Friday, November 17, 2006

Leaving "Leaving Las Vegas"

Actually, I never saw "Leaving Las Vegas," despite its critical acclaim and at least ostensible Vegas connection. But "Leaving Canadian Lakes" might be a little too obscure a title. Suffice it to say that the place I came to when I left Las Vegas, plans are being put in place to leave in turn, so that, indeed, I am “Leaving ‘Leaving Las Vegas.’ ”

I spent much of my last post talking about Gil's daughter Dagny, and how her current situation in some ways mirrors my own. One of the ways in which her situation does not mirror mine is that she's 25, as I mentioned; she still has most of her network of friends that she developed while she was in college. For reasons that are probably only entirely clear if you are also in that circle, she finds herself very frustrated by her circle of friends, to the point that she'd like to up and move out of the state to get away from them.

Now, I would caution her to be careful what you wish for; this is probably the last time in her life that she'll actually have a circle of friends in the sense that she currently does, and so dumping it overboard en masse (or another phrase that's not French) very definitely closes out a chapter of her life. That said, she'd probably tell me that this is exactly what she wants.

In any case, several days ago, she told me in chat that she was frustrated enough that she'd like to, as I said, up and leave the state. She knows her dad wants an excuse to move to Las Vegas, and I don't even need an excuse, I just need the means. Frankly, in all likelihood, she was baiting me to get excited about the possibility of a return to Vegas, sharing expenses. It took a day or two for it to percolate, but that's exactly what happened.

The casino in Michigan City, Indiana recently re-opened a poker room. This is only slightly farther from Grand Rapids than the casino in Mt. Pleasant, and despite some inexperienced dealers is a better-run room. Also, for some reason I don't entirely understand, the players there are regularly among the worst we've come across in the area. However, even if the casino is about as far for Gil, I'm staying with my folks a bit more than an hour north of Grand Rapids, and so Mt. Pleasant is much, much closer, a half-hour drive as opposed to a three-plus hour drive.

All of that said, I wanted to talk to Gil, feel him out about moving to Las Vegas, so I readily acquiesced when he suggested Michigan City rather than Mt. Pleasant for a midweek day of poker. We went and, almost as an aside to this post, we both did very well, mostly me, but since I was staked Gil did very well as well. The important part really was the conversation about the move itself.

Gil feels a lot of inertia about the possibility. He has a business here, which isn't doing that well but it's what he's done for twenty years. He also has friends here, people he's known since college in some cases. On the other hand, his daughter is, reasonably, more important to him, and if she were to move, he'd probably go with her. I estimate it this way: In the case of moving for the sake of moving, then he's probably about 40% on the scale of likely-to-move. But his daughter moving, immediately bumps that up to 80%. I also figure that in any case, when we get our first big snow of the year, he'll be at 60% anyway.

Gil, his daughter, and I spent a chunk of yesterday looking at three-bedroom apartments online. Generally speaking, they were in the $1000 to $1100/month range, with outliers at either end of that. Split three ways, that's reasonable, and so we looked at which apartments offered the most for our $1100. Dagny found what's probably the best complex in terms of location and amenities, but that's as far as we went yesterday.

The final thing Gil said yesterday on the topic was that the next step was up to us, Dagny and me, in terms of assembling the means to actually move. What he may not realize is that saying this pretty much meant that, indeed, he'll move west, making our expenses lower than if only Dagny and I were to go.

Assembling the means is more of a concern for me than for Dagny, truly, because Gil will probably carry Dagny at least in the short term. I said recently that I'd need to assemble $2000 to be able to do pretty much what I did last year, move west and get a job in Vegas. On the one hand, that number will go down if I'm splitting expenses three ways. On the other hand, my expenses will actually be higher in an unfurnished apartment; my furniture disappeared when Gil sold his house while I was in Vegas last year. The sum total of my property right now isn't much more than what fits into a big Chrysler.

In my mind, the move will happen in mid-January, which gets us past the holidays and, in all likelihood, past the family obligations I'll have as my grandmother passes away. This could mean that we're leaving while we're getting weather here in Michigan, and in any case will mean that the Route 66 path west is less likely to be, mmm, exciting than driving through the mountains west of Denver. (The one time I was on that stretch of road in the winter, right past our exit they were stopping traffic to check that chains were on the tires. Not only do I not own chains, I don't even know how to work them; Michigan gets a lot of snow but mostly doesn't have any mountains.)

In any case: It looks like January. And, unlike last time, this time I don't expect to disappear from the internet while I'm there: Those who love to read about my trials and tribulations will likely not be disappointed.