“Isn’t it beautiful,” the lady said, fumbling about in her bag for her iPhone to take a picture. “Imagine how pretty it would look at night.”
We were in the middle of Charing Cross, passing by the Alexandra Fountain. Full of bubbles.
Was she serious? Yes she was.
Obviously deft with the gadget, the lady got her snap in that brief interlude between traffic light changes.
Ahh... the ol’ empty-a-bottle-or-two-of-bubble-bath-into-the-fountain trick. Nothing new about that one. However, turns out one woman’s practical joke is another’s Kodak moment.
And it got me thinking… as I do. Life is all about perspective, isn’t it.
It’s not what we see but how we comprehend it that effects us.
As a writer of local stories, it’s something I’m constantly reminding myself of.
Everything should be seen with fresh eyes, rather than the dulled-down apathy and contempt of weary familiarity or weasel words.
Why shouldn’t that lady have found a fountain of bubbles beautiful? I’m sure any child would have agreed with her.
Perhaps those bubbles were one person’s attempts to cut through what they see as mundane and have some brief influence over the spaces around them?
We all need to do that once in a while.
The next day, something important in my life popped. Just like that.
There I was, floating on the good vibes of something awesome, and then it was gone.
In moments of loss like that you’ve got to be kind to yourself, so I took myself off to the Hepburn Bath House, midweek.
Trust me, when you live two blocks from the local heated pool, driving an hour and paying $25 for a dip feels super indulgent.
There I was, sitting in a massive, frothing spa overlooking the bush, relaxation music piping through the steam, when the lady next to me struck up a conversation. And she told me a secret.
How delicious! It was a heady mix, sitting with the heat and someone else’s confession.
You know what it’s like, when you’re harbouring knowledge you’ve sworn to keep bottled and you just feel like you could boil over with it.
The obvious answer is to tell a stranger.
I know what that’s like.
I’ve told fellow train passengers things I wouldn’t tell my mother. Just the sort of hopes and dreams you usually dare not breath life to.
You can have some great conversations on a train. It feels like you’re cocooned within a moving cone of silence. When you figure you’ll never see a person again, and you sense they have a kind and sympathetic ear, well, that’s a gift you can’t ignore.
But back to the bubbles... All this reminds me of one afternoon when I was a kid and my “cool” aunty at the time decided my little brother and I absolutely needed to know how to blow bubblegum.
The three of us were sitting around the dining booth of a caravan parked outside my grandparent’s house when she brought out three soft, fat pink pillows of Hubba Bubba.
To us, it was Illicit material. Chew, chew, chewing and puff, puff, puffing pink bubbles to pop across our faces at that little Laminex table is a forever memory. I felt like I’d shared in a sacred moment that day. And all because of bubbles.
The instant the lady in the spa confided she covered her mouth. “I shouldn’t have told you that,” she said.
I assured her the secret was safe with me.
(I didn’t tell her she was speaking to a columnist waiting to grasp an idea before it floated on by.)
“I don’t know why I told you that,” she said.
I can tell you, it was the bubbles... they take you out of yourself momentarily. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.