Valentine’s Day – 1988

Written by  //  November 9, 2011  //  MEMORIES  //  No comments


On Valentine’s Day in 1988 I distinctly remember a balloon that, to my young estimation, had somehow just appeared in our house. Do 3-year-olds understand shopping? I can’t imagine.

In any case, here was this balloon, and what an unusual balloon it was! A sizable heart shaped man, with two arms, two legs, and a giant toothy grin. Love personified, I suppose, and, at my age, life size. This balloon-creature-heart-man was “standing” (hovering, really) on a swivel chair in my parent’s bedroom. If I remember correctly, this swivel chair was rather cushy and had been upholstered in some lush fabric– a crimson velvet or something of that nature.

What I realize now, but couldn’t have understood then, is that the balloon’s contact with the chair was creating some sort of static cling effect, which was causing the balloon to hover on the chair and resist ascent towards the ceiling. I was so taken with the balloon and its hovering (and lack of altitude, like so many other balloons that can escape from and frustrate young’ns), I can imagine that I supposed that if I took it outside, I could just stroll along with it– a new best friend, perhaps — without it floating up and away.

Of course you know what happens next.

Standing in my back yard, with no static-charge from some plush chair to come to my rescue, I had to helplessly watch my new found friend just float away. I must have let go of his hand to entertain him with a somersault or some other equally amazing feat.

Standing there, watching in sorrow, I couldn’t understand. Why did it only just hover before in the house and now was so eager to take flight and leave me?

I was confused, betrayed, and remember feeling my brain go a little numb. For a 3-(or 4)-year-old, watching an extraordinary cellophane balloon float into the wild blue yonder must be something like losing the lottery by one number.

Two scientific principles combined forces to work together against me that day: static electricity and the Archimedes principle, neither of which I would have been able to comprehend. And, I suppose, such is life.

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