So. Seniors in White. About 50 of them.
Turns out they were lawn bowling.
When we first came upon them, I said, “Hey! Bocce ball!”
“No,” said a player near me with surprisingly good hearing. “Lawn Bowling.”
I stepped nearer to this guy, because he had a nice face and it was a beautiful day and it felt like we were all angels. Especially what with all those guys, on a huge square of perfectly green, perfectly trimmed grass, wearing white. I’d have barely been surprised if they had all pulled out little harps.
“What’s with the white clothes?” I wanted to ask the man. I didn’t, though, because over the years I’ve learned to heed that little voice inside of me that sometimes says, “Don't say it. It's rude.” I used to hear that voice, and think, “Really? It doesn't seem rude. Are you sure? Let’s find out.” And then I would say whatever it is my Inner Miss Manners was telling me not to.
And right after that I would always think, “Oh. Right. They chose that couch,” or “Oh, right. They actually believe that,” or whatever.
“You’re supposed to listen to that voice,” my wife had taught me. “That voice is what stops people from getting killed.” Pretty and wise. What a catch!
So instead of “What’s with the white clothes?” I said, “Lawn bowling, huh? So I guess it’s, like, a team sport?”
Another guy came and stood next to the first guy. “Sure is,” said the new old guy. “We have three teams out here right now. There’s us here on this side,” he said, indicating the three groups of dapper non-alley cats nearest us, “And there’s the opposing teams on the other side of the field.”
The four of us watched as a woman rolled a ball across the grass to a place where a bunch of other balls were. Her ball knocked one of the other balls.
“So it’s like … well, bowling,” I said. It’s been my experience that stating the obvious never hurts with the ol’ socializing.
“No it’s not,” said the first guy. For a guy with a friendly face, he was starting to seem a tad ornery. “You’re not trying to knock anything down here. You’re trying to get your ball close to one of the other balls over there.”
“Oh,” I said. "So it's like croquet?”
“It’s nothing like croquet,” he said. Then he explained why lawn bowling is nothing like croquet.
“So it’s like shuffleboard,” I said, pretty sure I’d nailed it this time.
“No, it’s not like shuffleboard,” said Mr. Decievo-Face. He seemed pretty angry at how much shuffleboard isn’t like lawn bowling. I looked at the other guy. He just kind of shrugged.
“Billiards?” I said to the first guy. “Is it like billiards? What with the … balls, and all?”
My wife moved in beside me. “C’mon, honey,” she said sweetly. She took hold of my arm. “We’ve got to get going.”
“No!” said the man. “It’s not like billiards. Do you see any pool cues out here?”
“Ah,” I said, nodding sagaciously. I looked around the field for a minute or two.
“So it’s like hot air ballooning,” I said.
Stupid little voice inside. If only it were faster.