Sunday, July 27, 2014

Balloons Everywhere

Summer is a time of year when I get to spend very little time with balloons. Not because I don’t think about it, but because the kids are home from school, and it’s hot and sticky and contact with latex just makes my skin feel even more hot and sticky, and so the balloons just never get pulled out and blown up. But it doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about them.

And seeing them. Everywhere. You know that phenomenon wherein the very thing that you’re thinking of seems to be all around you? It’s just because you’re paying more attention, of course, not because the Universe actually cares what happens to be on your mind. On the other hand, when it comes to balloons, that kind of thing happens to me all the time, because I don’t see balloons the way other people see them, so I notice them wherever they happen to be, even when no one else notices them. In the back of someone’s car, in a corner of the restaurant (I notice if the restaurant has a helium tank, even if they don’t actually have balloon around), even un-inflated balloons in a box behind a store counter.

So why do I seem to notice more balloons at this time of year, when I am deprived of actual contact with balloons? Well, I think it’s mostly because it bothers me so much more, and so the sightings stand out in my mind. But there’s also the fact that a few of the situations in which I see balloons in the summer are more annoying to me.

For one thing, there are water balloons. My wife tries to tell me (and I try to tell myself) that it’s not the same thing, that I don’t even play with balloons that small, that they don’t pop like air-filled balloons and so it shouldn’t bother me. But it does. I think it’s because small balloons (not necessarily water balloons) were an important part of my childhood play because that was often all I could get hold of. In fact, the first orgasms I had with balloons were with five-inch rounds and airships that were about a foot long, balloons I’d never consider buying today. But that’s what they sold at the market, and it was better than nothing.

As an aside, 9-inch balloons were my favorites in those days, when I could get them. They were the perfect size for stuffing into my clothing. Now I use Qualatex 11s and 16s almost exclusively.

But I digress. The other thing that comes out in the summer is something called a Balzac. It’s a cloth sack, originally made my Wham-O, now owned my Hasbro, and currently no made by anyone, that holds a balloon inside to make a fairly rugged play ball. I have to admit, that it’s a very clever idea. We’ve had ours since the mid-90s, and it is one of the prized playthings in my household.

And I hate it. I hate that I have to use one of my lovely 16-inch balloons for a play ball, that the balloons will get inflated, tied, and eventually popped, without me ever having seen it, much less played with it. My wife offers to buy official Balzac balloons for it, but it doesn’t make sense, since they cost about three times as much as the better-quality Qualatex balloons, and are hard to find. So I capitulate. But it makes my unhappy. (Though, granted, I do try to wrangle some extra balloon-play out of my wife by way of compensation.)

Summer will soon be over, and here in the Northeast I will come to regret wishing for its end when the snow has to be shoveled. But the air will cool, the windows will get closed, the kids will go back to school, and the balloons will come out of the drawer for my pleasure.

But meanwhile, they just seem to be everywhere.