You got to bottle it up and go
Well, you got to bottle it up and go
Yes, them high-powered women
Sure got to bottle it up and go

--Leadbelly, "Bottle Up and Go"

For some random reason, because that is the very nature of my brain, random and pop pop pop, I thought today about the fact that my two youngest children have never had a drink of soda from a bottle. I think they do still sell bottles of soda, I know Jones makes them, which is the only reason my older son has had one. I am thinking of the time before soda cans, when your 25 cents would get you a heavy glass bottle of Coca-Cola, or Tab, or 7-Up or Sprite. It was infinitely more satisfying than a stupid squat can. The bottles would be cool and smooth, substantial. You would just hope your bottle didn't have a chip off the top, making it disturbing to drink from. It was fun to have the suction going as you drank, fun to stick your tongue or your lip in it, fun to hold it by your teeth. Bah, can't do that with no damn can.

How odd that I can still remember the feel of a bottle of Tab! It had a raised criss-cross design on the outside of the bottle glass, interspersed with round raised dots with sort of starbursts on them. It was very rewarding to touch and hold,if not drink. If you have never had a Tab in your life, and I hope that you haven't, it is something like drinking copier toner. It is odd, unsweet, unlike any sort of natural flavor known, with a strange bitter aftertaste that seems like it will sink in and give you oral cancer. But, it was either that or Diet Rite if you didn't want the calories. And a Tab was better than some boring milk or apple juice or Kool-Aid. No, it really wasn't, but I didn't get to have soda much so I was greedy for any. Fuckin' Tab.

I remember decorating my 70s room with soda and wine bottles. This was a classy idea started by the hippies, who would put candles or incense or peacock feathers in them and call it groovy. Dripping candle wax down the side of the bottle made it that much more awesome. Worse even were the heinous knitted bottle covers. These had no practical function other than to take up some poor woman's precious life time by knitting one of these stupid things in the first place, and uglifying the world. Someone, I have blocked out who, knitted me a puce-and-brown colored funny dog bottle cover, which was creepy with googly eyes and an inexplicable little top hat. It would stare at me from my bedroom shelf, and I would give it the evil eye right back. One day, I looked at it and said, GOD!, and I threw it out.

I suppose people probably don't use the expression "all bottled up" as much any more as well. You think about that, the idea of being contained, pressurized, unable to flow. Someone unexpressed, unavailable, unknown, capped off. It is not a good thing at all, being all bottled up. There is inherent in the expression the lurking certainty that someday, somehow, the bottle is going to blow. Shake it up long enough, and KAPOW. But then I guess there is another side. Perhaps if you are bottled up so long, and left that way, when someone finally comes to open you, all the pressure is gone. The contents are already flat, ruined. No life, no fizz. Maybe being all bottled up is like being a human equivalent of a Tab -- unnatural, unsatisfying, odd, but with a pretty outside.

Bottles contain and capture and hold, a good thing if we can open them before their expiry.

Another bottle song, written by a man wise for his years, released three months after his death at age 30.

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
Till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with.

-- Jim Croce, "Time In A Bottle"