April 26, 2010

We Live In A Bubble

Call me The Boy In The Bubble. For god only knows how long I have been ensconced in my own world. I am not talking about the dream world I escape to when I am writing Fragments of Fiction but the real world. The real world in which I occupy a thousand different roles as father, son, husband, friend, cousin and wannabe maverick.  (Thank you Sarah Palin for helping to make that word a little less fun  to use.)

Anyway, in my world the responsibilities rotate throughout the day. About ten minutes ago I was called upon to play dad and was forced to let the dark haired beauty do my hair and makeup. Her brother was none too happy watching me become beautiful so when it was done I grabbed him in a bear hug and rolled around the floor with him.

And then I retreated to the bedroom. Alone, I sit on my bed and type this post. A set of earphones are plugged in so that I can listen to the music of my choice. It helps me to concentrate and focus upon my work and tonight I have a substantial amount. I am not quite ready to begin, so this serves as a way to decompress and clear my head.

A short while ago I read Jessica Gottlieb's This Is Mommy Blogging and shook my head. It is a sad story about the death of a homeless man. A man who bled to death on a public sidewalk and died alone and uncared for. Just one more senseless death that came about because we all live in a bubble.

We live busy and important lives. I don't say that sarcastically or with any sort of snark. Everyday we scurry about and work hard to take care of the things that are important in our worlds. Parents know all about this. How many hours do mothers and fathers spend on things that are related to our childrens' welfare.

And sadly if you live in a big city it is highly likely that you have grown accustomed to the presence of homeless people all around you. You pass them on the road, outside the supermarket and all around the places you go. Sometimes you acknowledge them and grant them the gift of a friendly smile or food/money. Other times you shun them, you fear that they are mentally imbalanced and potentially dangerous so you try to stay away.

Either way it doesn't matter because the reality is that most of us have learned to walk around, step over or pass by with complete indifference. We are living in the bubble.

I like to think that I do a good job of popping the bubble for myself and for the kids. I like to think that I do a good job of opening their eyes and teaching them to value what they have. I like to think that they appreciate their good fortune and understand that we give back because it is the right thing to do.

But sometimes I wonder. Yesterday I realized that if I let my son play his DS in the car he misses the world outside the window. Sights of magic, mystery and the mundane pass by without any sort of cognition. He is already secure in the bubble that we call a Honda Odyssey, the DS just takes him further away. Am I doing him a favor by letting him play or am I helping him to tune out faster and sooner.

I wonder.

And is it fair for me to ask these questions when I am just a larger version of him. Stick me on a plane or any sort of public transportation and I take out the iPod or a newspaper. As an avowed people watcher I won't hide in the bubble the whole time, but...


Keith Wilcox said...

I'm leaving on a trip today to California; we're driving from Colorado. The scenery is absolutely beautiful through the mountains and the high desert, and the last time we took this trip the boys just about missed it all because they were playing their video games and watching movies instead of watching the cacti go by. We do live in a bubble, and that's a bit sad. I avoid homeless people like the plague. We have so many panhandlers here in Boulder that do it for a living and not because they need it that finding an actually needy homeless person (not one who's doing it intentionally) is really rare.

I'll keep the kids off the video games today! Thanks for the nice post :-)

tysdaddy said...

Bubbles are funny things, for as much shelter as we think we may have within them, they eventually thin out and pop.

Great post . . .

Jack said...

Hi Keith,

I have done that drive and it is absolutely stunning in places. It is hard not to live in the bubble. All about balance I suppose.


They do thin out and pop- question is what happens then.