The World As Mare Sees It...
Easy Come, Easy Go 2003-03-17










Operation Mini-Skirt status: -31.0 lbs.
The Math: Although I did make it down to minus 50-odd pounds, in the more recent months of Op:MS, my resolve had, you could say, failed miserably. I was up; I was down. A pound here, two pounds there. My last official recorded weight was on February 14, and had me at –47.2. After that, I let it all go. Therefore, it shall be declared that between Valentine’s Day and today, St. Patrick’s Day (of the same year!), Mare-Ingenii disgustingly gained a horrific and appalling 16.2 lbs.
The Conclusion: Yes, I really did eat that much. Yes, there’s obviously a problem here. Yes, I’m sure that one day, a shrink will have a field day with my brain. Until then, here we go again. I will not get bloody fat again.

In as much as it was a Last Supper kind of weekend, I really wanted to live it up a little bit. Teacher and I did manage to get away, although perhaps not as early as we had originally planned. Whatever had to be done was done, the just-in-case-we-decide-to-stay-overnight bags were packed and loaded, and we were in the car and ready to go. Unfortunately, the car didn’t agree. The vehicle in question tends to get a little pissed off at you if you leave the lights on for three hours. Y’see what I’m getting at here? The untimely death of the battery wasn’t a big deal though. A boost and a run around the block got the juices flowing again, and it wasn’t long before we were off. Teacher and I both questioned whether this was quite the omen we were looking for.

Funny thing. Saturday morning, you could tell that we were both losing the mood to go. We couldn’t explain it, and neither of us admitted it, but you could just… tell. The buzz of excitement was clearly missing. Then, I checked our horoscope – we’re both Gemini’s, which makes it handy. It said that we were in an expansive mood, and it was a good time to get away for the day, possible the whole weekend. Written in the stars, I tell you. What really sold me was that is said Gemini should look for a change of scenery. A change of scenery. Haven’t I been saying that for weeks now? So, we went. Bad dead-battery omen or not, we went.

Niagara Falls is a border town, about an hour and a half south west of Toronto. A lot of tourists come in from Buffalo and such. The Falls themselves are a great draw, as our side is far prettier than the American side. This isn’t a neener-neener thing. It’s true. Our side kicks the US side’s arse. Ask anyone. Aside from the big gush of water, there’s also the aforementioned Casino Niagara, which is a big people draw.

We had been in the casino for less than an hour. We’d played some slots, walked aimlessly around, tried not to stare at the scarier looking Americans. Jaysus! What is with them? Now, don’t go all nutty on me now. I’m not anti-American. I’m just… anti-bad-taste. Anti-bad ‘80’s jeans. Anti-horrible-hair-from-the-worst-part-of-the-1970’s-that-can’t-even-be-validated-with-a-claim-of-Retro-Quirk. I’m anti-mullet, dammit. Why? WHY? For the love of God, why? Don’t they get the same magazines that we do? Don’t they watch Friends? Ladies, please! Do you do that to your hair on purpose? Short and feathered at the crown, with tight curls around the face… why, that’s just a crime against nature. And the acid-wash jeans tucked into big socks and white leather Reeboks… gah. Gah! Oh! Oh! How about the black lace bodysuit tucked into the threadbare, high-waist jeans? I honestly don’t know whether I’ve recovered from the sight yet.

And…and… perhaps I shouldn’t mention this, what with the whole Operation Mini-skirt Gone Awry situation. But… Large People abounded. Like, Seriously Large. Lots of Seriously Large and/or Badly Dressed people. I thought to myself, “It’s not possible that all of the Seriously Large and/or Badly Dressed people who are in Niagara Falls today must all come from the States. I mean, to assume that they do would be a sweeping generalisation, and sweeping generalisations are generally bad.” Yet, my sister and I were within earshot of lots of people that day, and I’ve got to tell you: Canadians don’t sound like that. Those were definite, honest-to-God, upstate-New York accents. Which leads me to believe that upstate New York is the home of all Seriously Large and/or Badly Dressed Americans. I mean, the whole country can’t look like that. Can they? I’ve got lots of American friends. None are Seriously Large or Badly Dressed. And none are from upstate New York. To all upstate New Yorkers who are neither Seriously Large nor Badly Dressed, I apologise. I’m just reporting what I saw. And really, what do I know? Maybe the Upstate New York Charter of the Legion for Seriously Large Badly Dressed People had some kind of a field trip that day.

Teacher and I didn’t spend more than an hour in the casino. We’ve got enough drive to get in there, quickly throw away some money on chance, and get the hell out. Any longer, and we start to feel… er… trash-like. The slots don’t really do it for me anymore, not since I learned how to play black jack. I wanted to feel a little Rat Packy, you know? By early evening however, which is when we got there, the minimum bets on the black jack tables are $25.00 Man, a hundred bucks for four hands… that’s kind of hard to wrap my mind around, you know?

We passed a table that wasn’t particularly full, and I started a quiet running commentary for Teacher about why the players were drawing or passing, doubling down or splitting. She don’t know from black jack, after all. Then… Maybe it was because a couple of the players were cute, maybe it was because the dealer seemed a friendly sort… maybe I was just feeling reckless. But the next thing I knew, I was sitting myself down and laying two fifty-dollar bills on the green felt. My heart kind of leapt into my throat when the dealer gave me four measly green chips, but I laid my first bet with outward calm. And I won the first hand. I put the extra chip to the side, and let the original ride. And I won the second hand, too. By this time, I decided that I needed to change deodorants, because the one I was wearing was failing its mission. I could feel tiny rivulets of sweat sliding down the sides of my body, and my heart was going a mile a minute. It didn’t help matters when I was dealt an 8 and a 3 on the next hand. The voice of my uncle, Two-Ten Jimmy (named thus because he’s wacky enough to split two tens) was ringing in my head. “You always double down on 11. Always.” Plus, who hasn’t seen Swingers? So I doubled down. And drew a four. And lost fifty bucks. My sister’s intake of breath was sharp and startling, and I think that if she hadn’t been standing behind me and holding my chair, she’d have fallen over.

I recouped when I was dealt two 21s in a row. The cute boy at the end of the table congratulated me, which was lovely. When he rapped on the table to draw, I noticed the gleam of his wedding ring, and turned my concentration back to the dealer, not at all disappointed. “No one is that lucky,” I reasoned to myself, and proved it by winning the next hand. He smiled at me again, and busted out, proving my theory. I’m the single one, after all.

Half an hour after sitting down, I walked away with shaking hands, heightened colour, and an extra $125.00 in my pocket.

You win some, you lose some. Hopefully, the ‘lose some’ in my life comes off my bottom. Literally.

Happy St. Patrick’s, everyone.

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