Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Preparing a time capsule

Several truckloads of rubble are soon to be dumped into my back garden, which will raise it about two metres – and which I’m hoping will finally be the Zen section of my new Karoo-Zen garden, although I must say at the moment I just can’t imagine living with anything other than noise, dust and confusion.

My kids and I decided that we’re going to bury a time capsule under the rubble, with the romantic notion that one day in the very distant future, in some post-Apocalyptic world, it will be found and we’ll become the Mrs Pleses of some yet-to-be-established new human society.

First, we decided what the time capsule would be - a plastic ice-cream container, since plastic takes a very long time to decompose, and in ideal conditions (without exposure to sun, moisture and bacterial activity, for instance) can last thousands of years. (Which is why, incidentally, they shouldn't be going into our landfills.)

Then, over the course of a warm autumn evening, sitting outside on the veranda, we each wrote a letter describing who we are and what we do, and also made a list of what to include in the time capsule.

It all started out politely enough, but obviously we opened a bottle of wine to feed our creativity, and, coupled with the arrival of a variety of people during the next few hours who all added their suggestions, and several more bottles of wine, things did get a bit messy.

I made up the time capsule today (in a somewhat desperate bid to get the goddess of construction, Cloacina, to blow some speed into the garden project), and had to laugh at how the handwriting in all three of our letters had deteriorated over the course of two foolscap pages and about four hours (and mine was – surprise! – stained with red wine). My daughter’s letter is incomplete and stops in the middle of a sentence – which will be an interesting thing for those people of the future to ponder over (did her mother suddenly up and kill her? anything is possible).

I also had some trouble finding everything on the list – several of these suggestions were added by the various droppers-in: a cockroach (dead, I presume; although I would imagine there would still be enough of those living even thousands of years from now, not to make them a vital inclusion); a spark plug (!); an iPod (yeah, right – I don’t even have one of those for my own use, never mind a spare one to bury); a head of marijuana (which just seems a waste); a tampon with the instruction leaflet (!!); and Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984 (I wonder who the literary soul was?).

The things from the list I could find and did include were: the letters, copies of our birth certificates, lots of photographs, a lock of each of our hair, a champagne cork with its wire basket and some current South African stamps. I also tore a few pages out of our current valley handbook and folded them in; they include a short history of the area, and lots of information about where you can eat and sleep here, and what you can see and do.

And I added: my kids’ milk teeth (I once thought about making them into a necklace but… no), a packet of condoms, a flash drive with PR information about Cape Town on it, some old South African coins (1990), and the coin we found in the back garden (with an explanatory note), which in its own way is a little time capsule itself.

Given that the container is small (it’s a 5-litre ice-cream tub), is there anything I should still add that you think humanity of the future would be thrilled to find?

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1 comment:

Claudine said...

A good bottle of wine? No....that might just be a waste. Hmmm, I have some milk teeth laying around that I could add to your pile?