For my 100th blogoversary, I gave you this.
For my 200th, I gave you this.
For my 300th, I debated for a long time what I would do and then it passed and I forgot.
For my 400th, I took a powder. I didn't even know it had passed.
But 500. That's a milestone.
That's a lot of nonsense on one blog.
I could not spare you the pleasure of reading about my 500th blogoversary.
I was quite young when I started this blog. You might remember I looked like this.
And then something happened. With all of the creativity came a lot of wisdom and with that wisdom came wrinkles and more creativity. And with all of that, came my desire to go to bingo.
That's right, bingo.
My sister e-ster started going this summer and
I should have known how the night would go when we parked and saw this mess. I blame the church for not getting qualified help that would resurface the parkling lot before repainting. It must have been my sister's youthful eyes that made sure we parked within the current line scheme.
In that person's defense, Catholic churches do have a weird belief that everyone can have a parking space if they just paint long yellow lines on the parking lot, instead of breaking it up the way it is in every other parking lot. This person probably is a devout Catholic that thought these were continuous lines.
I have to tell you that my sister's friend is VERY into bingo. She goes as soon as the doors open, like 2 hours ahead of time, to get the boards and get all set up. If you are going to join her, you must give her the cash ahead of time so she can get you the proper boards and tape them all up so they don't "blow away" as my sister explained.
This girl runs bingo prep like the military and e-ster doesn't question any of it, she just shows up and dabs. I asked too many questions and might not be invited back for more bingo.
So, we showed up around 6pm, for the practice rounds (which do allow winning cash, so I don't know what the practice element is about) and were greeted with this.
They usually (I'm like an expert now, so I can say things like "usually") play 2-3 games on one board and the boards are all colored so you know which boards to play on. You'll notice there is a paper bag underneath. That's so you don't have to get up and throw away your boards.
You just open the bag and put it on the floor beside you and you have a space to throw your garbage away all night. Some people got all fancy and folded the top down, but I didn't know about that.
This is what the room looks like and the type of people that were there. All ages, really.
And the shrines. The serious bingo gamers all had little shrines. The lady on the other side of me had a bunch of ceramic elephants that she set up. And see the thing with the 15 on it? That's a needlepointed holder of some sort. Lots of people had these holders. But they didn't hold the boards, so I don't know what the purpose was. But there were lots of shrines. The bingo gamers didn't seem like the type that would a) know what a blog is or b) take kindly to me taking pictures of their shrines for said blog, so I had to sneak this picture in.
It's all totally automated and when someone yells bingo, one of the checkers comes over and reads a code at the bottom of the board. The guy up front types it in the actual board shows up on the screens so everyone can see that indeed, it was a "good bingo" as he said. And then the money is delivered to the winner. There's no hoopla. No flashing lights of music. Kind of a let down, actually.
Unlike bingo in my classroom, there can be many winners. When I play, it's whoever says bingo first and has it correct. At this bingo, everyone who has bingo wins, but they all have to share whatever the money is for that round.
And the amount varies. Some rounds were $75 and one was $500. Several were around $100. There's some serious money to be won. They aren't fooling around.
In order to be a proper bingo player, you are supposed to use these dabbers. I would have just used a good, old fashioned highlighter, but my sister insisted I use her dabbers,
They come in all kinds of colors and sizes and even glitter. Everyone seemed to have lots of dabbers, in case there is some emergency where they run out of ink and can't stamp their boards.
They even make them dirty, like e-ster's. Click on it to read it if you don't know why it's dirty. If you still don't, I can't help you. Ask your husband.
There are, of course, special bingo dabber bags that you can buy. E-ster is hoping a-ster will make her one for Christmas, but that's a long way off. She's bringing them in a grocery store bag right now and if her sister taking pictures of everything with her phone didn't make her stand out, that grocery bag sure did.
Everyone is very serious. Bingo is not to be toyed with. People like their space at the table and don't seem to venture beyond their shrines. Even friends seemed to keep to themselves, especially after an old man yelled at a lady to "JUST MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS" and everyone snickered.
A few people accidentally called bingo when they very definitely didn't have it. I thought one of the checkers would come over and snatch the board away in punishment, but there was nothing punitive. People just yelled "social error", when I thought they said "social hour" and that was it.
I was shocked that you could win and then win again in the evening. I assumed once you won, you had to leave. This is the Catholic church, it tends to be punitive, thus my surprise.
The biggest "social error" happened during the last game. The caller called a number that was correct, but when he entered it into the computer, he put the wrong number so it showed a number on the board that wasn't right. This caused quite an uproar. Then a guy tried to help him fix it which just made that round drag on and it wasn't being fixed. Someone yelled "see, you're just overtired". It sounded just like my grandmother. Everything was always blamed on someone being overtired.
Another shock is that people groan EVERY time someone says bingo. Another difference between my classroom bingo games and this one. If I hear people groaning, we stop playing.
As a clear indicator of my age, I will admit that I lost track of what was going on on more than one occasion. Sometimes I couldn't remember which pattern we were doing and for a second, I would panic that maybe that was the ONE TIME I would win and then I remembered it was a) listed on the sheet in front of me that listed every pattern, board color and prize to be won and b) shown digitally on the bingo board up front and c) just a game and if I lost, it did not mean I was a moron.
My mind wandered a few times and I found myself doing math. Like the time that you had to cover the whole board and if you did it in 49 calls or less, you would win $1199. At 39 calls, I started counting how many more numbers I needed on each board and would that be able to happen before 49. Then I lost track of what I was doing. No one won that amount.
The checkers are senior citizens who walk around with mics and tell the guy up front what the codes are for the winners. One lady had the nastiest, loudest cigarette voice you could ever imagine. I don't know why they give her a mic.
The callers had accents that made me fall on the floor. The practice rounds were called by a guy who kept saying 'tree' instead of 'three'. The main caller had an issue with anything with a 4 and would said "fowa" every time. There are rounds called 'stingers' and people would say 'STINGA' when they won that around.
Both e-ster's and my favorite are the "hoss races". We don't understand the rules, but you can buy an additional ticket that is called a horse race. And it's a very hit or miss thing. It goes alongside a regular round. So, in the middle of the round, out of nowhere, they guy says "watch out for the hosses now, thay-uz a hoss race goin on" and then eventually, someone yells bingo, not hoss race.
It was a fun evening and I will probably go again.
You might remember my "old lady waiting for a bus" pose. That was just foreshadowing of my 500th blogoversary. I should have known bingo was in my near future.
The most entertaining part of the whole night happened as we left. This is at church, remember. So we got out around 9:15 and as we walked out into the parking lot, this woman was on the phone and said, very loudly:
"well, you better effing hurry up it's like ten o'clock"
So, I said, just as loudly to the people I was with:
"no, it's not even close to ten o'clock, it's 9:15"
and we heard her say:
"well fine, 9:30 then but hurry up, I'm standing here"
and a lady walking out with us said:
"I wonder what happens at 10:00"
and I said:
"the priest comes out and arrests you for swearing on campus!"
Oh, my old brain almost forgot. The very best part of the whole night?
One of the patterns was an inside frame which means all of the inside squares except the free space. And I won!! It was a $75 round and 3 of us won, so I won $25. But that's more than I had when I walked in!
I'll have to use it to buy the pieces for my shrine or a sweet needlepoint holder.