I’ve noticed something about Americans.  They really, really like virtual reality.  As opposed to real reality.  I mean, I know it’s been this way for years, what with the rise of the internet and online classes and reality television, blah, blah.  But it seems like, in the last three years, people have developed a taste for virtual everything (or maybe it only seems that way to me because we’ve been out of the country for that long).  I mean, virtual star-gazing?  Really?  Go outside and look at the night sky, people.

Anyway, today was our last day with the grandparents and they wanted to go to the bowling alley to eat.  I would never have had that idea.  But then they live in a small, pretty town where the people all know each other and bowling alleys have quaint restaurants attached to them.

I was a little disturbed when, after hearing where we’d have lunch, our kids grew misty-eyed and declared that they had never actually set foot in a real, live bowling alley.  Even though they knew it was closed for the day, the kids insisted on looking inside the darkened alley at the multicolored bowling balls–up close.  They  stood at the counter where you get the shoes, in reverent silence, and imagined telling the man what size they’d need.  They marveled at the pins at the end of the alleys, white and stiff like the guards at Buckingham Palace.

How could this be?

How could our kids have gotten well into their elementary school years and have never bowled at a bowling alley?  I mean, I know they’ve lived in India for nearly half their lives and all, but still, it struck me as sort of tragic.  Bowling is fun, even when one is very bad at bowling.

Then the kids consoled me.  They had bowled before.  They knew exactly how to do it, they said, because they’d bowled before…on the Wii.

*Cue sweeping orchestral music*.

This is me, pumping my fist in the air in defiance, the wind whipping my hair.  Scarlett O’Hara declared that she’d never go hungry again.  I declare that this family will not live its life in virtual reality!  I am making a date to take my kids to the real, dingy, cigarette smoke-filled, sticky-carpeted, 90’s-music-playing bowling alley if it kills me.  Amen.



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