This weekend I did something I never thought I would do again.
I worked at a slot tournament.
I don't think most people realize how weird this is for me. I spent so many hours during my early -mid - late 20's in the casino. I worked long hours, weekends and holidays. I made the best friends of my life. I hooked up with co-workers. I was obsessed with figuring out what makes gamblers tick, how they think, and how to get them to spend even more money on "my" gaming floor. I wanted to get a casino themed tattoo, for crying out loud.
Thank God I didn't. I never thought I'd be back in that industry again, but a lunch date with one my best friends, Jill, changed my mind and this weekend I found myself in the back of the Whiskey Roadhouse, dealing with overobsessed gamblers and their issues.
When I got to work, I realized it's been a long 4.5 years since I've worked there. I didn't know where to park. I didn't know how to walk in. I had completely forgot where anything is at the Shoe, and I tiptoed my way through the gaming floor to find Jill. She said I looked like Molly Ringwald when she was slowly walking into her prom. I'm taking that as a compliment.
It was fun. I can't lie. Most of my former co-workers aren't there anymore, but I have some friends left, so I was able to catch up with them. The same gamblers who were playing in the tournaments five years ago were still there. And I'm pretty sure they didn't even notice I was gone. They approached me and asked questions like they had just seen me yesterday.
Some things were a little hard to take. Some people referred to me as "newbie". They had no idea I had worked there for so many years before, and that I was actually the first person to create the template for slot tournaments at Bluffs Run. I was there when we had to hold them in the Free Show Lounge, and I was manually inputting scores into an excel spreadsheet. The fancy machines they have now kinda freaked me out, and I'm glad I wasn't having to get too involved with them. When a major crisis happened, it was hard for me to stay in the background and not get involved. My brain wanted to solve the problem. But it's not my place now.
It's hard to imagine my life if I had never left the gaming industry. I feel like that was a lifetime ago. I'm on my fourth job since then, I've lost 90 pounds, a massive tumor and gained a masters degree and an expertise in a whole new industry. I've grown up a lot, and looking back I can't believe how wildly inappropriate my behavior was. I am sure surveillance greatly enjoyed my antics, but now I am pretty embarrassed about some of the things I did.
Yes, I miss the hustle and bustle and being with my friends all day every day. But I really love my Monday-Friday day shifts, feeling like I'm helping people change their lives (for the better) and...best of all...the built in vacay around the holidays. But I can't lie - I'm kind of excited about this new on-call gig. Only working the fun stuff will help balance out the forty hours a week I spend sitting at a desk.