The water cooler is empty here at the Roost. We fill it with spring water from a source in Oak Creek Canyon. It's an antique glass five gallon jug with stretched bubbles of air scattered in its crude, thick glass walls. Air bubbles trapped from the day the piece was hand blown - maybe a century ago.
So anyway, we like filling up from the cooler - the big bottle rather than the myriad of one gallon glass apple juice bottles set in milk crates below the candle-covered drop-leaf table .. yes, even we have vanity and laziness to a degree. We'll descend the canyon - down switchbacks covered in snow and ice, and we'll lug heavy glass bottles to the spring, and back up into the truck - but once it's here - In our human cave of steal and wood and tin sided warehouse walls .. we want to fill our cups and jugs and bottles and mugs from an easy, white, push-lever cooler.
So I'm refilling the big jug with the little jugs. Carefully aiming undulating streams of water like slithering hydro snakes from one narrow mouth piece to another. And I'm spilling all over the place, getting a kink in my back and neck and elbow in the process, and when I'm done, I decide to ask juwels to prop the back-breaking bottle into the ceramic stand (she's strong like that .. ; ) ((Also, she almost always puts that heavy thing back into place - not that I hand all of my stuck-pickle-jar-cap manly responsibilities and powers over to that fiery Sicilian .. but she just doesn't trust me to clean the neck and the shoulders of the bottle (((not the way she would ; ))) so to make sure that not a spec of travel-dust finds our lips, she scours the surface with surgical precision, and then completes the job and heaves the thing up.
She's happy to do it. But just then, as she's leaning down and setting her grip, she stops - her face softens, and she briefly smiles, but in an occupied way .. "Let me just ..." she says and continues with a few more words, as she cranes her neck over, examining the water crock through now-squinted and very focused eyes. The rest of her sentence wasn't meant to be heard, I know that, and in all honesty was probably purely mumbles even to her. Yes, I know all too well this ploy of hers to occupy my attention, like jingling keys before a baby, as she's learned my patience runs very low with irregular chores like these (which are always put off - ie. changing the bag in your vacuum cleaner, changing your oil, learning Spanish .. you know..) So I can't hear what she's saying until she spots something floating in the dispenser tank (always does) "Oh .. should I get that .. out of there?"
"There's something, floating, at the top - right there - do you see it?"
She leans in again to inspect the floating thing, and I ask her, with a sigh, if she can move out of the way so I can take a look. Against the surface of the water, I see what she sees, but it looks odd and distorted. And I think I see a tiny refection of the light off of its surface.
"I think it's a bubble. It's just a bubble." I say, resetting my grip on the cooler and bracing for action. The water's rocking back and forth up the sides of the ceramic interior - left, right. left, right ... I can almost see my reflection in the tiny bubble.
I look up to juwels - "It's a bubble."
She kind of frowns. She's not sold.
The only reason I'm standing here at all is because I'm waiting to counter brace the tank as she props the 50 pound glass jug up top. She's done it many times on her lonesome, but every once in a while, after a quick-flash vision and premonition that she might not get the clearance, and push the whole thing off the table, drop the bottle .. and probably cut herself in half ... knowing juwels ... just kidding ... she's not that bad - always ; )
So anyway - there I was .. to save her life.
But it's tiring being so valient. For one, I still have my hands in an akward position against the sloped body of the dispenser tank - the way I placed them TWO AND A HALF MINUTES AGO... ; )
She's still frowning, with her eyes now - and I tell her to take another look.
"Shouldn't I just get a spoon?"
I'm pleased by this question .. never before hearing anyone say the word "spoon" with such a sincere and ernest, concerned and democratic look on their face.
"Just get the spoon." I say, finally letting my palms slide from the cold dispenser, and hang dead at my sides. I just have to smile as she rushes to the kitchen nook with that off-to-save-the-day stride in her step.
I look in again - just to pass the time as well as hoping to see the little thing pop before my eyes. There are three now - and I'm sure they're bubbles, but let her pick bubbles out of water if it makes her feel safe and comfortable (this is a theme - I think it's cute - I'm not complaining. Passion is passion whatever it's for - cleanliness, acoustic key ... texture or luster, I love it all.)
Now she's back.
And after leaning in for the hunt, spoon in hand, she says. "I don't see it... "
"It must have popped."
.. and without blood or fail - here I am with a jelly jar of cool spring water and these keys.