I’ve never been much of a bowler. Did the kid leagues, rolled 115s or so. Over the ever-shortening decades since then, I’ve held my 115. I can sorta roll straight, so I aim between the center tick and the one to the right and just roll.
I think one problem is that I think too much. When I’m walking up with the ball, I’m thinking about work, about writing, about the club and it’s issues, about Early ReTyrement and the challenges it’s facing. My head is like an auditorium on Monster Truck Rally weekend. Sunday Sunday Sunday! And so I’ll choke and slip or spin and know, the moment the ball leaves my hand, that I’ve screwed it up.
My work team likes to do team outings that include bowling. Three of them are quite good. They were the team captains. The boss and the designer, both avid bowlers, set up a battle of balls (or whatever bowlers do). Me, I was stuck on the team with the weaker captain and an Indian girl who’s never bowled in her life.
So bowling is just a long series of frustrating frames, trying to clear my head (unnatural) so that I can repeat a precise set of muscle movements, something I’m not too good at.
My first game was okay. In the second, I started to fall apart. My hand got numb, I tried to correct, to correct my correction, etc, etc. And then I looked up at the score to realize I was actually trailing the Indian maid by something like seven pins. The two other teams were blasting each other, cheering and chanting over their struggle, and we were sorta off to the side.
I’ve had some real setbacks as of late. Nothing will take the wind out of your sails like self-publication. I hate doing it, I hate talking myself up, I just hate it. I’m a writer, nothing more. There have also been club issues, a massive work picnic effort I’ve gotten dragged into, some home layout issues, the fact that I’m slipping my schedule for pushing Indigo out there, all that. And now I’m throwing a greasy marble ball down a long gutter and feeling stupid. Just great.
And I’ve got to wonder why we don’t do the things I’m good at. Once the team went canoeing – you’d think “Indians” would be good canoers but remember the start of Jungle Book? Remember the moonlit river, the smashed canoe, the orphaned child? Now it makes sense. Our guys sucked at canoes – we finished easy and they came struggling in thirty minutes later.
Or go-karting. I used to kart with a Canadian at work – I was already a pretty good driver and we ran against each other every week on Friday’s lunch. When we raced with the team, it was all too easy. Sometimes they would try to block me, my little children, and I’d just nudge up against their bumper in the curve and play spin the bottle. I’d always win. So we don’t do that anymore.
But all things, good or bad, end – in this case, in thirty frames. And that’s that, until the next time we decide to go out.
Why can’t we do creative writing? Or model railroad dispatching?
It will probably be bowling.