may think that BINGO is for the geriatric but in reality it is very exciting. you've got your double hardways, the double action, the powerball and of course the dauber cozys. (see picture at right)
the only place i've played BINGO is at the virgin river hotel and casino in mesquite, nevada ... and i can only refer to it by it's entire name... because i don't want people thinking i just went to the "virgin river". i'm comfortable at the virgin river hotel and casino. i know where the BINGO room is located, the same lady hands out the free sodas (by the way her hair is amazing... i have no idea how she makes it so poofy), i know it will reak of stale cigarette smoke, everything is familiar.
last night was a bit different. my friends found out that just across the street was a smoke free BINGO parlor. at the eureka hotel and casino and of course there's the giant hamsteak and eggs meal for like $3.99. so we changed plans. i had anxiety, someplace new... how will it work? will i embarrass myself? will i look stupid? we find the BINGO parlor with relative ease and get in line to buy our cards.
the lady takes one look at my friends and i and says "i sure hope you guys have your id's with you." we all chuckled and she smiled briefly and said... "now get 'em out". (side story: i lost my wallet a month ago and i don't have a driver's license so i've been using my passport as my id.) so i pulled out my passport and she makes a big deal about it (too much attention argh) then she finds my birthday and i sheepishly mumble "i'm flattered you think i'm not old enough" or something lame like that... and the lady bellows.. "oh you're old!." hardeee har har.. ugh.
we try and find a seat together, purchase our dauber from the vending machine... table hop, fight with some native american ladies over chairs they supposedly had reserved and get settled. now you have to understand, BINGO is serious business. people spend entire days and weekends dedicated to BINGO sessions. they stake their claim, settle in with their cozys and know every nuance of the game. you don't mess around in the BINGO session, EVER. our group had a bunch of newbies and was talking loud and marking their cards wrong... again too much attention, but i was hoping it would get better.
i've only won money once before playing BINGO, a total of $17.50 (i paid $11 to play) and that was big time. normally you pay your money, some lady in the corner that is chain smoking wins and you grumble about your bad luck. this night was a bit different. during one of the games i only needed one number to get win. then another number and another.... six numbers... and then from across the room BINGO! damnit i was so close! pay that lucky winner, $50!
as the intensity of the session mounted.. i was marking my numbers as fast as possible trying to remember the rules that are a bit different at the eureka... one you have to call BINGO when you get it and can't wait until the next number is called. two you must yell BINGO loud and hold your card in the air above your head. also, they show the ball on the video screen before it's actually called and you have to wait to call BINGO until the lady actually says the number. so much to remember.
i dubiously mark the numbers as they're called with my bright green dauber. again i get close... two more before i had BINGO, then B15. holy freakin' crap one number left! i begin to sweat. i hope a i win i hope i don't i don't know maybe i marked the card wrong what if i'm lame oh no oh no. then another number is called....nope, not mine... i begin to chant B10, B10, B10 (it never works but i do it anyway). i focused my attention on the video screen to see the next number up.... the caller slowly turned the ball around... and it's.....B10.. B10? that's it! i yell (as much as i do... so it' was probably talking loudly to most people) BINGO! i even do a bit of fist pumping and celebrating...
all of a sudden the crowd is mumbling... like an angry mob "do you need B10? she didn't call it yet... you can't win she didn't call it grrrrr grumble" i begin to panic.... oh no they stopped the BINGO session because of me.. what if i messed up? the checker lady comes over to look at my card and says "honey, you have to wait until the number is actually called." i was mortified.... i thought i was going to get beat up by the crowd of senior citizens for messing things up... so the caller resumed her composure and called out "B10"... i sheepishly say "BINGO" and held my card up, not like everyone in the room wasn't waiting for it. the checker lady laughs loudly and chastises me for not calling it louder...rahhh. then, there was a few seconds where they were checking my card and it looked like it wasn't right and i had messed up... oh freakin no! i felt dumb... dumb... dumb.
a few moments later someone plunked four $20's, one $10, one $5 and five $1 gold chips down in front of me and i felt a bit better.. pay that lucky winner $100! worth the social anxiety and sweat rings?... maybe so.