When asked what it is I do for recreation, there were many good years I could answer truthfully
Well, almost truthfully. You see, being from San Francisco, I never really needed a car, and so have yet to ever get a license. But I had friends with cars, and we would, on occasion, drive around in states frequently altered by the use of LSD.
But most importantly, we bowled.
It became a steady habit the minute I exited the Kabuki theater, where a friend and I had just watched The Big Lebowski for the first time. We looked at each other, and we both knew, then, what was to happen next. A block away was the now defunct Japantown Bowl, where we we spent the next several hours, as we would spend the next several years, bowling.
I’d done a little bowling before that, off and on. Most memorably at Rock & Bowl on Haight st.,where I rolled my first strike in 1993. When they closed three years later I got my first taste of that now all-too-familiar feeling of loss. If it wasn’t for The Big Lebowski, I may have never bowled again. I sometimes wonder if I would have been better off, but I suppose the great times and late nights I shared with so many for so long, are worth the pain of losing that which brought you together. I suppose.
We lost Rock & Bowl in 1996, Japantown Bowl in 2000, and most recently Serrabowl, which was the last of the accessible alleys – open 24/7, and adjacent to the Colma BART station. Not a week went by for a while, without a night or two spent at one of Serrabowl’s many lanes. Presidio Bowl still exists, at least according to legend. No one’s really sure how to get there, but they say when the moon is full, and the fog is thick, it appears. But only if you’re lost, never if you’re looking for it, and don’t even talk to me about Yerba Buena. The place is lousy with yuppies, douchebags, and their terrible children. Which brings me to the root of my relevant discontent: Lucky Strike Lanes.
Fuck that place. I’m not going to link to them, if you want to see their website, Google it. They have 21 locations nationwide, and a corporate chain store “upscale” image to match. Oh, and bottle service. Fucking $500 bottle service. The bowling is pretty much an afterthought at this see and be scenery. Mission Bowling Club soon followed on their heels. Just as boutique-y and expensive, with yet another foodie fetish menu, it only adds to the disappointment, and that feeling of once again being excluded from that which was yours.
I’ve gotten to know that feeling too well.