Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Monday Vignette: Bubbles

It isn't a great way to wake up - the light too bright, the shoulder being shaken, the insistent little voice next to my ear in counterpoint with my husband's: "Judy, it's time to get up... "/ "Mama, I'm hungry, make me breakfust!" / "Judy? Judy, wake up..." "I wanna egg! I wan' toast with Cheez Whiz!" The above is generally a signal that I've overslept, which in itself means I didn't get enough sleep during the night.

However - I have a Monday morning nine o'clock class, so I drag myself up and into the shower. The breakfast I throw together for myself and Katherine doesn't sit well on my stomach for some reason. Bry is still not feeling well from his bout with stomach flu and decides to call in sick. And there's a note on our front door from our next-door neighbour, a MJU professor, coolly asking us to 'take in our clothes hanger' out of the 'public space' while acknowledging the fact that we are 'with child' - presumably the logic here is that we can be assumed to need more space. Nonetheless she seems to feel that having to look at our three coats hanging neatly on a foot-wide, meter-and-a-half-tall hatstand (next to our door and not impeding traffic in any way) is detrimental to her well-being in the morning.

Classes, despite this unpromising beginning, go well. We're starting Unit Three (already? The midterm exam is only a couple of weeks away!) and studying Adverbs of Frequency (which are much easier to master than their name would imply). Red, Purple, Blue, and Green class all dutifully hand in their homework, and most of it is of pretty high quality, from a superficial examination.

I stroll back down the hall from a quick visit to the water fountain between my Blue (1 - 2 pm) and my Green (2 - 3) class, and pass the cleaning adjummas. Usually this trio of diminutive, hunched 'aunties' in grey uniform blouses and baggy grey/blue pants scuttle cheerfully from room to room, sweeping, wiping, dumping garbage, and looking busy. At the moment all three of them are sitting on the floor against the second-floor balcony rail with a long piece of bubblewrap over their legs like a futuristic shawl. And they are all happily popping the bubbles.

I stop. I stand in front of them, causing a temporary rift and redirection in the stream of students around me. I slowly start to grin as they look up at me: three wrinkled faces on perma-bend, wattled necks - three pairs of calloused, swollen-knuckled, hard-working hands - three pairs of short legs tucked comfortably into a half-lotus - all sitting there popping bubblewrap like three-year olds. I hunker down in front of them and they grin back. And the four of us pop bubbles together, in a stolen, theraputic, tranquil moment of satisfaction.

Pop pop pop.

You try it.

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