I’m ready to take a walk in my neighborhood and I go to grab my well-loved, well-worn WSOP hat from its usual perch. It’s not there. I have a few frantic moments of searching for it in the closet, in random bags that women have scattered throughout their house, and then checked my car. Ahhhh, shit, the lightbulb went off and I remembered it was on “time out” in my trunk after having visiting the Palms last week. It was joined in time out with a sweatshirt. My other clothes had been stripped and put into my laundry hamper and washed immediately, along with my body and hair at 7:30pm after my visit to the Palms.
It’s not like I went to the Palms dirty, but I knew odds were good that I’d smell a certain way after I came out of the casino. The smell was one of a woman’s perfume of “a certain age”, with undercurrents of powder and amazing staying power. The smells are perhaps one reason why some people just prefer to stay home and play casino games online at these new slot sites instead of venturing into a brick and mortar venue.
I’d gone with my mom and stepdad on a bus trip to the Pala Casino years before, with their senior center. I’d just gotten divorced and I was willing to do anything new, and surrounded by people who loved me unconditionally because of my parents and my still sunny optimism. (I also won the prize for youngest person on the bus – I still have the $2 bill somewhere.) There was a woman directly in front of me with immovable hair-sprayed within an inch of oblivion. Wafting out was a smell of perfume that ingrained itself into my mind and memory. She is a lovely person, but holy crap I couldn’t wait to go into the smoky casino and eradicate some of the stench. (I’ve learned that only a step away from a Silkwood shower can do that.)
I’d visited the Palms for the first time about a month or so after I moved to Vegas. It’d never been my favorite, seeming to have the personality of a doorknob. My greatest memory there had been making out in the at-the-time abandoned night club. However, I love the San Manuel Casino in California, now the Yaamava’ casino, and respect how the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians handled the pandemic and the protocols they enacted during and since. It also felt light and bright on the walk into the casino, shiny and new with the expansion.
I’d hoped that some of this seamless professionalism and excitement carried over to the Palms. They’d sent me some free play due to me being a card member at the Yaamava’, so I thought why not? I opened the heavy gold door and got my first whiff. Holy crap I thought, thank God I’m wearing a mask. I thought someone wearing the perfume had just recently passed through and it would dissipate the farther in I went. Yeah, no it didn’t. I have a particularly sensitive sense of smell, but you could have 80% of my smell palate and you’d be wishing for outdoors air asap. I walked through the entire casino trying not to smell deeply, but as with the quirky nature of humans, I feel I inhaled more.
The people working the players’ club were wonderful, and possessed exactly the attitude I’d come to expect from the Yaamava’. I got a free T-shirt just by making a joke, and they had enthusiastic and ingratiating personalities. By the time I left after that visit, is when I realized that a second shower might be a good idea.
I had a better heads-up the second time, but a tiny part of me hoped… I’ll even take the carpet “smell” of certain casinos. Nope. I played my Buffalo and got the heck out of there, already taking the precaution to only wear clothes I could wash. (Like when I visit friends who have dogs I’m allergic to but know I don’t have the discipline or heart not to pet them many, many, many times.) I’ve since googled why the Palms smells the way it does, to no avail. You wonder, did I sink down a rabbit hole in the Matrix where I’m the only one who smells it?
I really hope the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians do well in Vegas, and I hope this is a trend of things to come. And maybe I’ll just have to treat the Palms as I did a beloved neighbor who wore the same style of perfume, and wanted to cook for me periodically, and was a great hugger. I wore clothes I could wash, had backup clothes at the ready, and hugged her back. But when free play stops, I’ll grab my hat and take a walk outside.