Sunday, April 22, 2012

Message in a Bottle

Not the Nicholas Sparks one. A facebook post saying people should continue to throw glass into the ocean so we can continue to have seaglass reminded me of a childhood memory.

I swear, this whole blog is not going to be "the story of my childhood."

When I was a kid, there was a man who was attempting to sail around the world. He had gone missing, and eventually people found a mayonnaise jar with a message inside, from him. I don't remember what that message said even, I just remember being so taken by this idea that a message could travel so far. In those days, everything was glass. I put notes in every Pepsi bottle, jam jar, big Hawaiian Punch bottles. We lived on the river, and I snuck down and threw them in. Some of the messages were simple, "Hi, I'm a girl from Maine. Please let me know you found this." Others were desperate, slowly fading, "Help M--" messages, not thinking ahead to wonder how someone who couldn't even finish the note could possibly roll it up and get it into a bottle. I also didn't think about the fact that the river, unlike the ocean, doesn't have that same pull at the shore. My bottles kept washing up, no matter how far I threw them.

Writing a blog is sort of the same thing, yeah? You send out messages, hoping for some acknowledgement. Same goes for forums and comment threads. With the advent of the Internet, we have a whole new way to seek attention, to get proof that we are here and matter. I know it's trite, but I sometimes struggle with the question, "why am I here?" I think most of us do, but maybe we phrase it differently. "I want to make a difference." "I need to have children." "I just feel like there's something bigger meant for me out there." It's some kind of cruelty, isn't it? That we have these magnificent brains to make us so aware, but can only use a small portion of them so we never understand.

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