We just got back from spending a couple of days at the ocean in Long Beach, Washington. The weather was as good as it gets in February, the air was fresh, and the dogs managed to make the beach at least temporarily free of seagulls. It was a wonderful and much-needed break from home. We haven’t been on any kind of trip together since the summer of 2008. We had plans for last summer, but …. well, yet another reason why cancer sucks.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=bubbles&iid=247585″ src=”0244/625f30c1-7aca-473c-9e86-30ef55cc8ea0.jpg?adImageId=10636884&imageId=247585″ width=”234″ height=”219″ /]When I go on a trip I like to observe people. There are certain characters you run across wherever you go. On this trip we ran into more Bubble People. A Bubble Person is sealed inside a protective bubble of his or her own making — the one and only being in the center of a universe constructed by and for one person.
In this case two Bubble People were renting the cottage next door to us in a row of cottages that have one or two feet of fresh air between. The weather was wonderful and the cottages are small, so most people left the windows open at night.
Around midnight our dogs began making small closed-mouth “oomphs” in their quiet indoor voices. These are the voices that say “something’s going on but we don’t think it’s a big enough deal and we know we’ll get in trouble if we bark our heads off when our people are asleep.” It took a while to teach them this and they practice it at night for the most part. Good doggies.
Still, the oomphs wake me. Hank is a heavier sleeper, so I got up to see what the pups were concerned about….. and I heard loud voices. A couple was standing on the deck of their cottage conversing about all manner of private things. Things that would make your ears burn. At the top of their voices. At midnight. And they didn’t sound drunk.
I figured the appearance of a neighbor would quiet the fools, so I leashed up the dogs so they could get a bit of a tinkle and sound any necessary alarms. They started their loud woofs as soon as we got outside.
“Oh,” said the female half of the Bubble Couple, “You have dogs. Are they tiny?”
Are they tiny? What kind of question is that? Furthermore, who asks that kind of question? What does it matter? Both dogs both have huge voices so I know they don’t sound tiny. One weighs 15 pounds and one weighs 30 pounds. How does one define tiny? In comparison to something else? To a Great Dane? Or maybe to Bubble Girl’s brain. That must be the measurement tool. So I said….
“No. They’re not tiny,” and added, “They were barking because they could hear you.”
“Oh,” said Bubble Girl, “really?” She was genuinely surprised. To be fair, Bubble Boy was starting to look embarrassed.
I think Bubble Girl’s bubble must have sprung a small leak because a thought entered her brain, “Could you hear us too?”
I looked from her, mere feet away, to our cabin and back again. The window was open. They had not been talking in their quiet indoor voices. Truly this was a person who, unlike your average dog, thought that if you couldn’t see her then you couldn’t hear her — she lived in a Bubble of Silence.
“Well yes,” I said, “You might want to keep your voices down or change the subject.”
Oh, how I love to pop that kind of bubble. Bubble Boy deflated immediately and slunk back into the cottage. Bubble Girl seemed to be made of stronger stuff.
“Oh. I had no idea,” she said in a way that wasn’t an apology, merely and observation.
Truly she didn’t have any idea and she might never. Is this a form of “ignorance is bliss” and a harbinger of a happy, though selfish, life? Sometimes I wonder.