Uh, bowling, with a dog who goes from 0 to 100 on the excitement scale to a PARTY. Bowling, where all they do is throw big BALLS around. What was I thinking?
Bingo was great on the walk in. The only problem was that none of Eliot's friends were familiar with service animals and they all fell in love and wanted to pet Bingo. So I felt like the party pariah by saying, "No, I'm sorry. You can't pet him. He's working." They were super nice about it, but still, Cheryl = party fun killer. Plus, you can't bowl when you have a guide dog. I wasn't thinking about that. Although, technically, he is on the LEFT side, and I bowl on my right side, so I could bowl with him. I think the bowling people might have objected to that though.
The other thing that happens at birthday parties that I had completely forgotten about was effusive greetings, back slapping, huge hugs and high fives. Each one was watched eagerly by Bingo and in his tiny labrador mind they all heralded mammoth, spectacular ecstasy just moments away. He vibrated.
I sat at the table and had Bingo lay down. What struck me immediately was this bowling alley had the cleanest floors in the nation. I swear that you literally could eat off this floor. There was not one crumb on it. I know this because Bingo looked and was unable to find one. NOT ONE. I think that is what saved the evening. He was so disheartened by the fact the there were no crumbs and that I was sitting and no super ecstatic revelatory experience was in the offing for him that he just gave up and lay down. He was a good boy, a really good boy for two hours.
We did have one close call though. Fred finally came over to let me bowl a couple of times and he took off his shoes. He wasn't paying attention and one of the bowling managers came over and gave Fred a stern look and pointed down at Bingo.
"He's chewing on the shoes!"
Fred said, "Oh." And then reached over to take the massively abused shoe (abused by other bowlers, not by Bingo) out of Bingo's mouth. "Right." We decided that I should walk out with Bingo first and Fred should return the shoes. There were no visible teeth marks. 8-)