February 14, 2016

Some people are uncomfortable with silence. I am not; never have been. I like silence very much.

One of my favorite movies is Cast Away, which has almost no dialogue for a third of the movie. It stars Tom Hanks and a volleyball named Wilson. Hank’s plane crashes in the Pacific, and he is hopelessly lost on an uninhabited island thousands of miles from where people are searching for him. He has neither tools nor talents suited to his predicament in this hostile environment. He is totally screwed.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know there is a point when Hank’s character realizes that life is not going to get any better and he is going to slowly die. He climbs to a high place on the island, secures a rope and prepares to hang himself. But the rope breaks and the desperate attempt to control his own destiny fails. He can’t even determine his own demise.

So what happens? A package from his plane washes ashore (he worked for FedEX in the perfect product placement movie ever). We don’t know it at the time, but the package is even addressed to a woman he will want to know.

On most days I forget that Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp is a prison, as my routine controls my life. But some days I clearly know it is a prison. I know that because it’s mostly staffed by people whom I/you would never hire. They’re people who find the truth be elusive, because they can. They set up traps so they can remind you where you are. It’s funny to them–a small sad game. Some days I know it’s a prison, because I can’t be present for people I love when they get hurt. Just like Hank’s character, I get frustrated because I know that I put myself here. Sadly there is nobody else to blame.

And just when I’m ready to jump, the rope breaks…and a package washes up on the beach.

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