January 31, 2012

Gone with the Pins

I hate bowling.

Why my husband thought it would be a good way to 'make me feel better' after an incredibly awful day is beyond me. I imagine the thought process behind this. "Hey! I know! What April needs on this already bad Monday is to put on a pair of clown shoes, hose herself down with Fabreeze,  and eat a hot dog that's been sitting under the heat lamp for 12 hours. That will make everything better."

I guess I'm being overly cynical. I don't hate bowling. In theory its an alright game. I just hate the idea of me bowling. My husband, of course, is a great bowler (which I just found out). We played 2 games and he managed a strike or a spare every round while I'm struggling to knock down two pins with one ball. "We're not competing," he says, when I glower at him. He's lucky I'm not strong enough to chuck the ball at him. It's a well-known fact that only people who are good bowlers say things like 'we're not competing.'

I look around me at the other bowlers. The old ladies in the lane to my right have managed scores doubling their collective ages. The guy in the wheelchair to my left swings a mean Grannie shot, whomping all down all ten pins with a single throw. These people seem to possess no great physical or intellectual skills. And yet...they can do it. I just didn't understand.

"I think my ball has a warble," I say, turning it over in my hands. In truth, I have no idea what a warble is, and I'm hoping he doesn't either.

"Your ball is fine. You're up."

I close my eyes and hurl the ball down the lane, waiting for the sound of impending gutter. My ball somehow bounces out of my alley and into the next lane, scoring 6 points for some not-so-grateful family.

"See! You're getting better,"

"No, I'm not."

"If we come every week, we will both be better!"

Now there's an idea. As if bi-annual humiliation isn't enough. I hurl the ball again and the entire alley erupts in applause as three of my pins are knocked over at once. Get me out of here.

I could practice on the sly, I think. Build an alley in my backyard. The engineering has to be similar to the slip and slide I made last summer. But with wood and less water. A blind man two lanes over gets a strike and I want to slither home.

"We don't have to come back." My husband says. He is sincere. And as always my heart melts a little. So, I suck. So what if the shoe-giving teenager behind the counter offers to include the 'free bumper service' when he sees me coming. I can endure it, right? This time together is making my husband happy. He endures 'dance nights' with me even though his moves have not progressed beyond the 'Caddyshack-Gopher' Shuffle. I can do this for him.

I smile. "No, it's okay. I think I am getting better." I look up at the scoreboard. I bowled a solid 53. That's at least nine points better than my last game. The only person I need to compete with, I realize, is myself.

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