Drugs, Water, Balloons, and a Suitcase
January 28, 2013 § 29 Comments
I was having trouble with a metaphor.
I was trying to explain to someone how much I need good conversation in my daily life, how grateful I am for it. I’m talking fun, smart, two-way, challenging, question-and-answer conversation. I don’t just like it. I need it.
So I said, maybe I am addicted to conversation. Like a drug.
A hit of great conversation can make me feel lit-up, productive, happy. Too long without it, and I’m anxious, down, unable to get untangled from my own thoughts. Written or out-loud, either way is fine, but I’m picky about quality. Boring small talk just isn’t the same. If I can’t get the good stuff, I’d rather not have anything and just deal with the shakes.
Aaand… that’s as far as I got with that metaphor. (I’m not very up on my lingo, what with not doing drugs of any sort these days.) So I tried… I need good conversation like water.
Yes. That’s it. Like water. I thirst for great conversation. Without it, I’ll dry up and blow away. With it, my leaves… oh dammit, now it sounds like I’m a plant. That’s not what I was going for. Metaphors are hard.
And then it came to me: balloon animals. My need to make good conversation is like a need to make balloon animals.
Hear me out: A need to make balloon animals on a regular basis is something a lot of people don’t understand. Balloon animals are probably considered non-essential to most. Frivolous to some. But they are important to me. (In this metaphor, I mean. Where they represent conversation. In real life, I don’t give a shit about balloon animals.) Metaphorically: When something good or bad or funny or interesting happens, I breathe it in. I hold it inside and let it fill up my lungs for a while. Then I reach a point where I have to blow that breath out and make it into something I can see. I need to show it to someone else and say, “What do you think of this?” Some people are keep-it-all-inside people. I am a balloon-animal-it-out person.
I’m happy to make balloons into just about anything. If you have a dog, we can make balloon animal dogs. If you like music, I will make you a balloon guitar. If you are a book lover – and oh, how I love a book lover who also loves balloon animals – let’s read a book and then make the characters out of balloons. Hell, I like to make balloon animals just for fun.
(Is this working? The balloon animal thing? Or should I go back to “drugs” or “water” or just “conversation”? I think I’ll stick with it a bit longer, see how it goes.)
Not everyone wants a balloon animal. Some people don’t see the point. Some are too busy. Some people, frankly, just aren’t any good at it – you hand them a balloon animal and they can’t figure out what it is. I’m sorry, but I can’t make balloon animals with a dumbass who can’t tell a balloon giraffe from a balloon hedgehog.
I am most delighted when I pull a balloon out of the little suitcase of balloons I drag around (does this count as a new metaphor, now that we’ve introduced the suitcase?) and say, “Watch this!” and — wiggity-wiggity-twist — a balloon monkey or frog or piglet or bear appears; and I hold it out in my hands, and someone takes it, and they say, “Oh, I know exactly what this is.”
Then, in the absolute best-case scenario, they reach into their suitcase and pull out a balloon and say, “Here. See if you can figure out this one.”
Yep. That’s it.
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PS: After I wrote this, I had this thought: What if you were addicted to literal balloon animals? Like you got the shakes if you didn’t have a balloon animal in your hands at all times? That would be funny. I mean, sad, I guess. But funny.