Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

I joined the parents for Third Night Bingo at the First Baptist Church, we arrived an hour early to get a good seat. The church is housed in an old building, with exposed pipes and signs in the bathroom asking users to be courteous and conscientious about their toilet paper use due to old, sensitive pipes. Hmmm, I didn’t expect too see that in the states. We gathered at the table and I should have suspected something was up when Mom paid $3 for a cowbell, which she placed on the table in front of her. We got some water and waited for the game to begin. The music began and the pastor, who has long gray hair, announced our hosts/hostesses for the evening. First up was Chevy Suburban, who emerged from behind the curtain on stage dressed in a cop uniform, since the evening’s proceeds would go to the Shop with a Cop program. Like most women, I’m a sucker for a man in uniform, but I realized as Chevy walked the crowd that he wasn’t a man. Actually, he was a man. But he was a big tall man dressed like a woman, with a purple wig, fake eyelashes, plastic handcuffs for earrings and real handcuffs on each wrist as bracelets. His outfit was topped off with knee high silver boots, with about an 8 inch platform on each one. He was disturbingly attractive, although I wasn’t sure if it was the uniform or the physique. I pondered hitting on him later in the evening, but there is nothing in my dating repertoire about how to pick up on a cross dresser.

Three other men, dressed as women, and tacky women at that, joined Chevy on the stage to start the bingo game. I had been warned about “party fouls” before the game began, and the he/she’s patrolled the room looking for guilty parties. Not long after we began play, one of the ladies blew a whistle and loudly yelled “Party Foul!” I looked around the room and saw a woman sitting at the table in front of our host/hostess, holding her head in her hand. Apparently during this Bingo game, placing your hands or elbows on the table constitutes a party foul, and the entire table is punished for it. The person who committed the foul has to wear the black “Amy Shamey” wig, while the others at the table are given turbans to wear. Each person is given a gawdy, glittery purse, which they must carry around the room as they dance to loud music, shaking their tails for donations from other players. The offending parties have to continue wearing the headgear until another table commits a party foul. I held my hands close in my lap as Chevy Suburban wandered past, waiting for me to foul. Cell phones ringing are also a party foul, and according to Bingo regulars, the hosts/hostesses have no qualms about answering your phone for you and soliciting donations, after telling the caller that you were indeed in the middle of a gay Bingo game. I turned off my phone and crossed my arms.

The evening ended with the awarding of the “Magna D.I. Chicken,” a horrid statue of a chicken with chicks that is apparently passed around from month to month. I did not win the lucky chicken, but I did rub its belly for good luck. The woman who won it last month and brought it back called it the “unemployment” chicken, and said when she won it last month she had been unemployed for 8 months, but after winning the chicken she got two job offers. I rubbed the heck out of the chicken, since my task for the next week is to secure some kind of employment to finance the next leg of my journey, touring with the parents in the camp trailer for a couple months this winter. We posed for pictures with the “ladies” when the game was over, and try as I might, I could not come up with any kind of a pickup line to use on Chevy Suburban. Oh well, I guess there’s always next month.

Nothing pulls me out of my wallowing and self-pity like my parents taking me to Wendover. With $20 bucks in my pocket, we headed out to the great city of lights on the Utah/Nevada border. It was an enjoyable drive, we chatted about nothing and everything at the same time. There’s something about the comfort of being with parents, regardless of how old I am, that always makes me feel safe. Having been in my own head with thoughts of doom, it was a welcome break. I had intended to ditch them for the trip, but after leaving their house after Bingo last night I sat in the car and wondered what I was doing. I could go home and burrow into the couch for another evening of bad cable programming and sleeping in, or I could hang with them and forget my worries for a while. So I grabbed my bag back out of the car and knocked on their door, taking my place on the blowup mattress that has become a permanent fixture in their apartment for visiting children.

We played in a pack, all three of us lining up and spinning the wheels of fortune. We arrived mid-morning, which is about the time that the seniors are finishing their play before they flee for the weekend drinkers/partiers. I have had a love/hate relationship with the Double Diamond slot machines for more than 20 years, convinced that a jackpot from one of them would secure my fortune. I headed to the cashier’s desk to change my money into dollar bills, and inquired of the man behind the desk where the penny machines were. Apparently slot machines are sensitive, and I unknowingly committed a prejudice crime when I called them penny machines.
“Many of our machines are multi-denominational,” the man told me in a scolding manner, as if I should have known that calling penny machines by their rightful name made them sound cheap. I took my change and sheepishly went in search of a multi-denominational slot machine. I no sooner sat down at one of the Double Diamond machines, when an older gentleman began talking to me. “Where are you from?” “How long are you in Wendover?” etc. Within the course of about 4 minutes, he had let me know that he had 50 houses in California and split his time between Utah and there. After 4.5 minutes he asked me out to dinner. Seriously? Does that ever work? Can you really pick up on someone you just met? I wasn’t offended, and after graciously declining his offer I had to wonder if it was really a bad thing to give it a shot when you’ve just met someone. How do you pick up on someone in a place where there’s a 100 percent chance that you’ll never see them again?

With that thought in my mind I began wandering the casino looking for another Double Diamond machine. I always play the diamonds, disregarding the newer, shinier games because I don’t understand them. Fueled by my pondering, I decided to try a machine called Double your Monkey. I sat down and inserted my dollar bill, then spun the reels. The first spin won me nothing, but I have to admit it was fun watching the monkeys jump up and down, and one of them “hee, hee’d” as the wheels spun. Hmm. Not the Double Diamonds, but it was entertaining. I spun the reels a second time, and have no idea what matched on the screen, but the monkey started jumping up and down, screeching and giggling as I racked up 150 credits. Haha. I couldn’t help but laugh, and as I spun the reels a third time, I found myself dancing in my seats and laughing with the monkeys. I took my ten bucks out of the machine, and started hitting all of the machines I’ve never paid attention to. I played one with a grizzly bear that was hunting for fish, one with a Texas oil man and oilwells that spit money, and one that lined ducks up in a row before they all stood up and started dancing. I spent the entire day being entertained and learning new games, and left with a few bucks in my pocket.

I’ve been accused of being stubborn and holding onto my beliefs even when they don’t serve me well. I broke out of that mold today, with the help of a few animals friends like the bear and the ducks.

August 22, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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