Message in a Bottle

Message in a bottle.What a productive Sunday, well, E-friend and E-acquaintance-wise. I have written emails to three friends, a thing I do at random to see if I get responses (7 months/34 emails sent/3 responses). I have linked up with two professionals I have never met on LinkedIn, but they have nice faces.

I have accepted two E-vites to parties. I have commented on three Facebook photos depicting recent get-togethers I wouldn’t have attended if the hosts had pointed a rifle at my genitals. I am thrilled to find that I have two new followers on Twitter…two new followers that I wouldn’t be able to identify in a crowd of three.

Oh, to be hyper-connected!

After sifting through my inbox, which contains two one-sentence, no-capitals, no-punctuation emails, and a lot of shit that seems it should have gone to spam, I dance around the internet like a hyper-connected fool.

There’s a story on about a man who found the oldest message in a bottle ever found. The bottle contained a postcard written in June 1914 by Captain CH Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation. He promised the finder a reward of 6 pence and clarified that the bottle had been part of a scientific experiment (in which 1,890 such bottles were released) in hopes of charting currents around Scotland.

Yes, the bottle had been floating around the Atlantic for 98 years.

In a remarkable coincidence, when the man found it he was in a boat with the man who held the current Guinness Book of World Records for oldest message in a bottle found. The one he found was 92 years old.

This sets off lots of thoughts. In the first place I am reminded how bad of an actor Kevin Costner is. Then I throw on The Police. Then I start thinking of how in the 5th grade we sent out balloons with our names, school, and home room written on a card tied to the string. And how my balloon fell into the hands of a girl named Kathryn who wrote me a long letter in which she dotted the I’s with little hearts, thus making me the butt of every mocking schoolyard melody whose cruel refrain had me sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

I wonder if kids still do this. The balloon thing, that is.

And then – motivated by coffee and curiosity – I find that I have three boxes of letter writing stationary. They are dusty, sitting in a high shelf in my bookcase next to a Writer’s Market Guide and the A-Z Grammar Guide. I shall designate this shelf The Shelf of Things I Should Use More.

When did you last write a letter? Did you use a pen? How about stationary? Did you seal it with a kiss? If so, I am not judging…dork.

It used to be so cool to get letters, a thing in the mail from someone you knew, or from someone who found your balloon. We take connectivity so much for granted these days that our correspondences are no longer personal, they lack meaning and are no longer handled with care, an indictment evidenced by the widespread use of shoddy language and text speak, the lack of punctuation and capital letters.

So, my idea for you is to write a letter to a friend.

If nothing else, it’ll remind you how to write with a pen. If you’re feeling extremely adventurous, throw a message in a bottle out into the sea, or tie a note to a balloon, or write to me. But if you do that, don’t dot your I’s with little hearts, cause I’ve already been sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

  1. #1 by Julia on September 16, 2013 - 8:03 pm

    Actually, a couple of my friends and I will randomly send a letter to each other. Probably once a year between us, and it’s great to receive! It usually happens when one of us is down, and then all the sudden you’ll receive a pretty card with an awesome and upbeat message. Nobody seals with a kiss, though : )

  2. #2 by Kelly on September 17, 2013 - 1:03 am

    Three new followers suckah! I am such a proponent of written letters. I kill myself every Christmas writing the longest cards ever because I can’t stand my cousins who send me boring pictures of their families without so much as a signature. They start off cheerful but towards the end I mostly just end up yelling at all of my loved ones for how much my hand hurts after scripting thirty separate greetings and they should maybe take the time to do the same and blah blah blah. But I love getting letters. Sometimes I even leave little notes in the pockets of my coworkers uniform. Mainly telling them that I borrowed it on my last shift and I hope they love head lice. Anyway, I’ve veered off topic. But letters. Yeah. They’re the best!

  3. #3 by Allison on September 17, 2013 - 1:53 am

    Email me your address D and I’ll write you a letter. Hearts and kisses will depend on how I’m feeling when I sit down to write it 😉

  4. #4 by Tiffany N. York on September 18, 2013 - 9:08 pm

    Oh, how I used to love to write letters and receive them growing up. I’ve saved every single card and letter anyone’s ever sent me because I’m sentimental like that (bordering on hoarderish) I also have a huge box of various stationary, some so pretty I’ve never used it–like the one I got in Venice. Was wondering the other day whether I should just dump it all.

    Sad to say, I don’t write letters anymore. Cards I still do. For birthdays. It is a lost art, however. Not sure whether it’s because I don’t have the time, or patience, or discipline. Which could very well apply to other aspects of my life as well.

    • #5 by Damien Galeone on September 19, 2013 - 12:24 am

      T – if I write to you, will you write back? I’d love to start a pen-pal exchange.

      • #6 by Tiffany N. York on September 20, 2013 - 9:03 pm

        Sure. We can pretend we met at camp during the summer. You made me a keepsake box in woodworking, and I made you a macramé bracelet to wear to remember me .

        • #7 by Damien Galeone on October 3, 2013 - 1:52 pm

          How did I miss this comment!? Wait, we met at camp and you made me a bracelet?! That’s not how I’m working this fantasy out in my mind!

  5. #8 by Tiffany N. York on October 3, 2013 - 5:54 pm

    We were 11, for goodness sake! All we did was kiss. It was back when a kiss meant everything, and it was remembered for an eternity.

    • #9 by Damien Galeone on October 3, 2013 - 6:10 pm

      You, my dear T, are one hell of a romance novelist, aren’t you?! 🙂

  6. #10 by Tiffany N. York on October 4, 2013 - 6:35 am

    Only in my mind, D.

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