My new schedule has me gone from home eight days in a row, followed by six days at home. That has me on the road over the weekend. My plan is to work every other weekend so that when I am home, I'm not working too much and can have a good long time with the family.
On Friday, I worked until about 8:30 and I decided to head across the street from work for a little while. North Dakota has charitable gaming and the bar across the street has a blackjack table. The receptionist at work, a woman that I have known for about 27 years, deals and I told her that I might stop in and play a few hands. So, I did.
I don't know the last time I'd been in a bar. I talked a while back about stopping in the Legion Hall in SBGville, but that isn't really a bar, but maybe it counts. Suffice it to say that I don't hang out in the bar much, especially now that I've graduated from law school. Anyhow, I stopped in and the first thing I noticed was how damned smoky it was. Smoking in the bar is still legal in ND and man, is that a bad idea. (Remember, the Legion Hall is smoke-free.)
I pulled up to the blackjack table and Lori was dealing, so I sat down and since this is a small town, she introduced me to everyone. Well, sort of. She told everyone who I was, but no one actually told me who they were. I sat between a couple of old bar flies and got myself $20 worth of chips. My first hand was a black jack. I would play for an hour and not see another one. I'm not a big gambler, but if I am going to gamble a little blackjack is what I like to play. The per bet limit is $2, so this kind of play is strictly small time and actually, I played $1 on most hands.
In an hour of play, I saw only two aces, one of them being in my first hand. I had eleven once and ten twice. That's some pretty lousy cards, but I played pretty conservatively and I actually walked away with $6 in profit. That's not bad when I didn't have many opportunities to double down at all. My cards were almost comically bad, but I also only busted two or three times.
Anyway, I ran into a guy that I had know way back when I was working G-Town in college. Eric was working for the summer in Engineering when I was interning there. He and another guy out there were sons of big shots and they worked out in the shop. They came to work hung over every day, but again, their dads were big shots, so they could get away with that. When I said hi to Eric, he said you knew me back when I didn't drink. Lori and I said, yeah, at work, you never drank at work. He's still living the same life he was back in 1985. Good grief.
I was only in that bar from 8:30 to 9:30, but that was plenty. Pretty much everyone in there was really intoxicated and I'm feeling the smoke this morning. I didn't have anything to drink because I had been up since 3:30 and I had to drive 26 miles after leaving, so I thought even one beer might make that a dicey proposition, given my tiredness. After a while, I realized that I hadn't been in that place since the night my old buddy Cody died, more than a decade ago. I looked around the place, remembering that night and where I was when I saw my buddy alive for the last time. He'd be 35 now and probably married with a couple of kids. What a tragic waste that was. I felt myself getting angry about it.
As I drove home, I realized that I probably won't be going to the bar in G-Town again any time soon. I'll work when I'm there and then I'll head for Mom and Dad's place. Call me [a] stick [in the mud], but I don't need that scene.