I think I deserve a medal.  I really do.  For one, I managed to hold off posting this for a few days, and for two, I didn't get arrested on the night in question.

But let me start at the start and make a winding path towards the end.  The facts within this post may be obscured by the nervous breakdown that occurred, but all facts are correct as far as I can remember.  If by some chance, Kellie, Kerry or James put their two pence in in the comments, feel free to ignore them.  They are simply out to slander my good name.

And what a good name I have.  It is not often that Kellie makes a suggestion, and I think "Eh?", but me being me, I just go along with it and see where I end up.

In this case, that puts me in the same boat as those that stayed behind on the Titanic when it sank.  Pun may or may not have been intended.

So last week, Kellie says something about us going to see a DJ or a Club or something.  Fair enough, if we go we go, if we can't get a sitter, you go and I'll be the sitter.  Not an issue for me.  Then as the weekend approached, the "DJ/Club" thing became "Ooooh we're going to bingo!" followed by excited clapping.

Kellie clapping, not me.

Now, my vision of bingo is old ladies sat around with sheets of paper, muttering about kids today, the price of jam, where they were young, wagon wheels being small and walking five miles in any direction being an uphill journey in both directions.

However, I have been informed that it's cool now, and loads of people do it.  What swayed it, however, was "food" and "bar"

Sold to the man on a diet.

Now, here in Sunny Basildonia, we have a very large bingo hall, and silly me, that's where I assume we're going.  When Kellie starts talking about "trains" and "Southend" I question her sanity.  "Well the nearest one is Southend!" she proclaims.  Straight away, I wonder if this is the woman that was BORN and spent a good portion of her growing life IN or AROUND Basildon.  The bingo hall is massive, and going in or out the town center, you have to go past it.

So, now we're meeting Kerry and James on the train - two people (younger than me!) that also seem quite excited at the prospect of sitting with old ladies smelling of pee. I think that most of that excitement was to have a kid-free evening.

But I digress.  So we meet on the train, where the girls start proclaiming FULL HOUSE and ALL IN!

Yes, we all know the latter is poker.

So, we jump off the train, and James says we've got about a mile and a half walk.  Fine by me, I walk everywhere.  The girls however... Wa wa wa heels wa wa wa hot wa wa wa clouds wa wa wa sweating...

Sexy Shoes!
Now, in their defence, they were wearing heels.  There were also told how far they had to go, and a fifteen/twenty minute walk wouldn't kill anyone.  Plus, you know, me and James wear sensible footwear.  Kellies heels - pictured right - were chunkier than Kerrys heels, but none the less, these put Kellie on an Eye-To-Eye basis with me, and she's usually a short-arse.  And so we start walking through Southend.  Well, me and James start walking, the girls start trudging.

To say parts of Southend are rough is like saying parts of my body are hairy.  And to go from A to B, we had to go through said hairy rough part.  I don't know if it was the weather, the fact me and James tower above most people, or the fact us lads probably had the expression of men that wanted to die, but we didn't get mugged.  But the area... Not nice.  So twenty minutes of girls moaning about their feet, how far it was and so on, we arrived.

We queued up for a good ninety seconds, then James clocked the bar.  And we let the girls sort out the memberships and stuff. Rum & Coke with a Sambuca? Yes please!  We already got the low-low from the barkeep that tonight would be busy, because they have the big prizes, but we weren't convinced.  The place was very quiet.  What we did notice, however, was the alarming speed of numbers being called out.  Hopefully they would realise there were idiots present and slow down a bit.

Armed with drinks, we found a table, and then the girls found us.  Armed with books and pages and "dabbers" and stuff.  Upon opening the book of "games" I knew right away a nervous breakdown would be imminent.

We all know Dan has OCD.  We all know Dan is colour blind.  We all know that Dan is an anally-retentive git that likes things just... So.

Looking at the sheets (left) I could see I was in trouble.  And, much to their amusement, everyone else could see that I was going to be a source of much amusement.

Food. That was what I needed, some food would help me out no problems, so we ordered our various grubs, even if Kerry DID order a warm salad.  Which is just wrong.  Kellie had a Ploughmans, though it looked more like the Ploughmans left overs.  I can't remember what James had, but I had what was billed as Rocky Road Chicken.

You probably just though the same thing I did - Rocky Road? With chocolate sauce, marshmallow and stuff?  But now - it was more Hunter Chicken, with cheese and barbecue sauce.  Very nice.

More drinks for the table, check the time - a minute till the game was due to start.  I open the book - feel the incoming breakdown - and start to ask the girls "Right, what do we do" when they announce that, as girls have to, they were going to the loo.  Together.  Leaving me and James to cry that the game was SECONDS away from beginning.

