Monday, May 15, 2006

Fear and Loathing in Atlantic City.

One of my favorite comedians, Li’l Jimmy Norton of the Opie and Anthony radio program, was playing in Atlantic City. When Jimmy announced the May show in early April, I decided that I had to go and see that meaty-breasted nothing perform is comedy along with fellow comedians Keith Robinson and Dave Attel. The show, being held at the Borgata Hotel and Casino, was sure to sell out quickly, so I had to scramble to find someone to go with.

Luckily, there is always my mom.

Good ole’ Cathy has been an avid Atlantic City visitor over the last ten years, even earning a special exclusive membership with Harrah’s Balley’s Claridge Hotel and Casino (it’s been bought out twice). My mom is also a listener of O&A, as well as a large fan of Jim Norton (although she’ll never admit it). I called her up instantly, knowing that we could easily get a room at the Claridge and we could take a cab by the marina and see the show. Perfect fit!

The plan was absolutely flawless. I called up for tickets, she called up for a room, and a month before the show we were set. It was far too easy. Then I realized I had to drive the two and a half hours down the Garden State Parkway with her.

Uh oh.

My mom is not a large fan of driving. She never had a longing to get behind the wheel. Born in Brooklyn and relocated to Queens, my mom would walk or take public transportation everywhere. It was only after getting married and moving out to the ‘burbs in Jersey that the idea of driving became an issue. Once she was pregnant with me, it was time to actually learn. I don’t think that learning to drive while you have a child inside of you is the best way to learn how to love the act.

She is less of a backseat driver and more of a passenger seat panicky screamer. It got to be so bad that I refused to drive without her being quiet, pulling the old “I’ll turn this thing around!” by literally turning it around on my parent. To be quite frank, driving with my mom is much like how she views driving: a necessity.

On the way, she tells me that we should take the express half on the Parkway. I absolutely cannot STAND the express side. For some background, the GSP splits into a local (3 lanes and all exits) side and an express (2 lanes and a few exits). Over the course of my driving south of exit 100, I have learned to never get into express because there is ALWAYS an accident and the “express” becomes “standstill.”

I voiced my displeasure when my mom said to stay to the left after the bridge, but she assured me, saying that there are three lanes now the whole way down. You can see where this is going, can’t you? I believed her, against my own better judgment, and stayed to the left.
As soon as the divide came up, just as I hit the point of no return, immediately when I could not go back, there is an accident. I swear to you the timing could not have been better. We sat in bumper-to-bumper for about 15-20 minutes before finally getting on our way.

About 5 miles into the 22 mile stretch of pavement the right lane becomes exit only, allowing people in express to get off for the PNC Bank and Arts Center in rustic Holmdel, NJ. That lane escaped the Express strip, and I awaited its return. If there is an accident on Express, then there is only one lane, and you are pretty much beyond fucked. Of course, that lane was never to come back. Thankfully, there was nary an accident the rest of the trip. If there was, I would scream until I spit blood. Having the flu and a sore throat, I’m sure it would take five seconds, which really demeans the whole act of spitting up blood.

We arrived at the hotel at 4, and went to the luxury, glass-ensconced check-in. There, I heard six or seven older ladies get into a conversation about the new anti-smoking laws in Jersey. One woman couldn’t believe it. My mom was telling everyone how thankful she was that she quit smoking, raising her hand in the air as if to swear it so. A woman behind the desk was saying that she drank but she has never driven after or while imbibing, even when being prompted about other questions. One older lady was adamant that second-hand smoke was a myth and didn’t see the problem with smoking. I was looking to smother myself in my book. Unfortunately, there is always that air crease when you open the book up—even in the direct middle of a book—and my suicide attempt was unsuccessful. Luckily, the check-in was over in a few minutes, and I could leave that vapid discussion, fading away like smoke into the atmosphere.

While walking around the hotel I realized that Atlantic City might be the strangest mixture of people in the world. Only here can you find black people mixing with incredibly racist Guidoes. Only here can you find so many fat white people with so many rail-thin, shrinking, blue-haired old white women. Only here can so much money be taken away from people, be it from robbery on the boardwalk past 8 PM or from the casino itself.

