I can finally see why the geriatric set is so intensely loyal to the game of bingo. The mental escapism the game provides is unreal. You are so intent on winning that it consumes you. At least that’s how I felt when I made my way to Lovelife at the Standard, the bingo night held in the hotel’s lobby.
Walking into the Standard on Sunday night was the culmination of two years of empty promises my friends and I made saying every week “Let’s do bingo this Sunday,” something that never happened until last night.
You walk in and there is no waiting for you. You pick up a bingo card and marker, find a place to sit, and start stabbing at the card as the numbers are rattled off. My friends and I sat near the back of the room on the lumpy couches of the hotel’s lobby. The muffled voice of the caller is heard over a poor sound system, which instantly bonded us with our neighbors as everything coming out of our mouths was “What did she say? Did she say I 59? There’s no such thing as I 59!”
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Most of the rounds played were your standard bingo – five in row going vertically, diagonally or horizontally, or marking off all four corners – and the winnings included everything from weeklong passes to the hotel to relaxing spa packages. Unfortunately for my friends and I, everyone in the back of the room seemed to be having a bit of bad luck. Not one of us had called bingo.
Then the Lovelife round started, which consisted in forming a heart pattern on the card with the numbers called out. The prize: a free night at the Standard. Our neighbor, a 20-something in a flowy short dress stood up and said, “If any one of us win this, we are all going to have a party here tonight!” Maybe it was the one-too-many glasses of champagne, but everyone agreed. We all focused intensely on winning this. My friend, who was confused as to what numbers on her card would make the heart pattern, was the closest to winning. But then, only three numbers away to Standard-room bliss someone shouted “Bingo!”
I don’t take losing lightly. I was heartbroken – no pun intended. I collected my losses and went home. Until next Sunday I suppose.