Bernard Salt: talk­ing in a bub­ble. Ruth Ostrow’s date with dan­ger.

The Weekend Australian - Life - - FOOD & WINE - BERNARD SALT saltb@theaus­tralian.com.au

Mys­tic Me­dusa

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.

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