Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bunco Mania

I was inducted into a very serious social circle on Monday night: my mother's Bunco league.

When Mom told me that they needed a substitute, I thought she was kidding. A substitute? For Bunco? For those of you who do not know, Bunco is basically remedial Yahtzee; there are four women at a table [two per team], you roll three die and count how many of a certain number you get. There are three tables that you alternate between, and the first team at the head table to get 21 wins. At that point, the teams with the highest score move up, the losers stay where they are. Bunco is a Yahtzee with the number that you're rolling for, and when you get it, you are forced to scream "BUNCO!!" and they hand you an ugly stuffed bear to hold onto until the next scream. The person with the most Buncos at the end of the night wins the best prize. See? Church lady fun.

This monthly event floats around the different homes of the group members, and on Monday night it was Julie's turn. I got home from work, only to turn around again to pick up the Chinese takeout that Mom had ordered for her "Bunco ladies." When I got back, the kitchen was swarming with women, pecking and milling about like hens around grain. And these are not just any women, mind you. Oh no. You see, this little Bunco situation draws from a very specific crowd -- namely all of my best friends' mothers.

That's right. They think that they can trick us. They think that we don't know. All I can say to that is puh-lease. Was it coincidence that these mothers had all of the dirt on our lives all the time?? Was it a coincidence that they all knew who was dating who, who was arguing with who, which teachers were being ridiculous to which students, and that this source of knowledge and power seemed to be recharged once a month?? I think NOT.

I felt like I was behind enemy lines on Monday night, and I kind think that I was. Not that my mother or my friends' mothers are enemies -- they're fabulous, I love them. I loved sitting at those tables, listening, talking, schmoozing; hanging out with adults has always been one of my favorite things. No, these women are not my enemies, but they are certainly a force to be reconciled. One of them told me [only half-jokingly] that Bunco originated as a drinking game, because it has the tendency to be quite dull. Now, these women being good, Christian women, they would never dream of Bunco-ing over cocktails [sarcasm? Possibly]. Besides, they found a better alternative.

Earlier I referred to this monthly gathering as a "league." It is far more than that. It is a gossip chain, a portal of information. I was shocked at how quickly they opened up in front of me, included me, probed me for details. One of them, notorious for having the good dirt, said something to the effect of, "Oh, we have to swear Carly to secrecy!! What is said at Bunco night must not leave Bunco night!!" Immediately I was doused in maternal culture, in the process of swapping knowledge, and bragging about children without making it seem prideful.

Having been to the other side and back, let me warn you: Bunco is not to be taken lightly. While some may see this game as a frivolous little escape from annoying kids and stressful households, I know the truth. This sacred sisterhood holds a mysterious power, one that cannot be explained via blog or word of mouth...oh no, one must experience it to believe it. Now that I have gotten a preview of what my life may look like in thirty or so years, I pity my future children [even more than previously] and their friends, because I have learned from the best.

Besides, what's not to love about Bunco? I won the most fabulous little table for my apartment and got "the mom's point of view" on many of my friends' situations....but don't worry, guys. I don't crack under pressure. We have our own sister/brotherhood to maintain.

This whole thing must be a sign from God that I'm supposed to be a spy after all. Good thing I'm taking Russian this fall!

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