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In Praise of Bubbles

I like bubbles. I like appreciating bubbles. I like staring into a glass filled with a carbonated beverage on a hot day as condensation trickles down while a seemingly infinite wave of bubbles rises from the bottom. I like that I like bubbles, because it makes me slow down and appreciate these bubbles.

When I’m about to take a sip of that ginger ale or that well-made lager, I pause a moment to stare at the bubbles. I know they’ll soon be tickling my tongue. That anticipation and appreciation makes it taste all the better. I also know that I enjoy the taste so much that if I didn’t stop and appreciate the bubbles, I might drink it too fast, and then my glass would be empty. I’d be left with the dilemma of fetching another one and feeling bloated with too much sugar, or sitting in the sunshine without a beverage to enjoy. So I stop, pause, and stare at the bubbles between sips.

My dog loves bubbles. My toddler loves bubbles, likely for the same reason. They both love popping them and chasing them. My toddler loves making them, and I’m sure my dog would love that too, but he has yet to try and they don’t make bubble wands for doggy paws.

            I wonder why I love bubbles so much…

            What is the definition of a bubble? Does it have definable qualities? Is there an inherent ‘bubbliness’ that is indefinable but identifiable by a reasonable observer? Or is there no reason to define a bubble, and by defining what is and what is not a bubble we limit our comprehension of things that can and cannot be a bubble? Does a bubble need to be round? Well, that limits the idea of bubbles in space that have all sorts of shapes. Does it need to be tangible? Well, that limits the metaphorical bubbles like those in the stock market that make me want to walk into my backyard and ignore the stock market while I blow bubbles with my son. Is a rock a bubble? One thing’s for sure, I don’t enjoy rocks in my lager and I don’t think my toddler or dog would go chasing rocks if I threw them in the air.

            A bubble can be lots of things, but a bubble must have one thing: an end. A bubble must have the capacity to, and eventually do, pop. This is a good thing. Would I enjoy bubbles that never popped in my beverage? Then I couldn’t drink it! Why would my son and dog chase bubbles if they just got pushed around endlessly? That’s what balls are for, which are different and wonderful in their own ways.

            I think that’s why I like bubbles, and why I can’t look away from bubbles. You know, very soon, that they’re going to pop. You know their life is so short, yet so lively, and you have the capacity to view it from beginning to end. Why turn away when you see a bubble? It’s only a moment or two. It’ll be there, and gone. And then, of course, there will be more bubbles. And I get to watch those too.