This day gave me a hard reminder of why I don't like this city: Everyone is always trying to take your money.
It started with a simple taxi ride from Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon to the Palms. My shaved-head (and possibly bald) driver started telling me I looked like a guy who could use a topless massage and a handjob, or some such.
Well, despite my ignominious exit from the Main Event, I did manage to both get a massage and find time to jerk off the day before, so he was obviously clueless about me and just trying to rack up a sale. Even though I had no interest, he kept persisting, and I knew I had to put up with this for the duration of the cab ride, so I started laughing it off and thinking about it, before finally asking him, "So how much do they pay you for bringing me there?"
Not bad, I suppose, but I know the game... it's not my thing.
Later that day I went for a walk down the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Casino-- just a chance to browse windows, see what was around, see what people were like. Some guy at a kiosk sees me on my iPhone and calls after me. "Sir!"
I should just keep walking, but I decide to stop and indulge him. He asks me if that's an iPhone, yeah obviously it is, and he wants to show me this gadget-- a mobile charger or some such. I'm not buying, and he's painfully obviously sticking to script. "Look, you can see it charges--" he says, pointing to the battery icon, except that I've jailbroken my phone, so the battery is a number, and not an icon, and he doesn't know what to say to that. So I get to the point:
"How much is it?"
He comes back with "Do you trust me?"
Do I trust
you? You hassled me in a mall to sell me something. Our relationship is based on the opposite of trust. Are you kidding? Are you for real here?
Instead, I come back with, "I trust you to tell me how much money you want for that."
"Well, it's normally $60, but I work commission and get off at 7--" oh, save it-- "And I can give it to you for $39.99."
"Nope." And I start walking again, knowing this was the ending all along, but still finding satisfaction in making it so. I mean, I'm exact with my money and my business dealings when I'm with friends
-- I'm not gonna start throwing it away on any random yahoo who sees fit to accost me.
It doesn't stop when you make more money or become famous, either. The hustlers just try to get a bigger piece of it. They just become craftier. You've got to be sharp to stay on top of your money-- and that's one skill that just plain comes from experience with people. A friend gave me a valuable piece of advice around the new year: "Most people are friendly, but most people aren't trustworthy." Knowing how to separate the two and evaluate them independently is valuable indeed.
On that note, I'm getting out of here soon. Back home, back to my friends there. I love my friends here, too, but I haven't gotten to see much of them, I'm out of the main event, and every minute I'm in this city, I'm burning money.