Family fun and frustration at the bowling alley

Family Fun:  Bowling.
I love bowling with my family.  I love clapping and cheering and laughing and sympathizing.

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.

Video Screens Everywhere

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.


13 thoughts on “Family fun and frustration at the bowling alley

    • Oh, I hate it when I find myself having to shout to be heard across a dining table because of blaring televisions or music. Ambiance is nice, but some places, it’s auditory assault.

  1. And now they have tv at gas stations! I don’t need to be entertained everywhere I go. I’m actually capable of thinking my own thoughts. When we go out we like to talk to each other or people watch. And while I’m being grumpy I also don’t like the trend of outdoor tv’s with giant screens. I don’t have a tv right now and sure wouldn’t want to hear the neighbor’s.

  2. Oh, I so agree with you. I nearly wrote a blog myself on this, about how when I go to my allergist’s office, I have to wait there for half an hour after getting my shot, so I bring a book, happy to get some extra reading time. The waiting room is small and dominated by a huge, blaring TV tuned to some inane talk show. It’s impossible to escape it or concentrate on reading. Last time I went, mercifully the TV was off. There was one other woman waiting, who was reading the paper. I settled happily into my seat and read. About 20 minutes later another man came in and–of course–turned on the TV. It ruined my morning. Why have we become so intellectually barren that we have to have sounds and images blasting at us all the time?

    • My dentist’s office is like that. Always on talk shows. If I’m the only one waiting, I’ll ask the receptionist to turn it off. She always offers to change the channel, and is perplexed and annoyed when I ask for it to be off. There are tvs in every examining room, too, but the hygienist seems relieved when I tell her I don’t want to watch anything.

  3. I’m with you on this. Sick of TV’s, everywhere. And yep, I get distracted, too. My ex would get mad because something on his 60″ LOUDLY BLARING TV that was only 12 feet away from me would catch my ear/eye,. and I would turn my head. And I would get mad at HIM, because he wouldn’t turn down or turn off the the damn TV if he wanted my undivided attention. This is part of why he is my ex.

    Now that people can stream video on their phones, it’s only a matter of time before said phones are strapped to wrists, so people can watch while they drive/walk/jog.

  4. I have caught myself, often, being distracted by a TV when I am trying to interact socially. Being aware of it … I fight it … but it usually wins! Doesn’t matter what’s on either. If there is a powered on TV in the same room it’s like an eye magnet! =(

  5. I’m grateful that this trend hasn’t spread here in the UK. There are tv screens with sports on in pubs but thankfully not everywhere else. Definitely not in waiting rooms or most restaurants – we found it very odd when we were in the US last time.

  6. My husband gets distracted by the TV’s. I try to seat him with his back to them too when ever possible. Otherwise it’s impossible to have a conversation. I never understood the point of having them in a restaurant. Even my dentist has a TV on in the waiting room and so do some of the doctors. It’s almost always on Fox news. I remember when people would just read while they were waiting.

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