Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ixnay on the Alloonbays, Easeplay

There is no reason for balloon animals.

I don't know why, but they creep me out. I was reminded of this at work today when I walked through a department going from point A to point B and saw a woman holding, for no apparent reason, a pink balloon shaped into a heart with a blue balloon poodle humping one of the sides.

I hate watching performers make balloon animals. I cringe every time they start twisting, twisting, to make yet another improbable appendage, sure that at any moment, it's going to pop.

I cannot pop a balloon. I discovered this in fifth grade at a birthday party for a classmate named Heather. Heather's mother had put inside each balloon a slip of paper with a number on it, then blown them up. We were supposed to pop them, find the number, and the kid with the lucky number would win a prize. While my classmates clambered around in glee, joyfully sitting on their balloons, I poked at my yellow balloon tentatively, then tried to convince myself to let my whole weight sit on it. I couldn't. I was terrified and ashamed -- I'd been outed as a balloon-phobe! Heather's mom popped my balloon for me. I didn't win anything.

In fact, I don't like loud noises or sudden starts, even if I know they're coming. I had a big problem with the game Perfection. (This didn't stop my parents from enhancing the terror with the purchase of Superfection.) And you know those rubber figures on a spring stuck on a suction cup that you'd push down, and then after a minute they would pop up into the air? Yeah, you can imagine.

But my balloon issues don't end here. I also am deeply disturbed when I see a helium balloon floating up into the sky. Suddenly, I feel like I am that balloon, and my stomach gets queasy like I'm on a roller coaster, and I anthropomorphize the rising balloon and hear it saying, "Down! I want down! I'm afraid of heights! Where will this stop?"

And the poor thing floats farther and farther away, until it disappears from view. And I imagine it up there with the clouds, and with the airplanes, and then finally drifting up into outer space, looking at the Earth from afar and landing ... on Pluto, maybe.


Serena said...

I don't have balloon issues, but I'm definitely adverse to loud and sudden noises. I even like my tv down low.

Callimachus said...

Jason L. said...

I saw a giant Jeff Koons "Balloon Dog" sculpture at LA's MoMA (on the same day the US invaded Afghanistan -- yeah, America!). I have to admitI thought it was cool. So I'm with Team Koons.