Bubblegum pink is princesses but cheap, and why are dreams always expensive? You want a getaway, but we need it to be high-efficiency, low-emission, and that means money. We wonder where all these bourgeois impulses are coming from — who birthed you, needs? Need for speed but also comfort. Rest and adversity. We dropped eighty bucks at REI so we could sit huddled in the rain under blue plastic, losing feeling in our toes. But we have avocados — the dream bubble’s intact and no one can touch us.
I keep waiting for a shoe to drop. For shit to hit the fan. For our Glinda to go BAM! and fall head over heels, and not in the cute way. It’s sick, but in my head it’s a matter of when, not if, we break down and need to call for help. Who birthed you, fear? Is it nurtured every time a man tells us “be safe” or worse, “be careful”?
Don’t even look at this bubble, I want to say.
But part of me does feel Hollywood about it. And Hollywood says you can’t drive without a catastrophe. Montage of retro fins careening over cliffs, engine trouble sparking unlikely romance, flat tires always in the rain–
I shouldn’t even be writing about this shit, tempting faith. I never used to think I even had that, but now we talk about the weather gods like rascally neighbors; we knock on wood every time we muddle through another decision. Dream bubbles are only kept aloft by faith, like fires only staying alive with trying, hoping, blowing breaths. We’re feeding our little dream with some blend of denial and deep desire to prove ourselves, a studied rejection of being careful.
Fairy Godmother promises Happily Ever After just a teardrop away and we believe in it. Like how Dorothy crying in the Wizard of Oz is what saves the day.
When do we stop believing in the Hollywood Dream Bubble? I probably haven’t, in some iteration. Glinda the Good Witch floats by in her pink bubble, while someone blows bubbles on an Asheville street corner casting a spell to make children gay. The children are quickly shepherded away.
The Hollywood Dream Bubble could be the model beautiful couple in Durham, she an artist, he an environmental activist. But they left the big city. Why is the Dream Bubble specific to place? Why can’t it be the Birmingham Dream Bubble? Or the Blue Ridge Mountains Dream Bubble?
Our bubble of safety and security, our rolling weatherproof box slides up to me on the side of a dirt road with two tubs of food and all of our clothes to save me. The car brings Hollywood with us wherever we go. Every moment is a movie moment, every person a specially crafted singular character, every happening designed to drive plot. We plod along and the Hollywood, the sheen, fades away.
But the bubble remains – that beautiful savior that is our car, at least for the moment. She trundles through white fog that recedes as her nose hits it high up on the mountain. She whisks us away from the anxiety of place based pain, across 25 miles of bridge over water. She waits, even in parking spots that may not be parking spots. Most of all, she makes us at least mildly interesting for these 75 days. She is the cultural touchstone everyone can understand, even if they don’t understand us or our project. She makes us those young American nomads, the new kinds.