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Our Yucaipa Oct. 2015

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4 OUR YUCAIPA | OCTOBER 2015 Want to shut someone up? Take them to bingo. By Courtney Fox Taylor Bingo is not the ideal networking event. However, if you're on a date with someone you don't want to talk to, bingo's the call. Let me explain. I belong to a business group called Business Networking International (BNI). (Our chapter is the BNI Yucaipa Thunderbirds. We meet every Tuesday morning at 7 am at the Oak House on the Boulevard. If you own a business and want to check it out, please do. Call me for more information: (909) 797-3647.) Okay, now let me explain for real. Our BNI group decided to have a networking event so we all met at San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino. Bingo is right in the name so you know you're going to get quality bingo. I went with my husband, Mr. Lucky, and my girlfriend Jolie, who is also a member of BNI (and a great printer and maker of promotional products - call me and I'll give you her number). While they waited in line at the entrance, I stuck my head in the bingo room. It was the size of a football arena, except instead of grass and bleachers, there were rows and rows and rows of tables. I spotted my friend Adam (Empire Independent Insurance, specializing in commercial) and asked him if anyone else had arrived. "You're the first one I've seen," he said. "It sure is quiet in here," I said, looking around. "If I ever start a bingo hall, I'm getting a DJ." I spotted someone dressed in uniform-looking clothes and said with an air of confidence, "I'm with the BNI Yucaipa Thunderbirds. We have a table reserved. Can you tell me where that is?" "Um," he said, looking around at the hundreds of long tables. "No." I don't know why I'm ever surprised to find out I'm not as important as I think I am, as I'm reminded of that fact quite often. We walked out to the front where we found Matthew (Pro Home Care, carpet/floor cleaners) who had helped organize this event. He directed us to a long table that had a piece of paper with our name on it. It was 3 pm, the time we were told to be there and we were ready to start. "It doesn't start until 4," Matthew said. "I wanted you all to get here early so you could mark your cards and get some food." "I'm going to look for my lucky shamrock game," my husband announced as he jumped up from the table and left the room. "What do you mean 'mark the cards'?" I asked. "There are patterns for most games," explained Matthew's wife Kim. "You use a dauber to mark out the numbers you don't have to worry about, then when the game starts, you use a different color dauber to mark the numbers when they're called." She pointed to a page in a program that had over a dozen different patterns, indicating the different games we were to play. I started marking my game sheets and then Mr. Lucky's. It took a good 40 minutes to complete the complex patterns. Twice. When Mr. Lucky came back he said, "I didn't find the lucky shamrock game." Then he looked at his sheets. "Why'd you mark them all up?" he asked. "So you would know where you need to focus when they call the numbers. I marked the ones that aren't going to be part of the pattern," I said, pointing to the page in the program I had followed. "There were about 10 that I marked for you." "You did this wrong," he said, pointing to a sheet where I had mismarked a couple of boxes. "Oh. My. God," I said. "You're welcome." Other members of our group had arrived and were getting settled at our table. "I-19," said a voice. "What's that?" I asked Matthew. "We're starting," he said, not looking up. He was marking his cards. I grabbed my dauber and looked for the number on one of my 12 cards. Card one, no. Card two, yes (daub). "O-61." "What? I'm not done with card two!" No one answered me. They were too busy looking for I-19 and O-61. "I think he's going too…" "N-40." I looked around. Daub daub daub. Everyone was busily marking their cards. I had one spot of green on one I-19. I shook my head and thought, "Okay, focus. Just remember I-19, O-61 and N-40 and go back when there's free…" "O-72." I briefly considered taking notes on a pad of paper then going back at my leisure. Would they let me come in tomorrow after I reviewed all my… "O-69." Whistles came from all over the room. Hundreds of whistles. Under her breath, Jolie said, "Oh grow up." A few minutes later someone shouted "Bingo!" and I threw down my dauber, leaned back in my seat and exhaled. "What?!?" Mr. Lucky said. "That's it? Someone won?" He would say that after every game, which was overwhelming annoying by game 3. By game 12, I was wondering how our marriage would survive bingo. The object of the second game was to get parallel lines, or Railroad Tracks. Train whistles rose from around the room. "Really?" I said. "Is there a bingo store where they get those accessories? Do they have their monogrammed bingo duffel…" "G-48." I shut up and got down to business. There was no time to speculate on the private lives of the other thousand people in the room. I blocked out their choo-choo noises and daubed like my life depended on it. "B-8." "Oops, I shoulda had a B-8," Jolie said. Everyone laughed. We soon learned that bingo jokes have a very short shelf life, as in one and done. Remember to take your B-12 came and went quickly. Although I did join in on the O-69 whistles, mainly because it annoyed Jolie, and that's what are friends for. But that was the only noise I made. The BNI Thunderbirds did not network, nor did they win. And, for the record, if I do open a bingo hall, there will be NO music.

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