Bingo in a bar. What a great idea. I’m going to drink, I’m going to play bingo.
I’ll probably win.
I look over at Di’s cards. Despite having won an earlier game, she has been suspiciously quiet.
I stare at her until she notices. “What now?” she says, looking around. “Who? What’d I miss?”
“Go ahead,” she sighs, pulling deeply on a Bloody Mary. “I may have over-indulged over the weekend. Any abuse you want to mete out, I accept.”
“G-48,” the woman on the mic calls. “G four eight.”
Di pulls a toothpick full of olives out of her drink, passes it to me. “There may even be pictures of me dancing,” she says, shaking her head. “I can’t imagine…”
I pop her unwanted olives into my mouth. I’ve known Diana for eight years. I’ve not seen her dance once.
I would very much like to see these photos.
“I-21,” the woman on the mic says. “I two one.”
I daub frantically at my cards.
“Bingo!” shouts one of the many drunks at the table next to us. “No, wait. Just kidding.”
The table laughs uproariously with an intensity and decibel level normally found just moments before a certain ball drops in Times Square. The crowded table has a median age of maybe 24, and the last hour or so has been devoted to loud displays of blurtings of the obvious and clichéd sexual innuendo.
One can only imagine how I came to dread the call of “O-69”.
“Ah cain’t wait ‘til those kids shut up,” mutters the elderly woman that has joined us at our table. Her cards laid out in front of her, she adjusts them after each called number, lining them up perfectly. She picks up her diet Coke with gnarled arthritic fingers. “Gawd.”
“B-12,” the woman calls.
“Shots!” the guy with two full sleeves of tattoos calls out. “B-12 means shots! We need shots!”
The table erupts into thigh-slapping laughter. It’s the second time this has come up tonight, but that B-12 comment never gets old.
I concentrate on my cards. The game this time around is “kite” – four in a corner with a diagonal line leading to it. I smile. I like when there’s a little challenge to it. I pick up my dauber, a bright blue piece of work I have a good feeling about. I smile with satisfaction at the growing “kite” in front of me. By golly, these cards are really shaping up…
I look up.
I am literally and figuratively seated half-way between semi-unconscious drunken nuisance and semi-cranky crone.
And I smile again.
Things are progressing nicely.