Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Clutter, Bowling, and the Tensions of Moving

Last night, Bob and I went bowling, and both of us came home with trophies from our summer league playing. Even though Bob is generally a better bowler than me, this was his first trophy, in recognition of a phenomenal night he had not long ago where he didn't seem to miss.

As for me, I show up and I get a trophy, which may have something to do with the fact that the league leans heavily male. It's like all those kids who get soccer trophies at the end of the season, even if their main contribution was bringing juice boxes. I tend to win awards in the female category, mainly coming in second after the league's phenomenal lead bowler, Beth. Many nights, Beth and I are the only two female bowlers. I don't even have to bring juice boxes.

So Bob, now in possession of his own trophy says, "We're not going to take all these trophies home with us. We should each pick just one."

Here are my trophies:

They are as heavy as bricks and made of clear glass, each announcing the International Friendship Bowling League, the date, the name, and the reason for the trophy. I think they make wonderful mementos of our time in Beijing.

Here is Bob's trophy:
Now, I ask: Is it really fair for me to give up three of my four trophies just to keep things even?

"But you said you wanted to declutter when we got home," Bob argued.

I think, instead, that this might be a certain person trying to even up the cosmic imbalances in our bowling fame. After all, this is a man who is loathe to part with any small item from our children's youth: a clumsily painted window box that we won at a school auction, a garish yellow quilt that we again won because we outbid other parents, a full bag of stuffed animals, and so on.

I also think that our surprisingly irritable argument over how many trophies to take home is more of a symbol of the tension we might face in the coming weeks as we prepare to move. This morning, for instance, we had a 20-minute argument over whether or not we would need to rent a car when we got back and who might pay for that. I'm going to predict that as real things start to go wrong with the move, those arguments will get a little more ridiculous.

For now, though, I want to celebrate some of the nice little moments we've had in Beijing. Our bowling league is truly international and we always have fun. If my beautiful glass trophies somehow meet an unsavory end, I've still got sweet memories of those nights.

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