LOOSE SLOTS AND PARTING SHOTS
Following my relaxing, game-playing, whale-watching week on Cape Cod, My Girl and I hopped back in the rental car and drove to Uncasville, Connecticut. Now, besides going to the movies and watching TV, there isn't a lot to do in Uncasville, except go to this gigantic Vegas-like casino called Mohegan Sun. We drove our Toyota Corolla through some nasty Providence, Rhode Island traffic and connected to a couple of other non-descript freeways, and then all of the sudden this black glass hotel tower rises out of the ground and instantly conjures up a Vegas flashback. Upon entering the hotel lobby and taking in the Native American-themed version of the Bellagio, I suddenly remembered that I hate casinos. But, we were meeting up with two groups of family, one carload from the Cape Cod house (including my mother, grandmother, and aunt) and one from New York, and I was going to have a good time regardless of my disdain for gambling institutions. We went out to a couple of extremely good dinners and continued to celebrate my mother's birthday and spent some real quality time with my cousins and great aunt from New York, that is, when they weren't pouring money into those evil slot machines. My favorite spot in the entire place was in front of a giant acquarium in one of the casino mall stores called OdySea. They had one big shark and lots of little sharks and a bunch of sting ray. That was where I found peace amidst the chaos. In evaluating Mohegan Sun, I must say that the area that needs the most improvement is service. I spent a great deal of time on the casino floor watching the machines mesmerize My Girl and My Family, on Saturday and Sunday mind you, and I don't recall seeing even a single cocktail waitress. The chip/coin redemption stations seemed to be placed well throughout the massive casino, but whenever we went to cash out we had trouble finding the one that we needed -- be it chip or coin -- or one that was open. I was frustrated and I wasn't even gambling! The best thing that came out of the Mohegan Sun portion of the vacation was my mother's admission of her gambling addiction. As of today, she has sworn it off. Not that she gambles that often, but when she does, she has absolutely no self-control. My mother and I have a very strong connection and the only times in my life I can remember feeling alienated from her, even for a moment, occurred while she was gambling. She gets this wild look in her eyes and can't tear her attention away from those dizzying devils. I hope she stays true to her word and I hope to never see that look in her eyes again.