I lean down and pick up my purse, reach over and get my jacket. I look around, barely able to make eye contact. I internally sigh and think to myself “How could I’ve done this again?” I slowly make my way outside, trying to walk like a lady yet seemingly fragile and sad at the same time. I put my sunglasses on as I get outside, the sun now strangely harsh. I barely remember where I’d parked my car all those hours ago. I shuffle past the guard towers, wondering if they’d seen me on my walk into the Commerce Casino this morning, and if they knew I’d just been felted in a brutal manner. They’ve seen so many poker players doing this walk of shame, I’m sure they can tell the slow way I’m walking back as the sign of a LOSER, instead of the jaunty and cocky walk I’d just taken hours ago in the opposite direction.
This walk of shame has been repeated many a time. I recall once walking down a breezeway in the Orleans on my way to my room, into the elevator of shame, down the strangely smelling carpet of shame, until I finally reach my room, let myself in, and sigh SHIT. That’s a big difference between playing in a brick and mortar casino vs. gambling at an online casino website like XOslot. At least with the latter, as you can play from the comfort of your living room, you don’t have to face the public if you lose.
It includes not only the walk to my car in a parking lot, trying to ignore the jaunty walks of the shame-free, but the drive of shame on the Commerce freeway, where there always seems to be an accident, truck on its side, or toilet by the side of the road. While I waited for them to flip the truck back on its proper side, there was shame silence in my car. I wasn’t even feeling peppy enough to try and listen to NWA or Taylor Swift to lighten my mood. I deserved the silence, watching the cops and firetrucks flip the truck back over. In the past, I’ve had a SWAT helicopter land on the 134 on my way somewhere fun, but I was still jaunty, Ludacris playing, Diet A&W drinking, and could handle the SWAT. Not today.
After the drive of shame, my body is now tipping into exhaustion, wondering why the F I live in LA, and I still need to figure out what I am having for dinner. There should be a shame parting gift with soft mahi tacos that will stay warm until you reach your final destination. The tacos would perk up the corners of you that got beaten by an asshole who called you Poker Barbie, and chased and chased until he caught up.
After many walks of shame, I’ve learned to try and leave myself outs. They might be small, but leave me with a shred of dignity that I can wrap myself in emotionally as I walk by the guards and their high-powered rifles. I don’t let myself be fully felted. I don’t care if it’s a couple of dollars, I will walk out with something. “Yeah, I didn’t let them fully kick my ass,” I’ll tell myself. “Yeah, I’m proud that you didn’t totally fall in love with K/10 offsuit because it’s your jam.” I also generally don’t buy in multiple times. A table has to be so much fun, laughing, giving each other nicknames, or a hot sheriff has to sit down and play in order for me to peel another buy-in out of my purse. And that second peel is PAINFUL. But my litmus test is when I walk to my car, or my room, will I internally say “worth it.”
What’s the message you’re trying to send when your gift of the week to casino patrons is a hot plate…
— Christina Bradfield (@mauichri) August 28, 2019
I’ve had the drive of shame with slots too, but it’s way more confusing because you don’t have actual faces to be embarrassed by, just yourself. I mean, I guess you could be embarrassed in front of the Buffalo, but he’s seen it all. One time I took that drive of shame home after the Buffalo at San Manuel, and my whole body broke out. The shame hit deep y’all. I showed my boyfriend and he could barely hold back “damn baby” but I could see his horrified look. “Do you need lotion?” I’d also had a verbal altercation with a guy who tried to bully me off the machine. I stood my ground but my body paid the price.
And, thank God for poker amnesia. A few days later, maybe a week, maybe a month, you think “Man I’d like to play some cards. It’s so fun!” I liken it to dating amnesia — “It can’t be that bad…” and the rate of return on poker is better than dating. So, I dress up, walk past the guards with a jaunty wave, and the automatic doors let me back in. I have plans for mahi tacos later…