Things to Do - Think About Spacecraft


At the planetarium, a few weeks ago, we watched a show on our galaxy, which mentioned that the Voyager spacecraft shouts out greetings in several different languages as it drifts through the blackness. Just in case. And lately I can't remove this image from my mind, such an odd combination of hope and emptiness. Maybe we really are all alone.

Then on Friday I read this wonderful article written by a man who gave up the internet for a year. At first, he bettered his life, wasted less time, etc. - all the stuff we'd like to believe we'd do. But eventually he settled into a new pattern of laziness, one which was more solitary and disconnected than his life before. According to the article's author:

"It's hard to say exactly what changed. I guess those first months felt so good because I felt the absence of the pressures of the internet. My freedom felt tangible. But when I stopped seeing my life in the context of "I don't use the internet," the offline existence became mundane, and the worst sides of myself began to emerge. . . . I would stay at home for days at a time. My phone would die, and nobody could get ahold of me. At some point my parents would get fed up with wondering if I was alive, and send my sister over to my apartment to check on me. On the internet it was easy to assure people I was alive and sane, easy to collaborate with my coworkers, easy to be a relevant part of society. . . . So much ink has been spilled deriding the false concept of a "Facebook friend," but I can tell you that a "Facebook friend" is better than nothing."

At a party last weekend I found myself in a conversation about childhood memories and siblings. I mentioned that for me, as an only child with no extended family, the strangest part of raising three children is realizing how much time and effort goes into their relationships with each other - the constant battles and apologies. So much work. Even today, I still can't quite grasp that while I was at home as a child, probably reading a book on the couch, my friends (almost all of who had siblings) were engaged in constant socialization experiments, continually navigating human relationships. My husband finds it odd how much time alone I need in comparison with other people (even introverts), but perhaps my childhood explains it. Not that I didn't enjoy being any only child (though I did constantly ask for a sibling). My family was close. I was happy. But the idea that people can fight and then somehow just forget about it continues to allude me. Relationships are such fragile things, worse than fine china. oh so breakable. and the cracks, the endless map of lines and fissures.

I'm not sure any of this comes together in a coherent way, just that I've been thinking about Voyager a lot lately - programmed to float through darkness, constantly trying to say hello.

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE! Have a wonderful weekend.


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