In lieu of meeting in the classroom this week, BW took us to the Glassboro Bowl and Recreation Center to practice our observation and field note-taking skills. It was certainly an interesting experience! Below are pictures of the notes I took in the field, and following them is the transcription into actual paragraph-form. It’s amazing to see how much can come from the small amount of notes I took!
First stop for the field work was the ladies’ room. In the main bathroom there was brown, earthy looking tile on both the floor and walls. The stalls were not conventional metal stalls (though the door was metal, full of scratching left behind by visitors), but rather tiny rooms with walls on three sides that went all the way to the floor. While at first an appreciated difference (more privacy), I soon felt almost claustrophobic in the tiny cubicle stall.
The stall I entered had the toilet seat up—good because I know someone has recently cleaned it (or maybe a young boy was just in there), but bad because I had to touch it to replace the seat. The sink was long and flat—each faucet did not have its own sink, which vaguely reminded me of a urinal—and it had faucets with motion sensors. The soap dispensers, however, were not equipped with motion sensors. There were two paper towel holders—machines, really—that were motion activated as well. I assume both holders were motion activated, but the one on the left was not working.
Above the lanes, where the pins are set up, is a geometrical city skyline. The colors of the skyline are variations of blues and purples—mostly muted. Curious that the lanes would have a city skyline in the middle of Glassboro, NJ.
Along all the walls are neon accents—high up on the walls, close to the ceiling in curled lines. They are red, orange, and purple.
There are posters hanging on the walls: One invites bowlers to join a league. Another poster advertises their “Lousy Bowler Club,” which include a ball, t-shirt, and practice games. There is also a record of high scores of the alley.
Swing your attention to the lanes themselves and every time the pins are swept away, the bowlers are greeted with an advertisement: “Join a League!” We <3 Birthdays! Cosmic Bowling!
Each lane has its own screen suspended from the ceiling to record the progress of the game. The screens have varying color pallets—some are red, yellow, and black, others are blue, white, and black—but all have the color capability to show full-colored animations before and after shots. The screens show the bowlers where to place the ball (in relation to the pins), tells them how difficult the shot was they just made, and congratulates or mocks the bowlers for making or missing the shot. Between each set of screens, there is a yellow WARNING hanging from metal links: Do not cross over line, slippery conditions.
Each lane has its own table with four swivel chairs attached to the table (these chairs can be tricky to get in and out of). The tables are positioned so that they are alternately close to the ball return, which allows more “breathing” room for each table’s occupants. Each table has a screen attached to it for the bowlers to edit the screen above (add names, change scores, call for assistance, etc.).
The Party Room does anything but scream “Party!” with dingy purple-blue walls have chipping paint—mostly along the bottom, perhaps from shoes or chairs?—and relatively no decorations. The two decorations to be found is a movie poster of the 2001 film Osmosis Jones and poorly painted purple flowers on a bulletin board painted the same color as the walls. The only other decoration is a series of hanging droopy centerpieces (ones you’d see at a party store) that seem to have Easter egg-like patterns on them.
The fluorescent lights seem to have some kind of pattern to them, alternating between the typical fluorescent color and an almost sickly yellow. There are ceiling tiles that are sagging so badly from water leakage they seem like they will fall out of their frame any moment.
To make the room even more appealing, there is a stack of paper plates sitting on one of the tables with a used cake knife sitting on top—with cake and icing still stuck to its blade.
The bowling alley’s bar was empty and dark when I visited it. The only light comes from the beer advertisements and a smaller room attached to the bar that contained a pool table. A teenage couple was playing pool. There was a T.V. over the bar showing an episode of Man v. Food, and there was also a large blank screen with a projector. Located on that back wall of the seated area of the bar was a jukebox that held artists such as N*Sync and Jewel. There are two arcade game in the bar, including one for Shuffle Board.
I meander over toward the entrance of the building and find more arcade games. As I walk through, a boy playing on one of the games stares at me—nervous? Annoyed?—I decide to move on, for now, no need to upset him. Unfortunately, I never found my way back.
There are thirty-two bowling lanes in the alley, sixteen on one side of the building, sixteen on the other. The concession stand and shoe rental counter are both located in the center of the bowling alley, between the two set of lanes. This provides equal access to the shoes and food for both sides of the alley.
I momentarily stopped my observation of the physical aspects of the alley to buy a drink. The service was relatively slow (the servers certainly took their time and did not seem interested in customer service at all). I purchased a medium drink, which turned out to be gigantic—something I easily could have shared with three friends.
The colors on the walls were primarily purple, blue, and orange. There were also stars along the sides of the lanes (one star for each wall) that looked similar to this:
The carpeting held a lot of my interest as well, with similar primary colors as the walls—blue, red, yellow, green, purple. There was also an intriguing design that at first looked like scribbles, but on further examination, reminded me of tribal drawings, with a stick-figure man. There were also circles that looked like bowling balls (though they could have just been circles and my environment changed my perspective).