Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I'm gonna start with this story because it's lighthearted. I used to play bingo sorta regularly... maybe 3-4 times a year? Ok, I wasn't one of the diehard, blue-haired ladies who are there every Friday night, but I knew what I was doing. I keep daubers in my glove box. I think that makes me a bingo player. I typically go alone because I don't know anybody else who enjoys it. I have a whole routine: the number of cards that I play, what food I'm going to order at which intermission, which special games I'll splurge on. It's like an entertainment ritual.

A couple of weeks ago I was bored on a Saturday night and decided to go drop $40 on a night of bingo. First of all, I didn't order my pre-game appetizer of goopy nachos and Pepsi. This time I just brought my bottle of water. Everything else was typical though... alone, 18 cards, and some specials. The first set had me feeling a little weird. I chalked it up to being out of practice cause it's been a while. At the first intermission, I skipped my typical meal of crispy, deep-friend corn dog, fries, and another Pepsi. (I'm going to leave that typo because I think it was a Freudian slip.) I stuck with the water. During the second part I found my mind wandering all over the place. I couldn't focus and I was having a hard time keeping up with my cards. I was bored! In the second intermission, I went without the usual hot fudge sundae. And it began to dawn on me that something was definitely wrong. I was not having fun.

Here are my conclusions... First of all, I actually think the lack of sugar, coupled with it being late at night, slowed down my brain. I think the carbs usually give me that jittery energy that lets me play 18 cards at once. So I was stressed that I couldn't keep up. Secondly, I'm not sure it's the bingo that I enjoyed in the first place. I think it was just an excuse to eat what I call "carnival food." And I don't mean that in a nasty way. Carnival food is my particular kryptonite. Real deep-fried foods like corn dogs, french fries, funnel cake, elephant ears, on and on, washed down by the sweet nectar of Pepsi (which I was drinking before water) is my idea of manna from Heaven. I seriously will go to any event where there will be fried-food vendors: home shows, auto shows, the county fair, the flea market, any sporting event, and, apparently, bingo.

This is probably going to get a big "duh" from all of you, but this night of bingo was the moment I realized that food is fun! And I don't mean enjoyable. It's a form of entertainment for me. Yes, food brings pleasure such as satisfaction, comfort, indulgence, memories, and more. But I mean food as literal entertainment: a thing that diverts or amuses or stimulates. And without the food, sitting there, stamping a sheet of numbers over and over, all alone, was really depressing.


  1. This is your version of lighthearted?
    I think there's also the concept of ritual. We like ritual. And you were trying the ritual, with change. That's hard, no matter what you were trying to change. I think all people breaking cycles and addictions go through something similar.
    I would think the next best thing to do is find new rituals - ones based on the healthier lifestyle you are seeking.