Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tossing Bottles. A Small Memoir.

The other day, I was thinking over elementary school, trying to search for something I could turn into a metaphor for something smart I could say about school. I didn't find my metaphor, but I did remember this:

When I was in fifth grade, our playground was right next to a sewage pond. Actually, it didn't stink or anything, but it was some sort of water reclamation pond which periodically was covered in green algae, and as weird little kids who liked to make people believe that we thought we were Martians, it fascinated us to no end. At times, after eating our sack lunch, we would take those little milk-jug shaped bottles that came with foil over the top filled with colored and flavored sugar water, put notes inside them, rubber band a sandwich bag over the top, and send them flying over the chain link, above the barbed wire at the top, and into the sewer pond. This was before schools hired separate playground monitors. The teachers on duty were hungry and tired.

How many fruit drink bottles did we send into the slime-covered pond, us wearing our antennae headbands and cackling like maniacs? And what did the notes say?

After touching base with a friend who was one of our Martian leaders, she reminded me that the notes were cries for help. "I'm stuck in the sewer! Send help!" We were hoping they'd float up into someone's toilet bowl one day.

We knew this made no sense, yet we flung away.

(revised 2/22/13)

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