Bowling Alleys Depress Me

There is something about a bowling alley where after I walk in, and once I leave…I don’t want to go back. I’m not a bowler, obviously. The sounds and smells. All my senses are assaulted in these establishments.

The Big Lebowski

The first time I recall being in a bowling alley was somewhere in Chicago’s south suburbs. I was in 8th grade and would meet my girlfriend there because she came with her mom, who bowled in a league. I found it creepy. The shoes, the shirts. The bar. Like a bar at a  strip club minus the strippers.

We would immediately leave the bowling alley – sometimes I would never walk in – she met me outside – and walk to a nearby park and make-out under the gym play thingy. You could be fairly hidden under there. Once some girl around our age wandered over. She knew I was in there and started talking to me while on swing. I couldn’t see her, she couldn’t see me. Finally, I guess it was because I didn’t come out, she asked if I was masterbating. Then she peeked in and saw my girlfriend.

Beverly Hills 90210

Random visits to the alleys occurred throughout high school and college. I probably bowled my first game my sophomore year. My friend Pug and I would go with a few gal friends. Pug used to enjoy, and still talks about, this one girl, I’ll call her “Latina,” who would shake her ass every time she went up to roll. Once my friend Heath had his shoes lost when he went to pick them up at night’s end.

After college and not long ago I went to Waveland Bowl on Western Avenue, near Lane Tech High School. I was working at an alternative school and a few of us kicked off a Thanksgiving Eve night with bowling, for some reason. One was a teacher I was sorta seeing. Her name was Kelly and she was self-conscious about having a big head. We drank a few pitchers of Miller-something, ended up in a fight and broke up.

I always had the same black ball with holes that I couldn’t seem to get my small fingers in.

I know there are some hipster bowling events. I’ve never been and don’t want to. Something bad will happen if I go. I always feel like Frido in a bowling alley. My most recent visit, which inspired this post, happened a few weeks ago when I was supposed to meet some people at an alley for a surprise party. Nobody was there when I arrived. The bar (again, strippy looking) was empty. A guy and gal were playing that bags game in there. Why am I not surprised? Why shouldn’t a game called Cornhole exist in a bowling alley? A few families were bowling and I was just sitting there alone, with a little gift bag and kids all around. I didn’t want to appear as a molester (despite my handsomeness) so I left. And didn’t go back.