Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bowling with strangers

And so the year of the friend begins! This weekend is jam packed with friend activities—totally unintentional given my post last week. It just happened to happen this way.

As I wrote last week, I joined a Meetup group and signed up to attend a bowling event last night. I’ve had mixed feeling towards Meetup since I first moved to Alameda. I joined a book club that was canceled before we even met. Of course, I had read the book (and hated it) so I was annoyed and wasted valuable book time. I also joined a live music group (people meet up to go to concerts) but was creeped out by some of the messages I got from members related to bands I liked and was interested in seeing. Dude, Meetup is not a dating site. Anyway, I decided to try again. This new group’s profile page screamed friendly and not creepy. Perfect.

I also really like bowling. I'm not great at it but I do alright. We used to go bowling a lot in high school and my older brother and I go every now and then. Bowling is fun. Think about it: it requires special shoes, you can drink if you want, bowling alley food is pretty great and there’s usually classic rock playing. You don’t even have to be a good bowler to have a good time. That’s probably what I like most about bowling.

People (and by people I mean the people in my office) are always a little surprised to find out that Alameda has its own bowling alley. Why wouldn’t it? We have a Burmese restaurant and enough liquor stores for everyone to have their own so we might as well have a bowling alley. I was the second person to arrive and almost immediately I met one of the organizers of our Meetup—super friendly, good at small talk and a lifelong Alamedan. We even work near one another (just a few blocks away). We waited for two other girls (another newbie and the other organizer). After introductions, we got our lane and shoes. (And got a great discount on two games—less than $9 for two games and shoes. That’s bananas.)

 We had to share our pod with a group of guys that I have not quite figured out yet. There was skinny jeans guy, long hair hippie guy, Hawaiian shirt guy and random guy. None of them seemed to fit together. How did they meet? Did they always bowl together? They were neither terrible nor good bowlers but seemed annoyed that they had to move out of our seats so we could start playing. The group at the lane on the other side of us was friendlier; one guy in their group even gave our least experienced bowler some tips (and cheered for her when she did well). As an aside, gentlemen don’t wear skinny jeans. Seriously, they don’t look good on anyone.

As we bowled we got to know one another. Three of us are not from Alameda but the other two have been here longer than me. We work in a variety of industries (one girl even described her co-workers as the guys from The Big Bang Theory—heart.) None of us were terrible bowlers but we weren’t great either. I think that made it more fun—if one of us had dominated than it might have taken a more competitive less friendly turn. We cheered each other on, came up with the “sympathy pin theory” (you don’t come close to hitting a pin but you still get a point—really?) and laughed a lot. The other new girl shared that bowling had been her PE class in college (like my mom!) and she had some skills. It wasn’t awkward and didn’t feel forced (I was thinking this might happen). At the end of the night we discussed doing this more frequently (maybe once a week) because we had such a good time.

I enjoyed myself. They were very nice and we were able to keep the conversation going with the basics of getting to know one another and bowling encouragement. I’m sure that I’ll hang out with them again and go to more Meetup events with this group. It was fun to get out of the house, have a drink and bowl. No one ever thinks to go bowling but always has a good time when they do; I like that a lot.

I was a tad disappointed in my bowling skills: I did terrible in the first game (came in 3rd) but I redeemed myself in the second game and won. I was a little surprised by my competitive thoughts (all of which were internal). I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

I started my day yesterday by quoting Grease 2 on the Facebook (“Tonight, we bowl.”) This has absolutely nothing to do with bowling with strangers but it’s awesome anyway. Watching the bowling song, “Score Tonight”, three questions come to mind: 
  1. Were teenagers in the 60s all in bowling leagues with coordinated outfits? 
  2. Do the nuns realize what they're singing about? Hint: it's not about bowling.
  3. Did the director or choreographer seriously expect us to believe that those bowling balls are real?

1 comment:

  1. Yay that bowling was a success!
    And this is too funny, but I was just having a conversation with my neighbor a week or two ago about how men shouldn't wear tight jeans. I swear we're on the same mental wavelength half the time.