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Don’t let the title deceive you.  This story is about much more than a card full of numbers…

You’re stuck at home, bored to tears, trying to figure out what to do with your time.  You could read a book, watch TV, but that doesn’t really appease the desire to interact with others.  Sure, you can talk to your family but that isn’t always very exciting.  Plus you see them every day anyway.  You consider going out but the flu keeps you tethered close to home.  Your brain hurts from trying to think of other ways to talk to someone, anyone.  And then it hits you.  Online games!  Surely there must be someone out there who shares your same melancholy.  Why not find out.

I was recently in this exact position.  Stuck at home with what I thought at the time was the flu.  Turns out it was a bit more complicated than that, but that’s another story.  The days had started to blend together and I knew I needed to do something.  I am a people person.  More specifically, I like to people watch.  No I don’t stalk.  I just like to watch how people interact with the world around them.  Of course I couldn’t go to the mall or the park so I had to find another way.  And I did.  An online gaming site.  I figured I could people watch in a different way.

I decided to check out a bingo game.  OK I confess, I’m a Bingo junkie.  I created an account for free, made an avatar, and off I went on my search for interesting people.  This is what I found. There are five specific types of individuals who play these online bingo games.  You have the polite people who will congratulate you for getting the first bingo, you have the ones who thank you for, in this particular game, throwing a wild, you have the snarky ones who say “Well you’re welcome anyway” when no one says thank you , and you have the whiners, the ones who complain they didn’t get any wilds and how awful everyone in the room is.

The fifth group of people is the one that fascinated me the most.  Made up of men and women, equally, they didn’t care who they chatted with as long as there was someone willing to listen.  They didn’t hesitate to reveal where they lived, their marital status or lack thereof, and any family illnesses they were currently dealing with.  Most others in the room were pleasant while chatting with them, offering “I’m so sorry” and “hang in there”.  Me?  I kept quiet.  Yep, can you believe it?  I said nothing.  I just observed because more than anything, they intrigued me.

This group had me thinking about just how many lonely people there really must be in this world.  It has to be so painful to have no one to talk to or no one who will listen.  It made me realize how truly blessed I am, that I have my husband and kids by my side as I struggle to make my body work right again.  They have no one to comfort them in their time of sorrow or need and so they turn to complete strangers for their solace.  And it breaks my heart.  I have always been one to smile at someone without cause, to offer a hand because that was the way I was raised, and because it’s the right thing to do.  Always help others in need.  How about you?  Try this; the next time you see a mom trying to open a door while juggling a child and a stroller, or an elderly person whose walk may not be as quick as you’d prefer, stop for a minute and realize that they, too, may have no one to help them.  Show compassion for your fellow man.  Hold the door, slow your pace, and remember to smile….

It may be the only interaction they have all day and can, so easily, make a difference in that person’s life. Bingo.

©2014 Dorinda Duclos  All Rights Reserved