Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Angry Sky

Empress is finally starting to feel like home, as Trump once did.

The other day, a dealer called me by name for the first time. The brush folks recognize me now, and I'm on a first-name basis with a handful of regulars (the social ones, anyway). Poker life is good.

I headed over there after work tonight, to sit the 5/10 game (as per usual). I wish I had some hand stories for you, because something must have gone right (I left up $155 in 4 hours). I just can't seem to remember anything spectacular. I had QQ 3 times - lost big twice, and won small once. A suited 7-8 made me a straight, which was nice. The only other hand I recall is an A-T offsuit holding up for top pair, Aces.

I did enjoy the company of my tablemates tonight, which is not always the case. It was a pretty young table. Early on, I had a crazy Asian gambler to my left, and he had me cracking up. By the time I moved to the main game, I got to join a few poker "friends" (if you can call anyone at a poker table your friend). A woman Renee was there, and she's great fun to chat with. I see her a lot on Wednesday nights. She talks about golf so much and so highly that it makes me want to try it someday. To my right was a guy I'd have pegged as my age (turns out, he's 33). I've seen him a few times, though hadn't talked with him in the past. He was cool. He mentioned being married for 7 years, and it made me think, wow... I have to remember that I'm not crazy for expecting a 33 year old guy to be ready to get married after dating for 3 years. It's not crazy... there are obviously guys out there doing it (getting married, that is).

There was a kid at the other end of the table who I would have pegged as a solid player, except that he sucked. I know - that statement is a contradiction in terms, but he acted like a solid player. Then he'd flip over Q7 suited, having played 2nd pair 7's and raised all day long. Scooby. The guy to my right got into a few verbal sparring matches with the kid, outwitting him at every turn. It was enough to keep me amused while watching Joe Crede fail to get the tying run home from 2nd base, and even kept me laughing while the White Sox got soaked an inning later (literally and figuratively).

I stayed a couple orbits longer than I'd intended, and won back $50 for my time. My straddle buddy Joe was still nursing his Coronas, hoping to take a few more stacks off of a table that had gotten too tight-aggressive for my taste. I bid farewell to Mr. 33, Joe, and the rest of the table, pleased at my take for the day.

As I stepped out of the casino and into the exposed hallway leading to the parking lot, my lungs filled with rain-soaked air. I love the smell of rain. It no longer fell in Joliet, but the skies off in the distance were angry. I love an angry sky. Some people draw strength and comfort from bright, sunshiny days. I find the best versions of myself under an angry sky. Maybe it's the underlying threat of danger from the storm - the adrenaline rush of what could be. It reminds me how small we really are in this big, big world. It puts me in my place, and that is somehow empowering.

The first song to hit the airwaves off my iPod once I reached my car was, "Don't Fear the Reaper." Seasons don't fear the reaper, nor do the wind, the sun or the rain - We can be like they are....

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