This morning when I woke up, the sky was almost black. I knew there was going to be rain, but I didn’t realize it would be a near monsoon; the rain was coming down so hard, it wasn’t even pattering on the window. It sounded like someone was throwing buckets of water onto the glass.
Needless to say, I was a little worried about walking to class. I texted a classmate, “Is class canceled? Haha,” because if I’ve learned anything from living in Chicago, it’s that nothing stops for the weather. Cars, people, businesses, schools…Even a torrential downpour wouldn’t deter them.
On my way to class, I had to cross the street because half the road was flooded. Men were wading around in knee deep water, frantically trying to suction it up with a vacuum. One of my classmates lives in the suburbs, and it took her three hours to drive to class- a distance that usually only takes 30 to 45 minutes.
Luckily a few hours later, the rain began to let up. I was walking home, trying to dodge puddles when I saw something rainbow colored float through the air.
When I whipped my head around, I saw a man with a wagon full of supplies and two large fishing-rod type devices. He was pouring blue liquid into plastic paint bins, and dragging the sticks through the soap.
Then, just like a fly-fisherman, he quickly flicked his wrist and released a hundred rainbow-colored spheres into the air.
They floated down the sidewalk, past apartment buildings and into courtyards. In the middle of a quiet, residential street, with rain lightly sprinkling down and puddles everywhere, this man was making bubbles.
The journalist in me couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear his story. I ran back to my apartment, grabbed my camera and a notepad and walked quickly to the street where I found him making bubbles. I hoped he hadn’t left yet, and I strained my head to see over a row of cars. But then I saw students stop and do a double-take as they walked down the sidewalk, so I knew he must still be there.
Ben Jimenez has been making bubbles for a living for close to three years. He puts on shows for local parties and events, and has even been featured on local news stations.
I told him the bubbles reminded me of Glenda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz and he smiled.
When I asked him what he did before bubbles, he said, “I used to find jobs for people.”
Headhunter turned master bubble maker. His story made me realize that even though we might set out on one path, we never know the ones that lie ahead.
The best part about watching Ben make bubbles (besides the bubbles themselves) were people’s reactions. People stopped in their cars and rolled down their windows to compliment Ben’s bubble-making, and a young mother walking with her children stopped for awhile, and let her kids chase the bubbles.
I think someone once said there’s no sound more pure than a child’s laugh, and it’s true; seeing them play and chase the bubbles reminded me how we often take the small things in life for granted. To these children, the bubbles represented joy and wonder. Seeing it through their eyes made me appreciate the experience even more.