During the summer we come back up to the Northwest suburbs of Chicago to stay for a few months. This gives me a chance to spend some time with our son, my siblings, and to catch up with old friends.
The other night I went out with a couple of those old friends - Theresa and Kim. I met Theresa a mere 35 years ago when she was fresh out of high school and starting her first full time job. I, being much older (by almost 4 years!) and more experienced - took her under my wings and showed her the ropes of working in an office.
Kim and I go back…..let’s see….we became friends in grade school about third or fourth grade….when my mother finally let me cross the street on my own! Kim lived across the street. It wasn’t a busy street, but I guess my mother figured it was busy enough with the Catholic school directly across from our house, and the public school on the corner. Anyway, that was about 48 years ago. Holy crap I’m getting old!
I only worked with Kim, Theresa, and Marcia (who couldn’t make it to our outing the other night - but I’ve been friends with her for 35 years, too!) a handful of years back in the 1970’s. Then I quit work to have a baby. Three years, another baby, and a divorce later, I returned to work and it was like I had never left. Then I met Jim and we DID leave - transferred to Washington, DC.
My point, and I DO have one, is not to give you my personal work history, but to tell you about these great friends.
And how I see them once, MAYBE twice a year; yet it feels like we’ve never been apart. We pick up right where we’ve left off.
I can be myself around them. They have seen my ugly side, my bitchy side, even my mean side. (Who, moi? Yes, moi.)
And you know what?
They still love me.
Little ole me.
They accept me and all my dirty little secrets.
Oh yeah, I have some of those.
I won’t share them with YOU, but I’ve shared them with my peeps.
AND I know my secrets will go no further.
These girls are true friends.
We can sit and bitch about our husbands (not that I have ANYTHING to complain about with YOU, Honey!) (I say that with my fingers crossed) and know that:
a) the words will NEVER leave that table; and
b) Not one of us will EVER hold a grudge against any of the girl’s husband’s and
c) We know that we can talk freely AND NOT BE JUDGED.
How wonderful is that?
Back to my night of gambling.
Did I mention how me and slot machines are like this?
Did I mention that I don’t have much luck at casinos?
Did I mention that I don’t have much luck AT ALL no matter what the gambling venue?
Did I mention that Jim and I once went to the horse track, bet on a horse, and our horse DROPPED DEAD before reaching the finish line? Oh yes he did! (Takes on a whole new meaning to “place” in a horse race.)
If the answer is “no” to the above questions, keep reading.
If the answer is “yes” to the above questions, hell, keep reading anyway!
Okay, so we arrived at the newly-opened casino around 4:45 pm. Kim and I signed up for one of their cards. I hoped the casino would start us off with $10 of gambling money like some nice OTHER casinos, but NO, this one was too cheap to do that. Even though I think that the cards are rigged to not allow the people to WIN with the “free” 10 bucks, it’s nice for a person to dream, right?
A plus for the casino? NO SMOKING inside! YES! There’s nothing worse then sitting at a slot machine and have someone who smokes like a chimney park themselves right next to you and blow smoke in your face. I know, I can ALWAYS get up and move, but what if I’m on a winning streak?
We scouted the area for places to eat. Either we could eat at the $30 buffet (no thank you) or at the sports bar. We opted for the Sports Bar. Our “meals” were more like “appetizers”. Kim and I both ordered the Sliders, a choice of three different kinds of small sliders: shredded pork, turkey, hamburger, chicken, and breaded clam. Those little sliders lived up to their name - they slid right down. They didn’t come with any fries or anything. Theresa had some flatbread with vegetables. We knew we were going to be hungry later.
I was anxious to go gamble so after eating, I wiped my face, hopped down off the bar stool, and said, “Okay ladies, I’m ready. Let’s get going here.”
Kim said, “Uh, I think the waitress would like you to pay first.”
Oh. That’s probably true.
Did I tell mention that I was excited to be there?
I told the waitress how I almost walked off without paying till my friends had to bring it to my attention.
The waitress said, “Oh you’re one of those ‘Dine and Dashers’ are you?”
I had to laugh. Dine and Dashers. Or D& D. Or Double D. Not just my bra size anymore….it’s my nickame!
Finally it was time to gamble.
All that anticipation for nothing.
Usually I win some before I lose it all. You know, to get my hopes up a little.
It just wasn’t happening.
I could have just handed my money to strangers and said, “Here, you have a go at it. My money’s no good here.”
Theresa doesn’t gamble. So she just watched.
Kim only lost $4.
Well, let’s just say that my friends are smarter than me and leave it at that.
We stopped in the bathroom before leaving the casino. It was gorgeous, by the way.
But I walked into the first stall and saw blue liquid dribbled across the toilet seat and into the bowl. Yuk.
I walked into the second stall and saw traces of blue liquid also on the toilet.
Either Smurfette had been in there to pee and missed,
Or the cleaning lady needed glasses 'cause she's missing the toilet, man, with the cleaning solution!
All of a sudden I heard someone make a loud, disgusting sound, like they were hacking up a loogie that started in their toes.
I thought to myself, "Please don't let that be either one of my friends."
I finished my business and scurried out of the stall.
I saw Kim waiting for me by the sink.
Theresa came right up behind me.
"Did you hear that?" She asked me incredulously.
"What. That hacking sound?" I said.
"Thank God it wasn't either of you!" I said, relieved.
"Are you kidding me? It was the lady right next to me! Didn't you hear me? After she was done I said, 'OH THAT'S NICE!'"
Gotta love that Theresa. She told me she's suffering from "CML". Crabby Menopausal Lady.
We walked across the street to an Italian restaurant for dessert. They are known for the cannoli and Tiramisu. We ordered the cannoli. Normally they look like this.
But this restaurant served the filling in a large martini glass
and gently dipped four empty shells into the creamy filling. It was to die for. We asked for more shells so we could use up all that delicious filling. It was good to the last drop.
The moral of the story? I may not have a lot in money, but I have good friends. And that makes me like George Bailey.
The richest man in town.
Only I'm a woman.