Enter our guardian angel.  The lady sat just behind us was a complete gem, and even though she was playing her own game, she came over to us, showed us which page we needed to be on, what screen to watch for the numbers and so on.  When the girls returned several minutes later, we explained to them what she explained to us, and got down to it.

To say I was a nervous wreck after the first SHEET would be an understatement.  I didn't know if I was coming or going, if I should be dabbing the pen on the paper or trying to do my wrists with it.  Not only did the numbers come one after the other after the other after the other, but you then have to find said-number on a sheet of paper.  Now, I get that they are arranged in columns, but my OCD dictates - nay, demands that they should be in numerical order, lowest to highest thank you very much.

A typical round would go like this:

NUMBER (Which I miss)
NUMBER (Which I speak over to ask what the previous number was)
NUMBER (Which I miss because I'm looking for that other one)
NUMBER (Which I miss because I'm asking what the number was two calls ago...)

And so on.  The saviour behind us was cracking up, I was muttering to myself, the girls were getting pissy because some old dear had called on her first line already, while they were still trying to work out what they were doing... There's a good chance I won several times, but I was so engrossed in listening to the silly voice with his silly numbers, I just plain missed it.

So by now I am stressed, and for a "Social" night out, you can't chat to one another, in case you miss a number,  You can't go pee what you want - again, you might miss a number. You can't stretch your legs in case the almighty number is missed. As soon as the game began, the hall went SILENT.

And did I mention that with ten minutes to go before the start of the game, the place flooded with people from all walks of life. Young, Old, Single, Couples..

But the biggest kick to the proverbials came when we realised I could have had a technological pad of some sort instead of a splodgy felt tip pen and some paper.  A pad that pretty much did all the work for you.  Which, I will add, 90% of the people in the building were using.  As we were told, it works out a bit more expensive, but makes the game easier.


In order to oppress the rising breakdown, I remained on the Rum & Coke & Sambuca Shots, but us boys got bored and showed the girls the cocktail menu.  The cocktails they served in pitchers.  So, four pitchers later, I am a little less muttering-to-myself, a little more muttering-aloud-to-everyone-that-can-hear.

"Chug! Chug! Chug!"
The solution? Force-feed Dan as much booze as we can to shut him up.  Bare in mind, amid this chaos, James is playing footsie with me, Kerry is getting pissed off at the people winning the £50 lines, the £200 houses, the £1000 games, James is plying the world with booze, and Kellie is trying to avoid my splodgy-green-felt-tip that I keep accidentally stabbing her in the arm with.

And her upper arm. And her forehead. And pretty much any exposed skin on anyone that comes near me.  All fair game.  After all, I need my entertainments.

When the bingo finished, we loitered around as we were told there was "more stuff" going on.  Play on the machines, and they'll match what we put in.  So we lost a fiver of ours and a fiver of the house.  So, technically, they gained our fiver.  We ate the "free food" they laid out which was dubious to say the least.  Chocolate Chip cookies weren't too sad, but then, we were all a little tipsy.

As we were about to go, we were told "Don't forget to enter the prize draw for our great prize!" and on looking over, saw a DVD Player.  Not a Blu-Ray, not an HD, just a bog standard "Upscaling" DVD player.  We chuckled, we scoffed, we gave in our tickets and we realised we had fifteen minutes to call, get, and ride a cab to the station.

Ten minutes out, Kellies mobile rings... "Miss Castleman, Congratulations!  You won the DVD player..."

So I have to travel to Southend and collect it this week.  DOH!

Bubonic Plague: Essex
Quite HOW we made it to the station in time is beyond me, but make it we did.  I think the cabbie drove fast so he could get that rowdy lot out.  How we weren't arrested for having two green-ink-covered girls with us is also beyond me.  I expected some health organisation to shut the area down due to the plague.  But it didn't happen.

James, we noticed, was considerably less green than everyone else, so on the train, I decided to remedy the situation.  After a brief struggle, we learned that ink - like every other fluid out there - doesn't do well under pressure, and kind of sort of... POPS!  And compressed fluid just goes where ever the hell it likes.

My hands and arms.  Covered.  Kerry got a bit, the poor man the girls were pestering got a bit, but Mr Train looked like a Gremlin had fallen into a food processor without a lid on.  Multi-Directional Splatter Bomb.

However, it was noted that James escaped without a drop on him.  Not a smidge, not a smudge, nothing.

So Kellie stabbed him in the leg with her pen for good measure.  Take that Clean Boy!

Aside from the fact my brain pooled around my ankles by half seven, we did have a brilliant night out. I think I was the entertainment for the other three in the group, and if I wasn't paranoid, I'd think they took me there knowing full well I would fall to the ground sobbing about Ascending Order and random shades of colours.

Yet somehow, they think I am going back?!  Fools...

"You are going back or I crush THIS!"

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One Response to “Bingo”

Adullamite said...

Sounds like a typical Southend night out to me.....