This past Friday night I got roped into BINGO. Yes the game where letter and number permutations are drawn and called and one must get a row down, across, diagonal, and as I just found out, a postage stamp in the top right corner or all four corners.
Vince, his dad, his cousin, friends of our and I all played bingo at this smoke infused fire house down the street from us Friday evening. I stole glances at my phone periodically wondering if my friend Jon would call like he said he would and save me from this crazy night. It was not to be. Rather, this experience was meant to play out like something from of a movie. And not My Girl.
There I am, cute little me in a sundress sitting amidst old ladies, sketchy white trash folk, scary men with beady little eyes and tattoos, all puffing away, checking me out. They were all probably wondering what I was doing there. So was I.
The night goes on and I'm breathing in the toxic fumes, barely keeping up with combinations yelled and frantically stamping my 45th bingo sheet. Can I at least shout BINGO to make this night worthwhile???!!!
But the best would come when our family friend's 80 yr. old mother calls bingo just as the announcer is reading off another number (did she call bingo in time??) and all hells breaks loose because everyone thinks the old lady shouldn't be allowed to have her card proofed for bingo. It was fierce. These people were up in arms and relentless. For 5 minutes we went back and forth about whether Bernice called bingo in time. The troops were called in and finally they grant permission to read Bernice's card and here after all this hoopla -- she has bad bingo.
Yes. BAD BINGO. There is such a term. It's for when you call Bingo and in actuality, you don't have bingo. So all that squabbling and poor Bernice doesn't even have bingo!! Bonnie, her daughter, is across from her and says, "Mom, I'm so embarrassed! How could you?!" Meanwhile, I double over in laughter. The crowd is still sneering at our table over the logistics of the call, some smug that Bernice didn't win, some annoyed that we delayed the game, and Bonnie is hiding her face ashamed of her mother. I was dying. Clearly this was why I stayed - to witness the sheer madness of Bingo.
Vince and his cousin won once and damn near scared everyone in the room (this is an experienced crowd -- they raise their hands and mumble Bingo while Vince and Rob jump up, send their chairs flying backwards and scream Bingo at the top of their lungs - naturally) and now insist on returning 2-3 days a week. I may return with a camera. This could make for some fabulous documentary photos. My sister and I got the best laugh out of this story the next day imagining our grandmothers calling out bad bingo and getting the population in a fury.