Holiday Night Out
Emily thought the Star and Shamrock might be a nice place, so one fine evening recently we went. Basically, it's a combined sit-down deli and tavern in Washington, D.C. with a combined Jewish and Irish theme. For example, their signature sandwich is pastrami, corned beef, potato latkes and Russian dressing on rye. Also, they offer (among other adult beverages) He'Brew—“The Chosen Beer."
You see, Emily comes from a mainly Irish family, whereas I was raised Jewish. That's also why K.D. has a little green onesie with a green Star of David and the caption “Proud Irish.”
We met up after Emily's office Christmas party, drove over and looked for a place to park ... a project all its own. She wanted to park in the AutoZone parking lot, but it was clearly marked as being for their customers only and the place was still open so she reluctantly agreed when I asked that we please find another place to park. (I pride myself on following the rules whenever possible—which isn't always. I also like to think instances like this are self-interest rightly understood, especially considering getting towed is a pain in the neck!) When, right in front of us along the street, a minivan exited a free parking space. We considered it a minor miracle.
We went in, and found the seating situation opposite to the parking situation. We got to a table in nothing flat, and placed our orders. Having studied the menu in advance, I knew what I wanted—namely, that eponymous sandwich, hold the Russian. Emily ordered something nice, too.
As we were finishing, a guy working there stood up and announced we'd have Bingo soon. (Jewish temples commonly have Bingo for fun—and fundraising. My mother ran her temple's Bingo events for many years.) I remembered as a child having played Bingo for prizes and quite often winning.
So when he said Bingo cards and markers were free and prizes were offered, I quickly walked up to his table, got four cards and a marker and raced back. On the table next to ours, I laid out the cards, opened the marker, filled in the free spaces and stood at my metaphorical starting blocks.
“G-48 ... O-75 ... B-1 ...”
Stage whisper: “Just one more, Emily, all I need is I-24!”
“B-11 ... G-51 ... N-45 ...”
Anywhere else? Check the cards again, make sure I haven't missed one. Maybe the next one!
I proudly presented the card and waited while he called out the numbers.
“Congratulations, Jeff! By the way, are you a professional bingo player? And what kind of beer or wine would you like as a prize?”
“I used to be, but my last game was decades ago. Could I have something non-alcoholic?”
“No problem! In fact, if you prefer you could have a glass instead.”
So, now I'm the proud owner of a Peroni glass, and of course of a winning Bingo card too. (And unlike last time I played Bingo, I could—and did—snap a picture of both afterwards and email it to my family.)
A few tips to help make your night out a good one. (Of course, nothing's guaranteed.):
- Take advice from someone who knows both you and the available options.
- Set it up in advance and learn a bit about the place. That way, you'll be able to top up your “social fuel gauge” and will have to spend less energy on figuring things out when you get there.
- If there's something you haven't done in a long time, you may still remember how to do it so it won't be entirely new. That may make it more familiar and fun.
- You don't have to settle for what's offered. If it's likely they may be able to do something else for you at reasonable cost, ask!