Music Bingo

The sign hung in the window of my college cafeteria as I was walking past. “Music Bingo.” Music Bingo? What did that mean? People inside were setting up, and I checked the time on my phone. I had plenty of time before my hall meeting, and I remembered seeing something about Music Bingo on my peer leader’s event sheet – god, I still could not remember her name, I felt so bad – so I figured I’d flag her down and show her that I was attending. I liked bingo. Heck, I loved bingo. I was good at bingo, and music was second nature to me. I was sure I’d be good.
Of course, the first problem presented to me was where to sit. I didn’t know anyone here, and I’d never really been the kind of person to sit at a table full of random people. For one thing, I didn’t talk much. So I felt like, since I didn’t have anything to contribute to any conversation, that I had no right sitting at someone else’s table and sitting in silence.
So I sat by myself at a table, looking over all of the cards spread across it, deciding which was best; there are lucky and unlucky bingo cards, you know. I waved at my peer leader from across the room to show her that I was there, but I wasn’t invited to come sit, so I didn’t assume I was welcome. Years in middle school and high school had taught me better. So I stuck to my big, empty table. Someone – I can’t remember her name now, because I’m still terrible with names – looked at me from a table away, over her paper-plastic cup of soda, and studied me.
“Is someone coming to play with you?” she asked. It took me a minute to find my skittish, freshman voice.
“No,” I replied, “but it’s okay.”
“No,” she repeated, in a firmer tone, “it’s not.” She pulled out a seat for me to sit in. “Come sit. I hate seeing people sit by themselves for anything.”
I did, albeit cautiously. I was still afraid to speak, afraid to contribute to the conversation she and the other girls at the table were engaged in.
Bingo began, and suddenly a wave of panic hit me. I didn’t know any songs that had been on the radio recently. I was going to spectacularly fail in front of these strangers who had insisted I sit with them. So I faked it. I put random bingo markers down for random songs and never once called bingo. That’s the last thing I needed; to call out “bingo!” loudly and confidently on a card full of songs I didn’t know, proving myself an idiot to everyone in the vicinity.
I stayed to play every round, though, and I had fun. I glanced at the clock on my phone, and groaned, swearing. I’d missed my hall meeting.


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