Casino for Monks

Until I start making money as an independent knitwear designer, I teach yoga. Six classes a week at three different locations. (I have taught up to nine classes a week.) At the end of last year, I moved to a new studio. It’s a mobile home that has been split into two office spaces. For the past few months, I’ve been the only tenant, but that changed last night.

I drove up to find a monster truck, a dirty SUV parked crooked, and another truck with a trailer, also crooked, in front of my building. The red-lettered For Rent sign gone.

The new tenants are two guys, both named Scott, and Scott’s girlfriend Brenda, and their new venture is a game room. Except for horseracing and casinos owned by Native Americans, gambling for money is illegal in Texas. But some enterprising citizens have found a way around that by opening video game rooms that pay out in gift cards, and these places have been popping up like ganglion cysts.


My neighbor’s bright and airy competition.

I envisioned all sorts of ways this would intrude on my peaceful hour of class. I imagined that my students would take offence at the sounds, smells, and sights coming from next door, and they would all be gone by the end of the month, taking up pilates or Brazilian jiu jitsu.

I asked the two Scotts all manner of questions about their operation, and ending up not disliking their answers. The gaming machines don’t make noise. They won’t play music. They’re not serving alcohol or allowing byob. And smoking isn’t allow inside, although someone there smokes—Brenda, I think—because I could smell it when I toured the small, depressing room. Yes, someone might whoop if they win big, and “the ladies might get to talking,” but it’s mostly going to be quiet over there.

So, a casino for monks.

The only issue I can see is parking. Or one of their patrons realizes that the game room’s ATM machine is in front of the door between our offices and someone breaks in to my empty office to get to it. Or someone holds them up at gunpoint for all the quarters and Visa gift cards in the house and we have to run for our lives before we can do savasana.

On the bright side:

  • Both guys have the same name, so I don’t have to remember who is who.
  • Brenda might decide to stop smoking and get healthy, so I could get another yoga student out of this.
  • I can be concerned about parking because I have a car and a job to drive it to. (Yep, I dangled a participle.)