So I started my first game, and the next thing I noticed was how the light illuminating the bowling pins on the pin deck kept shifting colors, from cool pink to lime green to sunshiny yellow. Cripes almighty! What the–? When the color changed to something dark, like blue, the arrows on the lane blended in with the gloom over the entire lane, and suddenly my game was in the dark. I’m a spot-bowler, for goodness sake, and the only way I can line up a shot is to place the tip of my right toe, still sportin’ those swell suede shoes, on the fourth board to the left of the center dot on the first line of dots, and drop the ball precisely on the lane so it rolls smoothly over the third arrow from the right-hand gutter. When I do that, a strike is practically inevitable. But when the dots blend in with the swamp light emanating from the pin deck, I might as well be using the fluorescent orange dinosaur and bumpers with the rest of the bowlers to my left. Speaking of which . . . .
What’s up with parents nowadays? Back in my day I’d get smacked on the back of the head if I began my approach after the player on the lane next to me had started his approach. It’s not only distracting, it’s just plain rude! Etiquette, people! Etiquette! I guess that particular nicety went out the door along with paper scoring, bowling shirts, beer frames, and squinting at the pins through a thin pall of blue cigarette smoke. Ahh, the good old days. Some things just shouldn’t be messed with.
And you know what else is distracting? What’s up with the 55” flat-screen TVs mounted from one end of the bowling alley to the other . . . above the pin decks?! Look, when I come to bowl, I don’t need Miley Cyrus swinging her stuff in my face while I’m searching for my arrow on the lane in the chartreuse mood lighting. That stuff’s distracting enough in real life, let alone magnified ten times and hung right before my eyes above my rack of pins. For Pete’s sake! But the clincher came toward the end of my last game, as the clock counted down the remaining ten minutes and I had five more frames left in my sixth game.
For the previous fifteen minutes I’d enjoyed blessed aloneness on my lane, just me, ten pins, my ball, my sportin’ suede shoes, and Miley Cyrus swinging her stuff. The other party’s hour had drawn to a close and the coordinators had hustled them from lanes 5 and 6 to their designated party room. As things quieted down I managed to bowl a 177, a game consisting of a turkey on the opening three frames, and an additional turkey toward the end. It had taken only five games, but I was finally getting into the groove! Then it happened. The party palace let in another group of rug rats and plopped them onto lanes 5 and 6. Again I glanced at the 41 or so open lanes to my right as the sweet young coordinators raised the bumpers, dragged out the fluorescent orange dinosaur, dimmed the lights even further . . . and switched on the green laser lights! Criminy sakes alive!
Suddenly random patterns of dots swirled over my arrows like the onset of a migraine, and all was lost, especially when not only the kids, but their parents too, stood in front of me as I lined up a futile shot. Needless to say, I was done. Done. Yes, all done. Done, done, done. Done . . . . *sigh*
Next time I go bowling I’m going to search for an alley built in the 1950s, with lots of old trucks parked out front, bright fluorescent light shining from the windows, and maybe even a low-hanging pall of cigarette smoke drifting out the open front door. Because that, my friends, is how we rolled back in my day. Now where’s my bowling shirt? I could have sworn I hung it up right behind my mustard orange corduroy bell bottoms . . . Oh look, here it is. Just gotta blow off the dust. . . .
Copyright © 2014 David C Hughes