It was a nice break from routine. We spent the afternoon at a casino. The husband headed for the blackjack tables while I wandered around the casino catching up on some much needed people watching. I passed out large smiles to everyone that made eye contact. I love watching people's reactions to a big smile. Most of the time, they smile back.
Eventually I found myself in the general area of where the husband was playing. I'm a cheapskate and one with out enough nerve to sit at the tables. I whine when the dealer reaches out and wraps his or her hand around my chips and rakes them to his side of the table. That money could have been spent for a bottle of nail polish, a haircut, a new shirt or a pair of shoes. Of course this is after thoughts so I stay away from the tables. Occasionally I will pass by while the husband is playing and tonight I watched as he bet 60.00 on one hand of cards and as the dealers hand shot out at the final drop of the cards and raked the 60.00 to his side of the table, I found myself gasping a bit as I escaped from being a witness to any more. Watching him play is nerve wracking for me.
I moved to the bar where the pump action coffee carafes were filled with steaming brew. Selecting a Styrofoam cup, I pumped the handle, filled my cup and started adding some creme to it. Lined up behind the carafes was a selection of chocolate mix packets. Tearing off the top of one, I poured half of it's contents into my coffee. Ah, it's almost a Starbucks moment.
As I hefted my cup to my lips and spun away from the bar, a gentlemen on the far end of 70 stood directly in my path. "What are you mixing there? Is the coffee fresh?" "Yep, fresh coffee, I said and "can I pour you a cup?"
He said "I was watching you from across the room and saw your smile." I hid a smile, glanced up at him and turned to pour him a cup. A thought occurred as I turned back to hand him his coffee. Was this nice gentlemen trolling? Making small talk, I asked him what he did for a living. I never assume, regardless of the age, that a man is retired. It's akin to seeing a woman with a large abdomen and commenting on her pregnancy. Once you have made the mistake of assuming she is pregnant to then find out you were wrong, where do you go from there in your conversation? I've stuttered and stammered my way through that embarrassment once, never to be revisited again. I catch on quickly.
My question to a person that is obviously a senior is just to ask "So, what do you do for a living?' It's at this time they mention they are retired or not. I'm sensitive to and shy away from insulting someone by assuming their age.
My new found friend had retired once from his job as an offshore cook. From St. Martinville, he was now employed again in the maintenance department for some company he mentioned but which, since my notebook wasn't available, I can't recall. It's not important. He was the proud father of 11 children among them lawyers and teachers. He said he lived alone and enjoyed being able to do just exactly as he pleased with his time. As I stood talking to him, my husband walked up. He had seen me standing by the bar. My friend hurriedly bid me goodbye and I couldn't help but wonder if he had thought I was alone at the casino.
Eventually I found a slot machine and sat down to feed it some coins. I snagged a bloody Mary from the waitress passing by. I was just killing time until the husband either lost his money or won what he thought he could. I was promised dinner paid for by his winnings. I was waiting to find out if I was going to be fed.
We ended up sipping Margaritas through dinner while listening to the young man playing his acoustic guitar and singing Van Morrison songs in a small nook of the room. The food was excellent; the guitarist/singer was a compliment to the meal. It was a Mexican Cantina and I had my usual order of chimichangas. The husband had a special plate with rellenos, tamales, a toastado, refried beans and Spanish rice. Usually if the food sucks, the drinks, in huge quantities will make up for it. Tonight everything was perfect. It was a "two Margarita" meal.
I needed a good night. I have a chilled bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon poured into a chilled wine glass. Purely for health reasons, I'm good for the remainder of this night.