Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bowl Lane Time Machine

I didn’t realize when we took the kids bowling last week that I’d be getting into a Bowl Lane Time Machine, but I will say being transported back in time to 1985 was not an altogether unpleasant experience. The kids were off from school for Election Day so I decided to invite Primo’s BFF Leigh, and her peeps to go bowling. Primo and Seconda had never been, and the last time I put on a pair of bowling shoes was at Bowlmor Lanes, in high school. Before I was old enough and cool enough to bowl in the city though, I’d go to this small. kinda rundown joint by my grandmother’s house and I swear that’s where we ended up last week with the kids.

Nothing had changed since I was 10 years old – not the machines, which groaned and moaned like it took their last gasp of breath to spit out that ball; not the balls which were more sticky and filthy than the floor of a movie theater after a Saturday night blockbuster; not the staff, who were literally my grandmother’s age and hobbled, bent over to get the balls that the kids had only managed to roll half-way down the lane; and not the music, which consisted of Beat it! Smooth Criminal, and Living on a Prayer.

Wait -- there was one thing they had which I don’t remember – gutter bumpers. Are you familiar with these Godsends? They are little rails which pop up and block the gutter, totally eradicating the possibility of a gutterball. They are meant for children, but I find them indispensable for myself, as well. That’s because my bowling style -- just like my foreign-language-speaking style, and my dancing style, and my cleaning style – relies on raw power and enthusiasm, with almost no consideration for accuracy. This means that though I can throw the bowling ball at 70 miles an hour, I will throw it straight into the gutter. But not with those gutter bumpers! Genius invention. I guess the past 25 years haven’t passed in vain.