I’ll even clap for children bowling in the lane next to me, if they seem like they’d appreciate it.
I don’t know what it is about bowling that brings this out in me, because I do not like sports in general, neither as a participant nor as a spectator. Even when my own children were playing, I found it hard to muster enthusiasm for the game.
Family bowling, however, is all about the enthusiasm. None of us are particularly good, so it’s not a competitive event. I think without the high fives and clapping it would be pretty dismal.
This was born out on the face of my fifteen year old daughter.
The few other lanes in use were not near our assigned lane, which enabled my daughter to sit at the table at a neighboring lane where she did her best to distance herself from our jocularity all morning.
I’m pretty sure the five elderly bowlers in the building knew she was with us anyway, what with her actually bowling in our lane, but after each of her turns, she returned to her chosen table, resolutely ignoring us, and glued her eyes to the video screen above her head. At best, attempts to include her in our mirth were met with a quick, angry glare.
Bowling alleys today are so different than they were when I was her age.
For the better, they are not smoke filled and do not smell like stale beer. These are phenomenal improvements. The scoring is automatic, so nobody needs to pay close attention or count pins. Also much appreciated.
For the worse, there are video screens alternating with the overhead score cards.
Perhaps I’m kidding myself, but I think my daughter might have interacted with us a teensy bit if she had not been mesmerized by Taylor Swift and all those other people I don’t recognize.
I admit, it is hard not to look at them. The constant motion and changing images catch your eye even if you don’t know or care anything about the music. Even the serious and elderly bowlers would glance up at them as the images changed.
(By serious, I mean that their balls never went straight to the gutters.)
I’ve noticed the same effect in restaurants. When we go places with televisions, there is less conversation, at our table and those of other diners. Faces automatically turn to the screens, especially when they become brighter.
I try not to eat at places that have televisions.
However, the local Mexican spot we like always has its on. Usually, it is tuned to soap operas in Spanish, which, since I do not speak Spanish, makes it easier to ignore. I still find myself glancing up at it occasionally. We always make our daughter sit with her back to it; otherwise, she’d never talk to us.
As I say, “She can ignore us for free at home. We don’t need to pay for that.”
I know this is not a sign of a Generation Gap because my mother and in-laws are also addicted to television. Or maybe it’s one of those things that skips a generation.