There’s a bowling alley in a strip mall near my house.
Or at least there was.
The strip mall is no longer. It has been devoured by a colossal hole, which will serve as the foundation for a new building. By its scale and scope (not to mention depth), the size of the work crew and the recently mounted cranes now there, I’m guessing an office building or (more likely) a condo.
Lots of condos in this city.
I haven’t done much bowling in my life. A few get-togethers with friends, a birthday party or two. A school trip once – a reward for good behaviour and nice (but not spectacular) grades. Five pins and ten; big balls and small.
I never went to the strip mall, let alone the bowling alley in the strip mall. The street was always seemed too busy to cross, and the strip mall didn’t have a convenience store or coffee place or restaurant. Nothing to entice someone out, say, for a mid-day stroll.
But I always liked the idea of having a bowling alley near me and that it was in the strip mall (a rather odd though innocuous thing to have in the neighbourhood, and therefore not without its own charm), and, admiring it from afar, I thought I might go someday. The hole reminded me of all that and confronted me with the fact that it’s too late for any of it.
Come to think of it, I actually never really ever enjoyed bowling, good grades or no. The lighting, the sound of constant thudding. Those shoes… Not that I begrudge anyone those things. Besides, not liking something is not the same as hating it. Nice enough, but not spectacular. Good to think on.
Then again. My friend lived in a condo that had a bowling alley as one of its amenities. The two are not mutually exclusive. Maybe it’s not too late after all.
This is probably the most time I’ve ever spent talking about bowling.
There are quite a few things in my house that I literally picked off the street, things people left out for other people to take…unless no one does, and those then things become garbage.
My former neighbourhood (two neighbourhoods before this one) was great for found objects; weekly treasures that sprang up with the morning dew like mushrooms. Most of the things were gently used, some were brand new (i.e. still in the packaging); others, decidedly not.
My former neighbourhood (one neighbourhood before this one) was pretty good for found objects, though they were more seasonal in nature, appearing like the harvest moon or showering the streets like meteorites.
My current neighbourhood is OK for found objects. They appear often enough, but not always, like good (or bad) weather, seemingly blowing in with the wind itself. Timing is key here.
Then there are the random neighbourhoods I pass through with their own rhyme, reason and rhythms for found objects. Timing is everything, in these places.
My current take from the streets thus far includes (but is not limited to):
- A sturdy red (seldom used) TV tray.
- Books in varying condition (mostly good, mostly celebrity autobiographies, cookbooks and textbooks with interesting pictures, maps and diagrams).
- A detail of Michelangelo’s “Birth of Man,” in a gilded frame.
- A metal, Tiffany-esque lamp (the kind with three settings…bright, Brighter, BRIGHTEST).
- Coffee mugs (more than a few, some of them funky).
- THIS MAGNIFICENT TWIN HORSE LAMP.
- A wooden owl. Decorative?
- Big-ass sea shells!
- A working Magic 8 Ball (found by my sister-in-law and generously gifted to me). Yes – definitely.
- An ornate black resin picture frame, of the kind you’d find at your great aunt’s house, or failing that, an off-the-beaten-track Winners.
- Like, so. Many. DVDs (including the an entire season of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer).
- A kitchen mirror (non-haunted).
- Two 1,000 piece puzzles (one of doughnuts, one of shoes).
Will I ever stop finding things on the street and taking them home?
There are…other ways to live, I’m sure, that don’t entail picking things off the street to use and enjoy in your home – ways involving, I dunno, yachts and oversize vases that accent the Roman pillars holding up the front entrance of your foyer. Or not.
There are places with foyers. And places without.
There are ways, certainly, like that.
That is very, very true.