A few nights ago, a group of friends and I decided to road trip (re: drive 45 minutes north of Yale) to North America's largest Casino/hotel/parking garage, Foxwoods Casino in Ledyards, Connecticut. Of all the "firsts" I've experienced at Yale, this was perhaps the most ironic, as I went to high school in Arizona. Let me put it this way: Connecticut is to country home as Arizona is to Indian Casino. Connecticut is to apple pie as Arizona is to fry bread they serve at Indian Casinos. Connecticut is to preppy, WASPy mother as Arizona is to wrinkly, sullen Grandma who goes to Indian Casinos and stuffs poker chips into her fanny pack.
Anyways, the closest I came to visiting one in Arizona (before they hiked the legal age from 18 to 21) was my junior prom, when my then-boyfriend took me to the dog tracks. So I was thrilled to experience Foxwoods, and to hopefully witness some sort of Oceans 11-type heist.
In many ways, a Casino is like a mash-up of the nice parts of a retirement home and the crappy bits of Disneyland. Everything is strategically designed to trigger your slot finger: You receive free drinks if you sit down and gamble, there's a lot to see but very little to do outside of gambling, and, to get anywhere, you have to walk through the gambling centers. I also learned:
1. People who patronize Casino's are mad weird. This is a photograph covertly snapped in a Foxwoods bar called Atrium, conveniently located at the epicenter of multiple Gambling Centers (the website: "Atrium wants you to find it"). Outside of the anomalistic group of condescending Yale students, Casino Patrons are either creepy thirty-somethings determined to enjoy the Nightlife, Japanese businessmen, and withered elderly people slumped over penny slots.2. Horseplay is not encouraged. Here, my friend Andrew and I are making fox symbols with our hands, evoking the name of the Casino and preparing for the evening. Um, I don't remember why the shoes are there. Anyways, Casino Employees do not smile on rambunctious youth, as I was asked for my ID at every venture possible--even leaving one of the Gambling Centers. Also, for Employees of a Casino that proudly displays a giant faux-ice sculpture of a half-naked Indian crouching with his bow and arrow whose loin cloth lights up in different colors, you'd think the would be more tolerant of being called Squaws.
3. Losing sucks. It turns out that erc's "Yale-smarts" have no effect whatsoever on the random output of a computerized machine. Actually, I spent 2/3 of my change trying to figure out how the game worked.