Hannah Johnson ‘21
Assistant to the regional editor
Ladies and comrades, I have another small glimpse to offer into my life abroad in Russia. The first “Day in the Life” was about a clown in a Starbucks–this one is about a dapper Bingo Boom Man. …also taking place in Starbucks.
So I guess the first thing to address here is, what is “Bingo Boom”? In all honesty, that place is as much of a cryptid as the Bingo Boom Man himself, because I have never been inside and I do not care to ever go inside. But to explain, it’s an establishment neighboring this Starbucks. I’ve seen a bunch of them around Moscow… I think I did a Googling once and briefly glanced at the world gambling and immediately ceased my searching, because such things as gambling or betting have no room in my good Christian life. I bet they do much more than Bingo in there, with how people are these days…
Okay, so Bingo Boom is some kind of club for “games”… and then there’s the Bingo Boom Man. A mountain of a fellow, he stands outside the door for Bingo Boom, dressed for the season–sometimes with a crown, usually with a top hat and cape–and with a voice like rolling thunder, calls out in Russian over the many pedestrians, advertising for the Bingo Boom (“COFFEE, TEA, FREE!”)
I see him almost every day, because he’s there most of the time and I go to Starbucks a lot, so… I have to do that thing you gotta do when there’s people on the sidewalk trying to offer you something or advertise, where you politely walk around them and forcibly avert your eyes to avoid eye contact, that kind of thing. But the thing is… I’ve been here about half a year now, and I walk this street a lot, often wearing a recognizable hat/scarf/facemask in the cold… It makes ducking him harder because I feel almost certain at times that he must recognize me by now… and I feel bad for ignoring this nice gentleman over and over. In fact, I wonder about this guy. What his life’s like… I wonder if he’s happy, you know? I wonder if he enjoys his job. I want to know what the Bingo Boom guy gets up to.
I was inspired to write about this guy finally because I had the closest encounter with this enigma today. Normally, in Starbucks, occasionally I can see him outside, through the door… his voice fills the space whenever anyone opens the door briefly to enter or exit. But today, I’m just enjoying my day off when this madman actually enters the cafe, in full dress too–top hat, cape, GIANT shoes… probably on his break. I can’t help but smile a bit as he enters, and takes a seat against the opposite wall. What struck me was his handbag–a rather large handbag, decorated with skulls and crossbones, and I’m just like, who is this man???
He simply took his break while I did my homework across the way, and eventually left, and commenced using that booming voice of his on the street. As it turns out, the Bingo Boom Man–always advertising hot, free coffee and tea in his club–even he comes to Starbucks!