The hotel room itself is a very telling indicator of what clientele the hotel will traffic. For example, you won’t find fine wine bottles in a Motel 6 for your consumption. This room that I’m currently staying in is definitely meant for the older generation, between 50 and 60 years old. It is a two-bed set up, with its own nice bathroom. It is certainly not out of the ordinary. But, there are always telling signs.

These people love to gamble. They are Italian, from Jersey, and have been going to the shore for years. They have money, which is why they are so fancy and elite in this hotel chain (which means that they have spent a fair share of cash losing to the casino, and they want to show their appreciation by giving you more incentives to lose more money).

More importantly, they don’t want you in the room for long. As soon as I walked in I felt like I was in Boston again. The thermostat read 60 degrees, and my piss nearly froze just as it went into the super-large toilet. I have never in my life seen a toilet that is specifically designed for such a fat ass that it has to be wider and larger just to accommodate the heavy set. Once again, 50-60 men or women traffic here, not unbearably thin 20 year olds.

The kind of people who inhabit this room also like to feel fancy. The hotel accommodates them with a safe box where they can store their gaudy gold chains and other Jersey-centric jewelry, so they know exactly where their pawn-able products are when black jack takes a bit too much out of the wallet.

They also like to use those small bars of soap that come wrapped in paper more than simple liquid soap. Who would need something that is economical, easy-to-use, and not slippery like the liquid soap one has at home? Of course you would want the pain in the ass, but refined, small circle of soap. Easy choice! Idiots. Liquid soap in some form is everywhere BUT in hotels. You would think by now they would catch on.

The people who get this room also have no concept of the Internet or the ability to purchase movies through the magic of hotel television, as both are priced ridiculously high. Explain to me why I would want to pay twelve dollars for 24 hours worth of access to the Internet? In what planet would that be acceptable? Hell, it’s about 35 dollars per MONTH for broadband. Therefore, if I stay here for three days I would have paid almost the same amount as access for a month in my home. Sure, that’s reasonable.

The selection of movies is fantastic as well, like Madea’s Family Reunion, Curious George, The Pink Panther, and Eight Below. All of the hits are here, just a click away! Oh, and an eleven dollar credit card bill away. To compare, you can go online for a dollar more and pay for 22 hours of more entertainment. Who makes these things up, a retard with a pinwheel, a pad, and paper? To see a movie in theaters by me costs about 10 dollars, and that is with stadium seating, a screen the size of my house, and a sound system that could drive hostages out of Kuwait. I’m now paying a dollar more for a 20 inch overused and overworked Philips TV in stereo that are bested by the speakers built in to my laptop. Christ, I don’t even want to know where the mini-bar is.

What I find most interesting is that the first option is Erotica films. Pervs. Here you have the option of the 24-hour erotica film fest…which is really just two movies over and over again. Why you would want that, god only knows. Don’t worry folks, as responsible parents can get rid of this by hitting 8 to block the channels. This comes after your child already reads the options:

1 SEXTOPIA
All-New Interactive
2 EROTICA FILMS
contain the HOTTEST sexual scenes!
And of course 3 24-Hour EROTICA FILM FEST
2 films on 1 channel for one low price… Vivid, Hustler or Specailty Channel

All the while a loop of a girl saying, “enjoy the passion and romance of late night entertainment anytime during the day!” plays in the background. I fail to see how romance comes in the “specialty” channel, which is probably full of golden showers and horse cocks.

To end my little e-journal, I will share with you talking to Billy, my mom’s Asian hotel host. Apparently, once you’re exclusive (see: lost so much money it’s a wonder I can go to college) you get your own host who will comp things like meals and rooms and might be able to get you tickets to shows around town. While my mom is downstairs gambling (which begs the question as to why a 20 year old is in Atlantic City when you can’t drink or gamble, just write shit for your blog like a loser) I get a call from Billy.

Billy is so Asian it would make people in Chinatown embarrassed. It would be like me walking into Kenya and saying that I am one with the people and always have been. He informs me of the gift that he signed my mom up for, and I thank him. At the end he says something to me, and I go “yeah, definitely,” to what I now think was not a statement that could be followed up with “yeah, definitely.” The conversation ended, and I immediately started saying “la la la la” to make sure I couldn’t lose the ability to say my l’s properly. The most befuddling part of this whole exchange is why you would choose a name that you physically cannot properly pronounce? How about Dave, or Todd? Why Birry? Every time he calls someone he has to start with “Hi, this is Birry!” Why do that to yourself?

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