Getting Out There

This weekend included a couple of firsts for me.

Friday night I went out to see my first, ever, live hockey game AND I stepped into a casino for the first time.

Some of you might be wondering what this has to do with anything, and why I’ve decided to bore you with it on a Sunday morning (or whenever you happen to be reading this).

Here’s the point:

Get out there and do stuff. New stuff.

Right now, I can hear those of you that know me choking on your coffee at that statement. This coming from a guy that, were he to become independently wealthy, would probably go full-on hermit by the end of that year.

Even I can recognize the merit of stepping out of your routine and trying something new.

Let me talk about the game first:

The rink was smaller than I thought it would be. Sure, I’ve seen hockey rinks before, I had even seen ~this~ rink before, but not during a game. I’m not sure why I expected it to be bigger, but I suspect that it’s for the same reason why, when I meet an author that I’ve really wanted to meet, I’m mildly surprised to find that they are “People” sized and not larger.

There is a visceral part of the game that you only get when you’re there. Most of it revolves around the sense of sound. At first you might think that I’m talking primarily about the crowd, but I’m not. I’m talking about the clack of the puck as it hits a stick, or when a player takes a slap-shot. I’m talking about the deeper crack of the puck hitting the boards. TV doesn’t (and can’t, really) convey the sense of the high-speed impacts (and I’m including the players in this as well) that are taking place.

The Crowd. There is something about the sound that a really large number of people can make, channeled toward a single purpose. It’s something that you not only hear, but feel. There’s also something about the random shots appearing on the screens (and there were a lot of screens) of folk clearly having a good time that was good to see.

Now, I want to talk about the casino.

The sheer number of people leaving the stadium ensured that we’d have a huge wait to get on the road, so we walked a few blocks down to the casino.

The floor seemed larger than it actually was. There was so much going on, so much sensory input, that I think my head distorted my perception of things while it tried to catch up. Let me try and clarify that a little. When we first stepped in, one of the things we were on the lookout for were the restrooms. Not immediately, but after we walked around for a bit. Naturally, I tried to spot them right away so that I’d know where they were for future reference. They seemed much farther away from the entrance at the time, than the entrance seemed from the restroom doors later on.

There is a visceral part of a casino that you only get when you’re there. Sure I’ve seen loads of movies and TV shows featuring casinos, but nothing has come close to the real thing. Cigarette smoke, the lights, the motion, the sounds, the sheer amount of sensory input was something that, in the long run (in this case, “The long run” wasn’t much longer than ten or fifteen minutes) wasn’t something that my head could handle. It shut me down in pretty short order to the point where I couldn’t come up with a good answer for “What do you want to do?” (well, outside of leaving, that is)

The People.  This is more of a proximity thing than actual numbers. They were everywhere and, while I’m pretty that they were having a good time, it was a much different kind of good time than I saw at the stadium. I say pretty sure, because some of the folk at the slots didn’t look like they were doing much more than pushing the same button over and over and over. It kinda reminded me of zombies.

Speaking of the undead, why have I not seen an urban fantasy where vampires hunt/own casinos? Maybe it’s too easy? Maybe there isn’t enough dancing, although I think I might have spotted a small dance floor there – there was a band playing cover tunes.

Like I said, I don’t think I lasted more than 15 minutes (it was probably less) and was definitely an anchor for that part of the night. Maybe it was a combination of the two events and I’m being overly harsh on the casino, but that place hit me so hard that it wasn’t until 5:00 pm the following day that I felt like interacting with people – and that was only because we needed to pick up stuff for dinner. This morning, I’m feeling more myself.

What’s the point of all of this? I’ve got a couple:

  1. I learned some things that I hadn’t known before, and I’d filled in some gaps in my experience that weren’t there by getting out.
  2. Not every excursion outside your comfort zone is going to be as entertaining as you might think. That possibility is a lousy excuse to keep you from giving something new a shot. There are still things that you can pick up from the experience either way.

So get out there, you never know what you’re going to find.


Adventure Awaits…


Time: 11:54 Am-ish

Music: Blind Guardian – A Voice in the Dark