Status Quo

Dearest Modellian,

I didn’t win the inn. Did I tell you that I entered that contest a while back to win a hotel in Maine? Was it your idea that I do it? Well, I didn’t win. I don’t know who the winner is yet because they’re keeping it all under wraps until he or she officially accepts it, but I know that I was not the one that got the magical mystery call a few weeks back.

I have to say that I’m a little bummed out. While my chances of winning were greater than getting struck my lightening or having an air conditioner fall on me while walking down the street, rendering me unconscious (my biggest New York City fear), I rationally knew that I didn’t have a shot. Secretly, however, I really thought that it could be mine. And on Decision Day, I checked my phone compulsively thinking that Janice from Maine could be calling to tell me that I just won a golden ticket and a shit ton of work for the rest of my life.

The fact that I entered this contest was way out of the ordinary anyway. I am freshly back from a trip to Vegas and decidedly not a gambler– it turns out that I am too cheap to part with any of my money if it’s not a guarantee that I’m going to get anything out of it. This basically means that I am never going to be rich ever. I think I once read on a bumper sticker somewhere that you have to play big to win big. To that, I say: Meh. I will take my measly earnings and stuff it under my mattress while the rest of you go out to the OTB and cross your fingers.

I don’t really get the thrill of gambling and am terrified at parting with $5 if I don’t have to, let alone the thousands of dollars that the high rollers in the Baccarat room laid down. I also love sunshine, am creepily punctual, and hate cigarette smoke being blown in my face [except when I am in Europe (I am aware that this is one of the douchiest statements I have ever made)], so casinos in general just seem like the worst place ever.

Have I ever told you about the last time that I was in Vegas? I was the ripe age of 23 (someone once pointed out to me that all my stories start off with, “I was 23…”) and in Vegas with my best friend at the time. She and I waitressed together at a restaurant and also happened to live around the corner from each other, so even though we hadn’t known each other for that long, we were attached at the hip for that greatest and most eventful year of my life.

Along with some of our other friends, she and I had gone to Atlantic City for her birthday a few months before, and it was a great time. It was a weeknight in late March when the casinos were empty and the boardwalk even emptier. We had “dinner” at Hooters, and even though at that naive stage I knew that I wasn’t a gambling lady, and even though I lost my cell phone after leaving it in a slot machine, I was happy to be there with my very best friends getting all the free drinks my young body could handle. And at 23, that was a lot.

When the opportunity presented itself a few months later to go to Vegas with this friend, I jumped at the opportunity. I was newly unemployed, I was newly single, I was with my best friend—what could go wrong? No, really: What could go wrong?

What could go wrong is that your best friend could turn out to be a crazy alcoholic with a mean gambling addiction who seriously won’t let you sleep until she has smoked all of the cigarettes, played all of the slots, and drank all of the drinks. Have you ever seen that How I Met Your Mother episode (Season 2, Episode 7) about Crazy Eyes? Literally, this girl did not blink for five days straight. While my eyes were heavy with exhaustion and bloodshot from overindulgence, Crazy Eyes powered through in the most manic of fashions.

On our final night, when I finally put my foot down and told her that it was 5am and time for me to head back to the hotel (in preparation for our 11am flight), she lost her shit on the casino floor and screamed at me for ruining her fun and her vacation and her life and America. Well, this is an exaggeration of sorts. I basically just left her on the casino floor and didn’t see her until the airport where she proceeded to drink and gamble and not understand why I was doing neither. I was doing neither because Miller Lite was $8 a can and because I wanted to walk around Hudson News and read US Weekly in peace.

She also drank on the flight home, and while I have been known to hoard wine on many transcontinental journeys, I have always judged people who drink on domestic flights in coach. Like, know your roll. Only the rich people in first class are allowed to booze at 30 thousand feet. Because they earned it.

Needless to say, my relationship with Crazy Eyes was forever tarnished. She and I soon lost touch, despite her still living a few blocks away. The demise of our friendship didn’t have everything to do with our Vegas trip, but it was the tipping point. After our return home, there were also a series of unfortunate events which included her becoming roommates with my nemesis, throwing herself at my best guy friend, borrowing my television and never giving it back, and, um, using and subsequently breaking my vibrator. (How do you feel about that last nugget of information I threw at you? That would be a great topic for 52— I hope it’s in the hat!)

This time around in Vegas was much more subdued. I know myself now and know that I am not much of gambler. So I sat in the pool and read Rob Lowe and roamed around the hotel and went to bed early. I did throw some money in the Sex and the City slot machine (I can feel you judging me) one night— just to say that I did— and, much to my surprise, I actually won. Yet it didn’t make me want to take my winnings and keep going. Instead, I cashed in my ticket and got the hell out of dodge.

And while my dreams of wearing cable knit sweaters and Bean boots remain unfulfilled, I think that that’s okay. Because the only thing worse than being a weird spinster crazy cat lady in Brooklyn is being a weird spinster crazy cat lady in Maine.

How are things with you? Written any new novels lately? Forgotten about me/us/and everything that we stand for? I hope not.

Eloise at The Plaza

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