Well, nobody responded to my mall nostalgia (I can’t be the only child of the 80s out there who mourns the glory days of malls, can I???) so I guess I’ll tell a little heartfelt personal story.
Last night our church had a bowling night. We were all going to go as a family, but then Emma got a sore throat. Chris stil really wanted to go bowling, so Jason volunteered to stay home with Emma while Chris and I went out.
We both had a good time. Actually Chris had a great time with all his friends, and even won the first game and got the highest score for his whole group, and won a little certificate afterwards congratulating him for that.
What was much more unexpected was that I also got the best score on my team, and won a similar certificate. When I relayed this happy news to both Jason and Emma, separately, they both said in incredulous tones, “WHO were you playing against???” Their surprise clearly implied that they expected to hear I was playing against three blind paraplegics.
By the way: to any blind paraplegics reading this post: no offense intended. I am sure you are brilliant, skilled, and able people. I’m just suggesting that I might be able to beat you at bowling. Normally that would be the only team of people I could beat at bowling.
But no. I was bowling against a team of my peers, people perfectly able to bowl. I just happened to have an oddly good night, or maybe they had an oddly bad night.
Maybe I’ve been honing my skills with all the Wii bowling. I really thought Wii bowling would be bad for my already-abysmal real-life bowling skills, because it’s so much easier. I thought it would lull me into a false sense of competence. But I’ve been bowling on the Wii since Christmas, and now I score 134 in a real life game? (Trust me, 134 is an excellent score for me. A good game is when I break 100). Maybe the Wii is a skill-building after all.
You know what really made the evening perfect for me — even more perfect than scoring 134 or seeing my son having such a great time with his friends? It was going home afterwards to the guy who doesn’t believe I can beat anyone at bowling.
Let me explain. Events like church bowling nights bring back lots of vivid memories for me, because I’ve been going to these kinds of things all my life. Because of my good Adventist upbringing, when I think about the single years of my late teens and 20s, I don’t look back on the nightclub scene or picking guys up in bars. I missed all that (actually, I feel I was spared all that, but I can see that some people might feel I missed out). Instead, what I remember are years and years of going to church social events — bowling nights, skating parties, volleyball games, etc — in a constant state of hyper-awareness. Are there any single guys here? Any I haven’t met yet? Will that good-looking guy notice me? Is that not-so-good-looking guy a possibility, if I lower the bar a litttle? Will he notice me??? This undercurrent of stress and strain ran through everything for so many years. It was like an annoying noise that you’re so used to you don’t even notice till someone shuts it off.
And now, for many years, it has been mercifully shut off, and I love its absence. Yes, I know there are unhappy marriages and there are many happy single people, but for me personally I have to say marriage is the best thing ever, and not the least of its blessings is that it removes you from constantly worrying about whether the right guy is out there, maybe bowling in the next lane. Anytime Jason and I go out together as a couple, or with the kids as a family, to some kind of group activity, I’m always glad to be going home with him. And even if he’s not able to be by my side, knowing I’m going home to him is the next best thing.
Even if he doesn’t respect my mad bowling skillz.