It was midnight up in the country and my grown child and I were just straightening things up after watching a House of Cards episode when, standing under the light that hangs over the dining room table, he suddenly went “Whaaaat?”
“What what?” I said.
“What is THAT thing?” he said, indicating a tiny sphere bobbling about in the warm currents of air. Think of a snow globe that a home-décor-minded mouse might set out in his hole come the holidays.
“Is it alive? Is it attached to something? The ceiling?” he said. He passed his hand above it. No thread, or web, or filament held it.
He let it land on his hand and touched it. “It has… body. And – ew, it feels greasy. But it’s not a soap bubble….”
Just then it burst, as I was trying to take it from his hand into mine and we knew that’s exactly what was.
“But what’s a soap bubble doing way over here? And at this hour? I mean where is it FROM?’
I swallowed. I knew what was coming and so armed myself in my breeziest manner:
“Oh earlier tonight before you got here I just put a bottle of Dawn in the blender.”
There was a silence followed by that mild look of incredulity your grown kids always give you when they question your choices.
“Why?” he finally managed to say. “Why did you put a bottle of dishwashing liquid in the blender?”
This time I went for a jaunty matter-of-factness. “I was dyeing it,” I said.
“Dyeing the dishwashing liquid? OK, Mum: This is a whole new level of crazy, even for you.”
“Not at all,” I countered. “I dye all my liquid soaps if I don’t like their color, hand soaps, bath gels, all of them. Dad bought this transparent dishwashing liquid and it just looked so dull to me and I mean, who wants that? I want a dishwashing liquid with a nice deep-amber color. So I add food coloring, one drop of red, two drops of yellow and there we are! Only tonight they didn’t mix right in the bottle so that’s why I poured the whole thing in the blender.”
“But what happened when you did THAT? It didn’t spill over?”
“Oh it got a little foamy. And when I poured it back into the bottle it had this ‘head’ at the top, like you get with beer: just this layer of tiny peach-colored bubbles. So I left the cap off and I guess that’s how one bubble got to where it was still floating around two hours later and 20 feet away.”
I smiled at him, with my most confident smile.
“I don’t know, Mum,” he said, shaking his head.
I suppose the guy does realize that I’ve been dyeing my hair since he was in kindergarten but maybe not, and who knows? By the time I’m on my deathbed I may also be found to have a giant tattoo splayed all across my midriff. I may just.
But hey, I say we should all ‘decorate’ any way we please, because it’s so cheering.
Just ask that mouse with his little snow globe.