I’ve always loved the word ‘bubble’. It says what it is: a puff of air in a tense bracket of plosives finished with a liquid gloss. Bubble bubble bubble bubble bubble. Say it five times fast and hear the pot boil – a sound so ancient that it was probably heard by your grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother, when she was a little girl. If anyone had asked her about her bubble, she might have assumed the soup had stopped simmering because the fire had gone out. In 2020, though, bubbles have taken on a whole new meaning, and a new social greeting has entered the language: “How’s your bubble?”
How many times a day did we use to say ‘bubble’? Not often, unless we happened to teach swimming. Suddenly it’s the word of the day, the word of the week – heck, ‘bubble’ is probably word of the year already. But it’s not ‘bubble’ as I used to know ‘bubble’. It’s got me thinking about why I love the word ‘bubble’ … I mean, why I love the old word ‘bubble’.