Monday, March 14, 2011

Bowling for Business Cards

Yesterday, my middle child, Mills, had her 7th birthday party at Sawmill Bowling Lanes.  It had been a really long time since I had been in a bowling alley.  Many things have changed and many things have remained the same - and for this I am thankful.  I get really freaked out when something that I am familiar with (especially from my childhood), does a one eighty.  But when something is updated and keeps it's essence - that is something I really appreciate.

Okay, let's start with the things that are new to today's bowling alley.  You do not have to keep score. It is done electronically now.  I would imagine that the drunks appreciate not having to do simple math.  I know I do.

They welcome and actually do things to attract children's parties.  The gutters can be covered so that people with no bowling skills can knock down pins EVERY time.  They have party liaisons that do everything for you - this includes taking each person in the party to find the correct sizes for their bowling shoes; serving the children pizza, drinks and cake; picking up the wrapping paper off of the floor; and presenting your husband with a bill he was in no way prepared for.  Priceless.

There is no waiting in line for shoes and no one sighs when you think the shoes are too small.  They also bring in bowling balls that are light for the children to use, which are waiting there at the four or so lanes that are roped off for you when you get there.  The bowling shoes are also better.  Some of them have velcro instead of laces, not all of them though, so as to keep that "essence" that I was talking about above.

But, best of all, no indoor smoking.  The air quality is much better, while retaining that thick atmosphere that allows all the other unpleasant smells to permeate the air.  I'll get to those.

Here are the things that have remained the same.  The people - meaning the employees and the customers. Apparently, the employees at a bowling alley are from some worm hole in the universe where you have your hair "set" and you stop buying your clothes in 1975.  The patrons still wear striped bowling shirts accented with sweat stains and enjoy drinking inside on beautiful Spring afternoons.

The location - almost all bowling alleys reside in or near a strip mall jam packed with seedy establishments.  There is the Mexican Restaurant that you are sure you have seen on the News where it was either shut down by the health department for a while or there was a shooting. Nail boutiques that promise viral fungi to all it's patrons advertise neon "Walk-in welcome" signs.  And if you are lucky, like at my baby girl's accompanying strip mall, a "dancing establishment" with no dance floor, only a stage and some strategically placed poles. 

The smells - a mix between body odor, a fraternity house the morning after a party, (Not that I would know what that smells like.  Okay, I went to one in the morning on several occasions when I lost my purse, Brad.), and fried food. By the way, the food is still pure shit, too. 

On the subject of the location, a funny thing happened today.  One of the moms of Mills' party attendees calls me up and wants to tell me a "funny story".  I do not know her real well, but she is from Kentucky, so we share the same sense of humor.  I am aware of this because one day last Spring when I was walking home from dropping Mills off at kindergarten, my dog and my 3-year-old simultaneously took a dump on the school grounds in front of her.  (She was potty training, okay, and I forgot that she didn't have no draws on under her Lilly Pulitzer dress.)  She laughed every time she saw me after that so I KNOW she has a good sense of humor. 

ANYWAY, she is going through her child's gift bag from our party this morning, no doubt eating the Hershey kisses that she will later lie to her child about (we all do it), and among the tiny rubber horses, the glitter pencil, and other bullshit that will ruin her vacuum later, she finds what at first seem like business cards.  Her husband, who knows Brad pretty well, becomes interested at this point, and much to their amazement and horror, they find that the cards are advertising one of the seedy establishments in the strip mall surrounding the bowling alley. "Strip" is the operative word in this sentence.  Apparently, their seven-year-old is being offered free admission AND a free meal.  The other card (this just keeps getting better and better) is targeting people who have had too much to drink.  The service offers "a ride home in your OWN car."  It is a $10 flat fee and then $2 a mile after that. The mom figures that all of the gift bags have these cards in them and they must have been placed there by the employees of the bowling alley or something. 

I suddenly remember that one of the girls I was taking home in my car was picking up cards in the  cigarette-laden parking lot as I was trying to herd 7 children through the parking spaces and concrete thing-a-ma-jigs all kids have to teeter on.  In the moment, I was thinking "Oh I should get her some hand sanitizer and make her drop the cards" but then, my ADD kicked in, and I was focused on something else like one of them being mowed down by a drunk driver.  The girl must have passed around the cards in the car.  (That is my defense and I am sticking to it.)

I guess it still doesn't matter, though, because the reality is that someone found a strip club admission pass and a sober driver card in my 7-year-old's gift bag and there is nothing I can do to erase that.  Not that I want to.  I mean, after all, I am getting a free blog out of it as far as I am concerned, and again, it is all about me - not my daughter's filthy reputation at school.

Anyway, the mom was super supportive as she was laughing her ass off and I asked her to send me a photo of the cards to put in my blog.

"Make sure you can read the number when you send it,"  I reminded her.  "Brad's gonna want that sober ride along when he hears about it."

"Oh, my husband already has it in his wallet, "she replied.

Now, I'm no fool.  But, you just know that beeach be slippin' both them cards in her purse at that exact moment.  Sheeeeit.  Already in his wallet, MY ASS.

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