A play-by-play of Rye’s giant cathartic quarantine-themed bingo

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By Apurba Roy

The pandemic hasn’t stopped Ryerson students from adhering to a time-honoured tradition of friendship: bonding over weird things they have in common. In the spirit of this universal truth, 450 students participated in a giant game of bingo over Zoom on Tuesday to commiserate and commemorate all the weird stuff they’ve done during quarantine. 

Second-year sociology student and bingo organizer Paan Demeek, said her and her team wanted to organize the game “to make sure that we weren’t the only ones staying up all night watching Queen’s Gambit and dreaming up our chess grandmaster fantasies.” With the number of people that showed up to the virtual bingo, it appears that just about everyone was concerned with their strange quarantine habits.

The bingo cards consisted of 25 squares containing bizarre activities that nobody would ever do pre-pandemic, but 99 per cent of the Ryerson population did from March 2020 to March 2021. This included everything from making dalgona coffee to religiously following the Gorilla Glue Girl’s iconic, cultural resetting, hair-raising journey. One attendee sadly observed that everything on that card felt so nostalgic that it seemed to have taken place a decade ago, rather than a year. 

“Can’t wait to look back at this quarantine era with the same grating sentimentality as a 90s kid looking back on their childhood,” wrote Heya Macarena in the Zoom chat. 

The first activity called out was making banana bread; every single person could be seen on their little Zoom box crossing out a square. One student yelled out: “I didn’t even know bananas could be turned into bread!” As much as that sentence didn’t make sense, several people gave the classic Zoom over-exaggerated courtesy laugh—a gesture which happened to be another one of the boxes on the card. 

“Can’t wait to look back at this quarantine era with the same grating sentimentality as a 90s kid”

The game brought back old quarantine memories, such as thinking COVID-19 would disappear by June 2020. A few people were seen softly sobbing as they crossed their box. 

When the announcer called out “tried to work out and get into shape,” one student said: “I really had a whole year to work out and eat healthy and I spent it in my bed eating ramen every day.” Another responded: “Didn’t you use to say that you didn’t work out because you didn’t have time?” The student replied: “Why you gotta call me out like that Cynthia???” and left the Zoom meeting. 

From the expressions on the attendees’ faces, it appeared many could relate to her. Though the Chloe Ting challenge filled the first month of the pandemic, one bingo square revealed that 229 people gave up after realizing that it’s not as fast-acting as the other quarantine trend of uploading your photo on a sketchy app to see what you’ll look like in 50 years; you actually have to put work into doing it, and working out during a pandemic is just too much. 

“I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one who made feta pasta and was disgusted with the results”

The last square called out was “picking up a hobby and forgetting about it until being reminded right now.” Every single attendee began recollecting how they’d decided to become a gardener after placing one plastic succulent on their desk last April. Other quarantine hobbies of knitting, painting, baking and doing yoga were more forgotten and ignored than attendees who texted a guy named Justin on Tinder—another bingo square that was commonly crossed out. 

Thirty minutes into the game, first-year student Joel Exotic called out bingo. 

“After spending my first year of university staring at a laptop and going into breakout rooms where nobody talks, I thought bingo would make my tuition costs worth it,” he said. “It didn’t. But I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one who made feta pasta and was disgusted with the results.”

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