Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"They sang to me this song of hope, and this is what they said..."

So what do we think of Abby Sunderland, the surly teen sailor rescued from the Indian Ocean recently? As an indoorsy girl (spell check says "indoorsy" isn't a word) who is regarded as a poor driver, I have trouble wrapping my brain around the idea of a sixteen-year-old sailing around the world alone.

Leaving behind my family, friends, and extracurricular activities would never have occurred to me at that age. If I were to tackle such an endeavour, I would do so with cute sailor outfits, lots of waterproof eye makeup, and an iPod playlist filled with sailing music like Christopher Cross and Styx. Clearly, Abby and I have nothing in common. And I would quickly perish at sea. Watching her in interviews, she kind of reminds me of MTV's Daria. She's very sullen and expressionless...and unapologetically unglamorous. I can tell that if Abby met me, she wouldn't like me one bit. I can't get over how nonchalant she is about the whole thing. I wrecked my mom's car once at her age, and was apologizing all over the place. Abby's Indian Ocean rescue cost a million dollars, and she just shrugs like, "Ehh". She's mostly just pissed that she's back home. I'm thinking she's a little snot. Then, I met her family on the Today show, and I developed a new found sympathy for the teen. In addition to her older brother, Zac (who also opted for life on the ocean), there are six other small children in that family. Her mom actually just gave birth to their eighth kid. Thinking of life as a sixteen-year-old girl in a house of ten people, half of whom can't use a toilet unassisted, her choice to live a solitary life on the open sea makes a bit more sense. There's worse things she could have done.

If you were a pissed off sixteen-year-old girl trapped in a house with parents intent on breeding a child army, how would you plot your escape? I think I would procure a fake ID and run away to Vegas to be a showgirl or a cocktail waitress. It sounds like something sixteen-year-old Samantha would have thought was a good idea.

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