This has been a weird week. Let’s begin with lesbian bingo.
I had to drive like a proverbial bat out of hell to meet Stella for lesbian bingo at our vegan restaurant. It took one hour and forty minutes and I was stuck in rush hour traffic the entire time. I was twenty-five minutes late and barely parked the car before launching myself out of it.
So, I needed a win. I also hadn’t eaten all day, so I needed some vegan tacos.
Stella had gotten close in the first couple of games, but hadn’t won. Other lucky ladies had already won books about lesbian nuns and lesbian sports heroes, various souvenirs from Beaver Island on Lake Michigan, and a sander.
I was really jealous of that last one.
Each game, we got within one or two numbers, but luck was favoring the other lesbians.
Well, Stella isn’t gay but she’s a great ally and she wore her dad’s giant chunky watch, so she fit right in.
Also, the game kept getting held up because the MC was near the bathrooms, and a lot of young families were out for vegan food, and every time a little kid went to the bathroom, the MC would stop everything to sing “The Wheels on the Bus” or the Sesame Street theme song.
But then, the game “I’m friends with all my X’s” rolled around. I had scarfed down enough tacos that my blood sugar was rocketing to “Let’s burn it down” levels.
Stella had a hot toddy and also, enough. We were winning this.
We clinked dabbers and just as before, we were close. She was within two and I was within one.
“I just need I20,” I said.
“And the next number is . . . oh hi! The wheels on the bus go round and round! Everyone sing! Round and round, round and round!”
The game paused so all the lesbians could sing to this little kid taking their sweet time wandering out of the bathroom and I could have thrown my tacos at the wall.
“Okay! Here we go . . . I20!”
I’m not someone who wins a lot of things (except arguments) and that sweet blunt force hit of victory was enough to make me want to start Olympic training in something right now. Something easy, of course. Like ribbon twirling.
I bounced up to the MC without my feet ever touching the ground.
She asked me my name—I think—and I told her—I think—and then she said, “You’re wearing scrubs! Do you know Lauren? She’s also wearing scrubs.”
I said I did not know Lauren, but I’d driven an hour and forty minutes to make lesbian bingo so I was really happy and excited, and the MC said “An hour and forty minutes? Let’s give this sister a round of applause!”
Have I secretly been an extrovert this entire time? Because getting a round of applause is fantastic. Even the little kids who’d gotten distracted on their way back from the bathroom were clapping for me (for ME).
“We have a special gift for you, sister,” said the MC. “A snow globe! On one side we have Beyoncé, and on the other, we have our lady, Michelle Obama.”
I actually pumped my fists like I’d won a marathon. I mean, who needs to win a marathon when you have a Michelle Obama snowglobe?
“That’s going to have a good home,” said the MC. I carried the snowglobe back to Stella like it was the Hope Diamond.
Stella was super pumped. Although she didn’t win at bingo, she was happy to share in my victory (and eat some of my tacos). When bingo ended, the MC led us all in a sing-along to “Thank You For Being a Friend,” the theme song from The Golden Girls.
My family said my bingo-loving grandma would’ve been proud, and I almost cried.
But a mere two days later, much like Princess Beatrice was blindsided by her little sister getting married before her, my little sister solidly dropkicked my sole claim to fame by getting on an internationally known podcast and having the hosts all but crown her an official correspondent.
My sister is somewhat obsessed with both the British royal family and her favorite Vanity Fair podcast, which covers all their scandals and pastel hat choices. They play a call or two every episode—on the last episode, they played calls from London and Dubai—so when my sister said she was calling in to point out that Meghan Markle was wearing a big jacket and carrying very suspicious-looking folders right over her stomach when she and Prince Harry landed in Sydney, despite it not being cold in Australia and Meghan having no earthly reason for needing folders on her person, I thought “That’s great, but they’re getting a million calls about this from all over the world, they’ll never play hers.”
But they did. THEY DID, and they thanked my sister BY NAME for the tip, praised her sleuthing skills for being “way ahead of the curve!” and asked her to “please call back with more insight on anything.”
Needless to say, my family completely lost their shit.
My sister humbly admitted that she’d only listened to it ten times in one hour.
She actually left an impeccable message—I never leave messages because anxiety makes me talk too fast and run all my words together so I sound like a stressed-out pirate—but she was calm, collected, got right to the point, and even wished the hosts a great day like they were old friends. I proudly pointed out that Vanity Fair is not some podunk tabloid, it’s a 100 year-old media institution that people would kill to break into, and two of their celebrity reporters said my sister was asking all the right questions and solicited more of her expertise.
Dad agreed. “It’s one of the few successful magazines of the Internet age! And they throw that big Oscar party. Maybe they can get your sister in!”
Mom ran with that: “Time to take the bus to Hollywood! A star is born!”
Dad said, “Vanity Fair Oscar party 2019!”
To celebrate my sister beating the royal family at their own game (seriously, file folders? My sister said “She might as well be carrying a potted plant”), we all watched the ITV broadcast of Princess Eugenie’s wedding, which my mom recorded so we could fast-forward through all the religious parts and pause on all the famous people, then rewind when their fascinators blew away in the gale-force winds.
When Meghan walked into the chapel, Dad yelled “PREGNANT!”
“Beatrice is wearing a pin of a bee because her nickname is B,” said my sister, like this was a detail of supreme importance.
She had already watched the wedding three times, and tossed off names and titles of the slightest royals who are in the triple digits in the line of succession like she was a member of their family instead of ours.
“Who’s that forlorn little boy walking up the stairs?” I said. “He looks like Oliver Twist.”
“That’s the Viscount Severn. He’s ten, and he has a lake named after him in Manitoba,” said my sister. “And there’s Lady Louise Windsor, Prince Edward’s daughter. Her dress blows up when she’s walking into the castle. It’s especially embarrassing because she has astigmatism.”
“You sure know a lot about these people,” side-eyed Mom.
My sister shrugged, “It’s not the worst hobby. It’s not like I’m doing meth. And I’m learning a lot about history!”
“The kids are really cute,” I said. “Princess Charlotte looks just like the Queen when she was little.”
“I think Charlotte looks like me!” said Sis. “Prince George’s eyes are kind of dark. He’s a little scary looking.”
“He’s five years old,” said Mom.
“Why is that guy wearing sunglasses in church?” asked Dad.
“That’s Andrea Bocelli.”
When the ceremony ended, the 850-strong crowd sang “God Save the Queen”—except the Queen, of course, because it’s about her. She sat stoically while everyone stood and sang the national anthem in her honor, including her terrified-looking new grandson-in-law.
“It’d be really hard to be the Queen and be from the Midwest,” said my sister. “‘Oh, don’t sing “God Save the Queen” for me,’ I’m not worth it. You’d have to be from New York, and be kind of mean.”
Now, if the Queen had sauntered out of Windsor Castle to the song from The Golden Girls, that would have been something. That would be my first improvement.
I mean, the sentiment works, right? “No, thank you for being a friend, Your Majesty!”