Teeny Tiny Chronicles, Chapter 6: Follow the Bubbles


Summertime was particularly difficult for my parents, as we were at home with nothing to do for months. One way my mother kept my sister and me entertained was to bring home a whole package of pink copy paper from the hospital and letting us draw our little hearts out. We always had a large supply of copy paper hanging around. Back then, we did not have central air conditioning, so we had a large exhaust unit at the back of the house that would occasionally kick on and vent the hot air from the inside. My sister and I used to hold out bubble wands in front of the exhaust fan and let the machine generate thousands of tiny bubbles all over the sky. I mused that the entire neighborhood could see the bubbles and were eager to come over and play in our backyard with us, but, alas, nobody ever came.

I decided to up the ante one day by writing “Follow the bubbles!” on each and every leaf of copy paper left in one of the packages. This should have tipped my mother off, since I had to ask her how to spell “follow” and “bubbles”, but it was the 80s, and I’m sure her prerogative was getting me out of the house as quickly as possible.

And, as soon as I was, my sister and I got to work, alternating between blowing bubbles manually and letting the exhaust fan take over. Once I felt that the amount of bubbles was sufficient, I instructed my sister to distribute the fliers throughout the neighborhood. Since we were not allowed to actually leave the premises without one of my parents, I gave her very specific instructions to go the end of the driveway and cast each flier individually to the wind. God would take care of the rest by ensuring the wind carried each flier to the doorsteps of all our neighbors. Meanwhile, I would stay in the back yard blowing bubbles to keep the trail going. (Also, I figured that, if my mother was to discover what we were up to, I could feign innocence. After all, it wasn’t me in the driveway!)

A few seconds later, my sister returned, claiming to have completed the task. She joined me in holding the bubble wand to the exhaust fan.

Much to my disappointment, nobody showed up, and we had wasted a whole afternoon (and all of our bubble solution) trying in vain to attract new friends. Eventually, I saw my father’s car pull up, which was a signal that it was time to go inside. Curiously, my father hadn’t come in after several minutes, so I peeked out the window to see what he was up to.

Turns out, my three year old sister had hurled the entire stack of papers over the fence all at once, neither being tall nor patient enough to send each piece of paper flying one-by-one, like I had instructed. So, what we got was a mess of pink papers flying all over the street, and my father, after a long day’s work, trying to clean it up before any of the neighbors complained.

Perhaps fewer matching sailor outfits would have prevented the karmic revenge my parents endured.

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