe, dregs of society, or as polite folks of a higher station might say, "Salt of the earth types". I know I'll have to work on my tolerance, as nothing gets on my nerves or tries my patience like people who don't have their shit together (Of course, any freshmen psych major will tell you that's just a reflection of my own inadequacies, and of course I'll agree. I just prefer to be around people better than me--I'm not above riding a coattail or two...)
So my first Zen lesson is dealing with a couple of those types of unfortunates who have found their way into my daily dealing classes. You know the type--down on their luck, but are experts at talking the talk. They know all the lingo, but don't have a damn clue about how to play the game, much less deal it. So it gets tiring after a few hours.
One fellow in particular stands out. He showed up this week out of the blue, apparently after a month-long absence, and announces that he's ready to get a dice-dealing job immediately. We're not five minutes into a mock game when he's trying to tell anyone who will listen that Laying the 4 and 10 is one of the worst bets on the table (when actually, it's a pretty good bet) and other such nonsense. I just stared right through him and hit my mental 'Ignore' button when it was obvious that he was trying to gain my approval. Maybe I'm just a bad person, but all I could think of at the time was What's with all the scabs on your eyebrows, dude?
Anyhow, other than a few assorted freaks, school has been an excellent experience. Overall, the dice gang are good people and I enjoy spending my days with them. Of course they all smoke like recovering alcoholics waiting for an IRS audit to begin, so I'm thinking of going long on Phillip Morris, excuse me--Altria--again, but like I said, good people. There's also a surprising amount of talent taking classes--mostly the young Asian gals learning to deal blackjack. If one was prone to Yellow Fever, one could really enjoy the classroom experience. That's not for me, though. I'm looking for an income, and don't need another expense. But it sure helps the day go by faster.