Wide Awake in Wonderland

We’re only dancing on this earth for a short while

Down the rabbit hole, baby June 6, 2008

Filed under: Travel — wideawakeinwonderland @ 5:11 pm
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Something Lukas once said suddenly occurs to me. Sadly, my memory of those times is foggier than I realized, but in this case I do believe we were sitting in a cafe in Thun – the one where he would drink the coffee with the booze in it (kirsch?) and we’d meet up with that blond guy who’d just been to Miami where he’d loaded up on Levis. Levis in Switzerland were like cigarettes in prison (or Uggs in 2006) at the time: A highly valued commodity. I’d never seen the lowly Levi so revered, and by the end, my own opinion of them had risen considerably. I even stole a pair of Lukas’ when I left. He realized it too and called me on it, which was super embarrassing. I can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure I denied it.

In actuality, they were way too big so once I got home and integrated back into my American life and rediscovered some actual fashion sense I never wore them again. Maybe I took them as a memento? If so, I violated the first rule of Melissa Etheridge, “Sell your fear and leave me standing here with no souvenirs.” Damn, that’s a great song.

Anywho, back then I would obsessively write in this little notebook – short stories, doodles, whatever. I set it out on the table and turned to a clean page. Lukas looked at it and commented, “It’s so innocent, white paper.” People have occasionally accused me of constructing sentences oddly (“You agree with me, no?”), and writing that comment down, perhaps that’s why Lukas and I got along? We were the kind of people mutually willing to wait until the last syllable to understand what someone just said. But I digress, what I meant to make prominent in this tale is that comment: It’s so innocent, white paper. I guess my point is that this is a little bit of a momentous occasion: this blog and this experience, this enterprise and adventure are all brand new, untouched, and pure as the driven snow.  There was nothing here and now there is. She being brand new…

You know, in trying to figure out what to name this thing, I tried out a number of e.e. cummings allusions. She being brand new came up, of course, but since I’m personally not exactly brand new, I never got as far as checking availability. Gladly beyond any experience was popular (with me), but someone already had that. They haven’t posted since 2006, but they have it…

Thus, after some consideration and less exciting names (Experiments with Being Myself – a nod to Gandhi’s autobiography, minus any of the achievements in bringing peace to the world – nearly won out), I started thinking about Alice in Wonderland. Naturally, once again, anything obvious was gone (Adventures in Wonderland wrote just a couple three times a few years ago and she was a good writer, but blogging apparently wasn’t her thing) and anything too vague or just plain crappy wasn’t of interest. So playing with the words, Wide Awake in Wonderland came to mind and it kind of just clicked.

For me, being wide awake in wonderland in something akin to that moment you first find yourself in a chewed up sweater with no eyebrows or belly button learning all about the Matrix. It’s looking around and realizing nothing is what you thought it was and yet you’re still you with the same feelings, inner dialogue, and ironic point of view. At every turn is an illusion or a diversion or a really compelling but ultimately worthless distraction (caterpillar with a hookah, anyone?) and somehow in the midst of this, we all have to figure out who we “really” are and carve a life that makes some sense and has some value to us. In my case, I have truly just woken up. I am something of a sheet of innocent white paper. I may have caught glimpses of the path here or there along the way, but slipped back into the current. This time, however, there’s no going back. I’ve gone down the rabbit hole. Welcome to wonderland!

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