Bowling: Chicago-style

It's the time of the year for holiday happy hours, dinners, and of course, office parties. For my team, we first did some shopping for Toys for Tots before an afternoon of bowling at Chicago's Southport Lanes. An old-school, four-lane establishment, the pins here are set by hand. Green and red lights tell you when it's safe to bowl, so you don't hit the legs of your pin-setter, whose baggy jeans and sneakers you can see at the end of the lane. This being Chicago, there's a way to improve your bowling which has nothing to do with practice. Bad bowling is a problem that you can literally throw money at here. The waitress introduces you to the practice of tipping your pinsetter. Tuck a few dollars in one of the holes of the bowling ball, and intentionally roll it down the gutter. On your next turn, no matter how many pins you manage to hit, they will all tumble down. The kind intervention of a skinny stick that appears from the side. Do not tip your pinsetter and you'll find your last remaining pin lifted up by an anonymous hand so that the ball rolls right underneath it. It's then placed back down, still standing.

I started legit, but then soon realized that I was never going to make up for consecutive turns of knocking down only 2-3 pins. (See my usual anticipation, hoping for intervention.) Two $5 bills went down the gutter, and I celebrated my highest score ever: 192. (Click the photo to enlarge and see the hand that helped me!)

Walking down Southport afterwards I did some shopping before hopping on the bus home in front of Wrigley Field.

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