… in which an alien goes bowling, breaks her In & Out cherry, and hears the sound of music.
This Japanese poster for The Big Lebowski is just... I don't even want to know what the title became.
Considering The Big Lebowski is one of the top 10 reasons I am becoming a screenwriter, and considering the fact that Cape Town is in truth very, very close to Parow, it’s surprising that I do not know how to bowl. I think I went, once, as part of someone’s birthday party, but all I remember about it was how much the birthday girl’s brother complained about driving to Parow the whole way through. I was dating the annoying, self-centred brother. Apologies for stating the obvious.
I got a ride with a girl in my class, Sarah, who has been nice to me. She’s also cool in an odd way my friends back home would like – the kind of person who could make driving a motorised tricycle seem stylish, but isn’t pretentious enough to do it. We we went cruising down the boulevard through 23.5 identical suburbs, past 789 identical 8-store markets, passing Disneyland’s nightly fireworks display and on. I’m not surprised onse babe Charlize Theron feels at home in California. It’s really very much like her native Benoni – just with fewer guns and better Mexican food. The GPS didn’t know which side of the road the bowling alley was on, but as it turned out, that wasn’t really a problem.
This sign is one of only 56,000,8998,99766 signs in the U.S.A. that is visible to the naked eye from space. The alien schools already hold compulsory early morning bowling classes in the belief that it will "help them blend in". Now you know.
We were out in Anaheim because one of the students who came from New York wound up living out there, thinking “eight miles from school isn’t far.” And because the beer was supposedly cheaper.
Americans have a newspaper for everything. For instance, Adult Daipers Monthly, which is printed on recycled disposible adult daipers. (Not really, but that'd be cool.)
It’s B.Y.O. socks for the next bit, where you hire a pair of shoes for $3.25 and pay 5 bucks to bowl. Or you order a pint of Newcastle and watch other people. That’s what I did. I have been having one of those weeks where stuff lands on your head all the time, and you fall all the time. If I wasn’t driving, I sure as hell wasn’t going to be handling balls that weigh more than my head.
I'm not sure I understand the need for the giant rear view mirror. I for one do not want to see my own ass on the way out.
At about midnight, we ended up at In and Out Burger. I’ve been trying to avoid this discovery, as their food is clearly addictive. Now I have tried it, I think about it three times a day. When I grow up, I want to be an In and Out Burger Dealer, although I’m not sure whether or not I’d be keen to sleep with In an Out Burger ‘ho’s. It’s not delicious because it’s packed with healthy goodness. In and Out is basically everything McDonalds wants to be, but isn’t. It’s like McDonalds that doesn’t have McD’s signature “faint whiff of garbage truck”.
Then it was back to the Bowling Alley, and the bar had closed.
The sign on the right says "Popcorn only in the bar". I guess the popcorn must be the free bar snack.
See now, in South Africa, when the bar closes, everyone bails. Often drunk drives, but if not, shares taxis, or whatever. In America… they start singing the songs from Musicals, apparently. Or maybe it’s just the film school students I hang out with.
Sarah wouldn't let me take a picture where she wasn't pulling a face.
I don’t know any songs from Musicals. They’re kinda big here. I guess a lot of them are from here.
Anyhow, they sang for hours, and then when everyone was sober, and only then, we left. Not that anyone got particularly drunk in the first place. I was impressed, and amused.
Driving back to American and British rock ‘n roll classics on the radio, I realised one of the very powerful things about American culture: That musicals and rock ‘n roll and pop radio hits are part of shared folk culture here. I suspect would be unimaginable, in America, to grow up with parents who couldn’t sing you a Doors song, or were vague about who Billy Holiday or Fleetwood Mac or Nina Simone might be.
I wonder what the South African equivalent is. Miriam Makeba, perhaps, or oh no, no. Not Shosholoza? I love being from a place with many questions, with no clear answers, that could still become anything it wants to. But sometimes, from far away, it’s hard to grasp and impossible to hold onto.
* Wiki says: The film title originates from the story of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold – the two students responsible for the Columbine High School massacre – attended a school bowling class early that morning, at 6:00 a.m., before they committed the attacks at school starting at 11:19 a.m. Later investigation showed that this was based on mistaken recollections, and Glenn Moore of the Golden Police Department concluded that they were absent from school on the day of the attack.
I haven't seen The Sound of Music. But I've heard the whole thing now.