On Saturday, my Sweet Baboo (otherwise known as persona non grata) offered to take me to the casino. The fact that we were encased in ice from the previous day's storm did not deter me. Off we went. I enjoyed a delicious burger for lunch, and only lost $10 for the whole day. Oh, I had a big win of $200 on one play, but of course I gambled it right back before we left. That's why it's called gambling, not winning.
Here's the thing. You'd think that in a casino, people would mind their own beeswax. I have my personal gaming system, and you'd think they would have theirs. Except Farmer H, of course. Well... even HE has a system: keep playing until I lose everything HM gives me. Anyhoo, I keep a count in my head, and I don't want people randomly chatting with me or getting in my space. I would never go up to somebody and strike up a conversation if they were playing. At the free soda fountain it doesn't matter. But not during gaming.
Farmer H and I have these two machines that we like. Identical. Side by side. I don't even mind the togetherness with him here, because at least if he wins big on the money I fed one of those machines before switching, at least it's still in the family. I had been playing one of them before lunch, and after lunch, we came back and he took over that one. I had been staying pretty much even on my money. No big wins.
Just as we were sitting down and putting our money in, a dude came up behind us. He was an older man, tall and fit, with a horseshoe of close-cropped gray hair around his bald bald head. He wore light blue faded jeans, some kind of white cross-trainer shoes, and a gray hoodie. Hood down on his shoulders, of course. Or it might have been creepy!
Hoodie walked up behind us and stopped. He watched. It's not like he was looking at machines around us to see what was open. Or looking for somebody he was there with. He watched US. I thought maybe he was waiting to see if we were both going to play. Like maybe he wanted one of those machines. In which case I say (in my head, because I am NOT confrontational like SOME PEOPLE), "Too bad, so sad!" I handed Farmer H my $20 bill that I was about to put in. "Here. Hold this for me while I fix my chair." You have to wrestle them, you know. They have really heavy bases.
I sat down and took my $20 back and fed it to the machine. I could still feel Hoodie behind me. Not physically. That would have been pervy. I could tell he was standing there. Still. Watching. I even looked over my shoulder at him, like, "WTF, Dude?" But in a nonconfrontational manner, of course. Just gave him the stinkeye. And still, he stayed.
Even when I said pointedly to Farmer H, in a stage whisper that could have been heard to the third row, "Don't you just hate it when people stand and watch you?" That Hoodie dude stayed there. I couldn't concentrate. I was going through the motions. It's not like you have any control on the slots anyway. Except WHEN you actually push the button or pull the crank. I just couldn't get in my groove. I was discombobulated by Hoodie and his goonin' eyes. (Don't know if that's what you call it where you live, but that's what the kids at old-style Newmentia, when it was located at Basementia in my early days, used to call 'staring.' Goonin'. My best ol' ex-teaching buddy can vouch for that.)
After about five minutes, Hoodie walked a bit to my left. Spent another couple of minutes standing. Watching. THEN he moved on to a row of slots at the 10 o'clock position to me. Where he sat down on a stool, having turned it away from the slot machine, putting his back to it, where he continued to watch us!
I started to wonder, perhaps, if this was somebody who worked for the casino. It couldn't be just a random gambler passing by, could it? Not in HM's mind it couldn't! Maybe he was a cooler. You know what a cooler is, don't you. In casino lingo? Haven't you ever seen that movie, The Cooler? With William H. Macy and Maria Bello and Alec Baldwin? There's no sadder sack than William H. Macy. Even his cat leaves him. And cats don't even give a sh!t. William H. Macy is this really unlucky guy, who is employed by an old-style casino, just for that very reason. Every time he gets near somebody, they start to lose.
I don't know if real casinos use coolers. And this guy wasn't making me lose. I hadn't hit my big jackpot yet. But when I DID hit it, Hoodie had moved on.
But what a freakin' weirdo!