Bernard Salt: talking in a bubble. Ruth Ostrow’s date with danger.
Aquarius Obviously, you’re not going to blitz your hard-won personal and professional identity over a temporary obstacle or take advice from people whose lives seem blocked.
A few weeks ago I talked about the rise of the bubble people, members of a tribe that lives within and never leaves its lifestyle-rich inner-city sanctuary. Bubble people go to the gym and do coffee and have such interesting jobs. Bubble people do yoga and pilates and wear their activewear absolutely everywhere. Why would bubble people ever leave when civilisation diminishes with distance from the bubble?
In fact, speak to a bubble person and they will say, “Oh I never travel to the suburbs.” Actually this is not quite true. Bubble people drive through the suburbs on their way to the airport. Do you know what frightens bubble people? Having their car break down in suburbia. Where would they go? What would they do? They’d be all alone stuck in the … in the … suburbs!
Now apart from this being all very interesting, do you know what else the bubble people have done? They have created their own language. They have done this is so that in a crowded room they can secretly communicate with each other. They use words that only other bubble people can understand.
Shhh! Can you hear that? It’s a bubble person saying, “Hello … I’m a bubble person … are you bubble person too? Because if you are a bubble person I like you.”
Now, fortunately for you, I speak fluent bubble so I am going to translate what is being said. When one bubble person wants to communicate with another in a sea of suburbanistas, do you know what they say? They use a word like “ecosystem” as in “we want to create a whole ecosystem of support”. Or, better still, “a whole ecosystem of disruption”.
Ecosystem and disruption in a single sentence is bubble gold. Gold! It’s a little bit green, it’s a little bit edgy and it’s a little bit clever and of course the entire bubble nation just loves that sort of thing. It makes them feel so cosmopolitan, so informed.
Actually I feel sorry for bubble people because they had such a good thing going when they could communicate with each other using words like sustainable and resilient. All you had to do in a discussion, in any discussion, was ask “what are the sustainability implications of that?” and you were admitted to the bubble tribe.
But then these words were picked up and used by everyone and they became common. Dreadfully common.
Oh the bubble people have tried their best with other fashionable words like innovation, which is all the go now, but it’s not the same. Those dreary suburbanistas are commandeering every fashionable word the bubble people invent. It’s hard work being a bubble person; you have to stay ahead of the game. What to do?
I have it! Communicate with other bubble people not through single fashionable words but through pre-packaged, non-negotiable judgments.
Something not quite right? Someone complaining? Put down your phone and your long macchiato, look soulfully into the distance and drolly opine, “That’s a First World problem.”
No further explanation needed because other bubble people get it.
Life in the bubble isn’t as easy. You have to be on your mettle, evolving your language, ideas and behaviour.
Because if you are not evolving as a bubble person, you risk being swallowed up by the ordinariness of Australian life. And that would never do.