Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

October 18, 2013

DAVIS: It's never too late to savor an analog moment

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — As many of you know, October is Learn to Bowl Month.

According to the Bowling Proprietors Association of America (BPAA), the month provides a chance to “introduce new people to bowling and develop new fall league bowlers” by promoting the industry’s highly successful learn-to-bowl program “Bowling 2.0.”

Learn to Bowl month and Bowling 2.0 provide people with a rare opportunity to escape the confluence of tradition and technology that surrounds us these days. Bowling 2.0 is not a web program or an iPhone app that tracks your bowling scores and allows you to share them instantly via Twitter, as the terminology “2.0” usually implies, it’s a four-week bowling class that offers in-person help for free during the month of October.

I know it sounds crazy, in-person training in the year 2013, but it might be one of the most exciting things I’ve heard about this year!

Longtime readers may remember my failed attempt to learn Spanish last year. I gathered all the best materials: a copy of Rosetta Stone, a list of favorite Spanish language websites so I could immerse myself in the language and a collection of awesome “everyday Spanish” learning apps. More than a year later, I am still wholly unable to speak the language.

As our calendar grows ever nearer to the futuristic setting of “Back to the Future II,” it seems society is doing its best to automate as many interactions as possible.

You used to have to go to a movie theater to see what movies were playing and when. For a time, the “high tech” way was calling the theater and listening to a voice recording, usually made by a teen-aged theater employee. Later still, there was “Mr. Moviefone” who kept the name even after he became a website, then an AOL Instant Messenger ‘bot. Now, many of us pull out our phones and search “movie time.” If you’re on a newer Android phone, “Google Now” auto-suggests movies for you and tells you where and when they’re playing near you.

To many, that’s an example of the success of the digital age. Look how ‘easy’ everything is!

But in our quest to make things quick and easy, I think we may have lost sight of why we do things.

Going to the movies by yourself can be relaxing, sure, but the real appeal of planning almost any outing is getting to share an experience with other people.

In my younger days, I would gather a crew of friends to see a movie and, with only a vague idea what was playing based on commercials that I mostly ignored, we would head to the theater.

What are we seeing? What time does it start? Can we get an older kid to buy us tickets to that R-rated movie?

These were the questions we’d have when arriving at the theater. Answering them was half the fun of the night.

Today those same friends and I would just pull out our phones, talk about how everyone on Twitter says “‘Gravity’ is dope!” and then by our tickets to the R-rated film. There’s no more nervously walking into the theater and following an adult couple uncomfortably close so the ticket clerks think they’re our chaperones. Where’s the fun in that?

Bowling may be the last bastion of in-person, low-tech all-American entertainment left in the world. Even better, there is minimal threat of it ever changing. What are they going to do, replace the pins with holograms? I think not.

The month is half over, but it’s never too late to enjoy the analog things in life.

Vincent Davis II is a Cornell graduate, DJ, and market development specialist in the IT industry. He can be contacted at vincedavis06@gmail.com.