Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bowl me over

When you hear "bowling alley" you probably picture a non-descript building with a dimly lit, smoke-hazed interior minimally decorated in drab oranges, greens, and browns. But today's chic bowling lounges challenge our long-held stereotypes, and they do it in style. Last night we celebrated a friend's birthday at Grand Central Bowling Lounge in Portland. With two levels, more flat-screen tv's than an electronics store, and a dress code (!), this place is a swanky upgrade from bowling alleys of eras past (and priced accordingly). Our group crowded into a lane, at the end of which was a giant tv showing music videos. When it was my turn to bowl, I removed my hot pink pumps to don the required bowling shoes, grabbed the lightest ball I could find, and approached the lane. A little background: My bowling experiences have been infrequent and inconsistent. Sometimes I get a strike or two, and other days my ball spends more time in the gutter than it does knocking down pins. My highest-scoring game up to this point was back in high school gym class. So let's just say my expectations were low. As I set myself up to bowl, I focused my eyes on the center arrows on the floor of the lane (a little trick I adapted from my Little League pitching experience). I wound up, released the ball, and. . . STRIKE! Caught unprepared, I unfortunately forgot to do the little spin and finger snap I've seen bowlers do on tv. But I did break into a short victory dance. After this initial success, my scores wavered from pretty good to so-so, but I managed to end the game with a career-high 109. I enjoyed this moment of glory, and my enthusiasm wasn't even dampened when I glanced at the neighboring lane and noticed scores close to 200. No, I did not win the game (details, details) but I guess I'm not ready to throw in the towel on my bowling career just yet.

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