messages to no one in particular

Who hasn’t wanted to do this: take some helium balloons and fly? As the article says, hasn’t everyone who’s ever held such a balloon thought, “What if this pulled me up into the sky?”

If you’re like me, you might also wonder where helium balloons land once they’ve been floating in the sky for hours and hours: do they head high into the atmosphere and somehow burn or deteriorate, or do they land somewhere hours away?

When I was growing up (before the though of anything such as environmental impact of letting go of latex balloons crossed my mind), our Sunday School would release balloons with messages on them, thinking the balloon might be found and the person might be touched. In this day and age, I suppose one could write an e-mail address or website on the balloon and see if anyone found it, but I have no idea what happened to those messages we set off 15 or so years ago.

When I was in Chicago, I thought about doing a sociological experiment where I left stamped letters on the El to see if people would send them or look at them or they might get thrown away. If I received a letter back, I could at least check the postmark to see from where the letter had originated. Inside I’d put some kind of message about the experiment in case someone opened it so they might contact me or let me know their curiosity had gotten the best of them, and if I didn’t get them back, I’d assume they became trash. With postal rates on up to 41 cents a letter, it would be a semi-expensive endeavor to stamp 100 letters (probably $50 with the envelopes and paper). Maybe I’ll still do it sometime soon, or if you try it, let me know how it goes.


One Response to messages to no one in particular

  1. laura says:

    Sounds interesting. What would you be testing with this experiment?

    I remember the balloons too – there are probably far too many balloons sitting in fields somewhere, but it was certainly a fun and touching thing to do.

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