Blue bubbles hissed in the tub, spritzing and spraying like a giant Alka-Seltzer.
I’d just slipped the egg-shaped soap into the water when it exploded. A friend had given me the blackberry scented soap, but I had no idea that it was a bath bomb. I’d never even heard of such a thing.
I’d squealed like I’d just pulled a blazing stick of dynamite from my purse, finally came to my senses and found myself prancing around the bathroom and laughing.
All I’d had time to do was react. No time to plan or organize. No time to analyze my options for escape or to decide whether laughing was an appropriate response. I simply enjoyed the raw emotion that fizzed inside of me as I freely experienced the moment. Then I called and thanked my friend for giving me not only the gift of soap, but the gift of surprise. She, in turn, got a laugh as I described the bath scene.
Surprise is life’s way of smacking us out of our everyday stupors. “Wake up!” it says. “Live in the moment.” And I’m grateful for the reminder to do just that.
Oh, I’m fond of my schedule — jogging upon rising, writing a bit before lunch. Saturday nights are Outlander time; Sundays I cook enough fish and veggies to last all week. But, some days my routine feels like a rut. The fish tastes bland, the scenery on my run hypnotizes me, and it takes an unexpected bath bomb to shake me out of stagnation. It’s after I’ve been shocked into seeing the mega choices available to me that I roll along the scenic route even though it’s longer and end up experimenting with a pudding recipe that calls for avocadoes and a banana.
I suppose me making different choices doesn’t technically constitute a surprise, but mixing up my day on purpose reminds me to appreciate the variety that’s at the tip of my very fingers each second I care to consider it. Thoughts, foods, exercises, movies, writing topics — even soap — when experienced with wonder, can make the mundane sizzle.
I still love an antique sort of surprise, the kind that makes me giggle like when my 22-year-old son struts right to my table at Applebee’s carrying a bouquet of flowers and plants a kiss on my cheek. Others, however, I could do without, like water bubbling over the sink when I flip the garbage disposal on and that weird sound my car makes right before the engine light comes on. But even these unpleasant events force me to focus on the moment unfolding before my eyes.
Habits are formed, moments are lived. Without surprises, every day would be the perpetual Groundhog Day and rather than be Bill Murray, I’d prefer to be Chevy Chase who couldn’t have been more surprised if he’d woken up with his “head sewn to the carpet.”
Ah, but I bet a bath bomb would’ve done the trick!
Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County and an author. Her column appears each Tuesday.