A poem based on her fieldnotes.

Clunking, thunking, the musical sound of bowling pins.

 

They fall on the wooden floor.

 

Bowlers high-five each other.

 

“Nice going, Corey! Woo-hoo!”

 

I want French fries as I walk out the door.

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Myra’s notes, attempting the style of David Foster Wallace

We walked into the brightly lit environment of the bowling alley, with the sound of balls thunking and clunking as they hit strikes on the glossy hardwood floors. The pins falling sounded musical. Sporadic applause filled the place and people occasionally high-fived each other. Monitors with brightly colored displays flickered.

 

Three guys in their 50s or 60s sat at a table. One was bald, his head beautifully shiny in the light, with a smudge of brown, close-clipped hair and slight sideburns. Another man wore a cap.  There was a woman with light golden brown hair, a beautiful color. It was slightly wavy and held back with a tortoise shell clip.

 

One man went to Rowan for an engineering degree. Nearby, a woman in a low-cut pink shirt bummed a French fry off a companion.

 

The people mostly lived in Glassboro and Clayton. They played in the All Mixed Up league every Tuesday. There is also an all female league from Glassboro.

 

A man aged around 35 wore a wrist brace and a faded Penn State t shirt. He had a friend wearing a closed cropped hairstyle and a diamond earring.

Another person wore a Freilenger t shirt, jeans, sweatshirts and T shirts.

 

A voice booms over the loudspeaker: “Nice going, Corey! Woo-hoo!”

 

An elderly man patted me on the back.

 

There was also a woman named Kori who went to St. Peter’s College. She was originally from New Orleans, and since it was Mardi Gras, she had bracelets and necklaces in the proper gold, purple, green colors.

random fieldnotes about someone’s hair

I followed a man at the bowling alley on Tuesday night because of his very interesting hairstyle. The man was clean shaven with neatly trimmed sideburns near his ears, and his hair was colored a dark brown.
It was short overall, but his hair was cut a lot shorter on the sides of his head, approximately a quarter of an inch long. It was longer on top, maybe an inch long, give or take. The longer hair at the top of his head was gelled back, and it looked like he combed it while he was putting on the gel.
I then noticed a small space near the top of his hair style. Was he starting to go bald? This man looked like he was in his late teens to mid twenties. He was at the bowling alley with two bald guys, based on whom were at his table by the lane he was using.
I did not talk to this man or any of his companions. It felt a little awkward watching somebody and observing his hairstyle, but I managed to stay hidden in the crowd at a counter between the bowling lanes and the concession stand. There was a very good sized crowd at the bowling alley for a Tuesday night, partially because of league matches.

more field notes

I noticed a Girl Scout selling cookies at a table in the bowling alley. Her name was Skyler, and her mom was Tracey. It was her first time selling the cookies. She is in a Saturday league at the bowling alley. One person had bought it so far, another asked for a box for later. One person also asked if they would still be there.

Skyler’s troop asked business owners if they could sell the cookies at their places, the bowling alley included. They also sold at Shoprite, Acme, Wawa, Nail Expo, Pep Boys, Dominos, Barnes and Noble. The troop was from Glassboro, Clayton, and Aura.

The cookies cost $4 a box. The reason Skyler was there was because her uncle also bowled there. Tracey left the table and came back frequently. They were leaving after they were finished selling at 8:30 because it was a school night. They would be back on Friday and Saturday.

The alley also has a Lousy Bowler Club and does fundraisers. It first smelled like cleaning fluid, and then fried chicken.

There is also a bar. It smelled of smoking. There were pool tables in there for a league on Tuesdays. The people participating there were only there to play pool, not to bowl. There were only about 10 people in there. Two violin cases were on a table next to some pool sticks. Three people were eating at a table, five people sat watching the pool games, one person was drinking at the bar. There were two TVs over the bar and four more over the tables. There were drink specials written on a light-up board and other signs around the place. There was also a blank video screen and Rowan pennants. A dance floor was in the corner.

An example of a spontaneous memorial…

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This is an example of a 2010 memorial at the University of Virginia for Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who disappeared while going to a nearby rock concert and whose skeleton was discovered at a farm. People from all over the state left paintings, pins, posters, and rocks on a bridge near the area where she was last seen alive. Because she was from one major state university and the case happened near another university, more people were interested in this incident. There was also a political statement, with the “MURDERED” markups on the missing signs.