I admit it, I make believe I am strong, stoic, and capable. But, I am not. Actually, I am weak. That is why I live in “the” bubble. You know the one I am talking about, the proverbial one where nothing can get in that forces me do deal with the reality swirling, like Lear’s tempest, just outside my false reality. Of course, I am self-conscious enough to know that this is foolish, even stupid, edging beyond ignorance. That is why I have found it necessary to double wrap. Yes, I have a bubble within the bubble. I’ll bet you do too.
I try not to, but I do; at times the bubble seems impervious, my turtle shell, armadillo skin, my modern day medieval armor. I know it gives me a false sense of comfort, a safety unassured, but like others, I do this as a simple matter of self-protection. Yet, lately, that just doesn’t seem safe enough. Thus, the bubble within the bubble. Far stronger than kryptonite. Able to repel the most repugnant truths. Constructed out of a pathos impervious to logic. Impenetrable. You have one, don’t you? Maybe less the paranoia expressed here, but sure you do. How else does one face down reality day-to-day? Think ISIS, indiscriminate crime, bathtubs, the last step; you know, the one that is a doozy. Think strangers lurking. Or relatives lurking. Think gravity and asteroids, earthquakes, sink holes, the ten plagues or anything else completely out of human control. Like babies! Just kidding… almost.
The obvious conundrum? I know that inside my bubble that is inside my other bubble I have no greater control of the outcome of my existence. I can subdue the siren’s call to nothingness, but I know it is just a mind game. Choosing oblivion inside the bubble versus facing the chaos outside may seem a better choice, but it is not. Close your eyes. Internalize. Forget all. Dream wonderful dreams. Wake up. Robert Penn Warren was right when he said in All the King’s Men (I am paraphrasing) that you can escape into “The Big Sleep,” but sooner or later you have to wake up. Inside my bubble I subdue the siren’s call to nothingness; restrain myself from the mindlessness spewed from spurious soothsayers who know not what they do (or why they do it). Inside the bubble I keep the evil doers at bay; those that wish to burst my preferred reality; the one I have worked so hard to protect inside my bubble. Yet, my hard fought struggle is fatally flawed just like “The Big Sleep.”
Inarguably, outside the bubble, amidst the chaos, the world is a beautiful place. I discovered that long before I “grew up” and realized that its counterpart, evil, was lurking in the shadows. And, as sophisticated as my bubble may be, it does not filter our just the bad stuff. The good stuff, the reasons for living, are filtered as well. That, in short, is the fatal flaw. I do not mean cat videos, or sports championships or anything lauded by current fashion. I do mean any of those things that we love for no particular reason other than we do, like kids, and dogs (cats too… at times), brilliant simple solutions to perplexing problems, rain peppering a corrugated roof on a hot, humid night, or that moment when you look in someone’s eyes, someone you love and know they are thinking the exact same thing as you.
At times, when working with an organization like the Greater Impact Foundation the temptation to withdraw inside the bubble is strong. It is quite evident when one witnesses life at the bottom of the pyramid that there are better places to be. Yet, it is that very experience, which is most definitely outside the bubble, which is the genesis for those things one wishes to protect inside the bubble. Again, the conundrum. The hard truth is that the concept of the bubble is truly vacuous. It is unnecessary. Truthfully, those living in poverty do not have the luxury of such a contemplation. It is a privilege no matter how flawed, unavailable to those with no time to consider anything other than the next 24 hours. Equally, living life outside the bubble reveals the beauty of the world while simultaneously compelling us to face the obstacles impeding our hopes for humanity. It forces one to face reality head on and do something to burst the bubble forever. Again, the conundrum, but one worth confronting.