A friend of mine had his 25th birthday today. To celebrate, we got together at a bowling lane and had a couple of games. Some friends from his philosophy class came by as well and I had the pleasure of meeting them for the first time. We indulged in a pitcher of beer and a basket of french fries as we knocked down pins and had a few laughs (I stuck to water because I was a designated driver).
About an hour into our bowling session, we took a break so that our friend could open his presents. Now, it should be known that our group is a motley crew of gamers and geeks, so the gifts given to our friend were unconventional, to say the least. One present was a bar of chocolate bacon (or was it bacon-flavored chocolate?). I had a taste of this and found it very...odd. First, there was chocolate, warm and smokey moving down my tongue and then, when it hit the back of my throat, bam! Bacon (I'm still not sure if I liked it or not). Another present was a small, homemade straw figurine of Polynesian design. Evidently, it was a statue to a goddess of oral sex. Don't ask.
Soon after the gift giving, an announcement was made over the intercom: The co-owner of the bowling lane had died just a few hours ago. We were asked to stop bowling and have a moment of silence. All the noise in the building came to a slow halt. After several seconds of silence, they thanked us and asked us to continue bowling. The noise gradually returned as if an invisible hand were adjusting the volume of the world around us.
Finished with bowling, we got into our cars and drove to a nearby pub for dinner. The pub was packed with people watching the Giants play against the Cardinals on the wide screen TVs. Fortunately, we were able to find a table large enough to seat us. A pair of musicians were strumming guitars in the corner as we ate and drank more beer (ice tea, for me).
The band played Don McLean's American Pie.
The crowd sang along:
So bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die
While eating our meal, we watched the baseball game. It was the bottom of the ninth and the Giants had a man on first and second base. The Cardinals were leading, two to one. The batter for the Giants stepped up to the plate. He swung and popped the ball into the air down center field. A pair of catchers for the Cardinals were directly underneath it, ready to grab it. At first, it looked like they had caught it, but then an incredible thing happened.
The ball fell right out of their hands.
The Giants had won, three to two.
The crowd in the pub exploded with cheering and shouting. It was like an eruption of pure joy. Everyone was on their feet clapping, cheering, and laughing.
At the end of dinner, we sang the happy birthday song for our friend as he ate a slice of cheesecake. We then spent about half an hour just shooting the shit, catching up on old times and talking about whatever. Once we had our fill of food and conversation, we wished each other a good night and went our separate ways.
Driving home, I thought about how strange and wonderful life can be sometimes.