Wide Awake in Wonderland

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

The trouble with being born on Friday the 13th October 11, 2008

is that as much as you reject superstition, you possess a certain streak of vulnerability.

Throughout my childhood, the other kids would tell me I’d be dead by the time I was 13. I think we can probably thank the Friday the 13th movies (and maybe the Halloween movies a little bit, seeing as I was born in October) for that horrible nonsense. I don’t recall ever actually believing it, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it wasn’t a little disconcerting. I do remember the first time I was able to respond, “I AM thirteen!” Then it my expiration date was upped to 16. Then 21. After that, I got wise and stopped mentioning I was born on Friday the 13th.

Meanwhile, as I believe I’ve told you, I collect sand. Previously, this was innocuous habit. Maybe even a little bit charming. Now it’s just burdensome – literally (my backpack ain’t carrying itself) and figuratively.

Santorini, where the buildings are white, the dogs are friendly, and the wind is howling, has not just black…but RED sand. RED. I once drug someone on a four-hour sun-scorched third-degree burn-inducing hike for some green sand. It goes without saying that I am no dilettante in that regard. In addition, red sand is a one-of-a-kind attraction. The closest thing I have is some dark orange sand from Moab (which also bares the distinction of being my only non-oceanic sand).

On the other hand, there’s a small part of me that struggles to induce reason. “You can come back,” it says. “The red sand isn’t going anywhere. You can get it another time. Who cares about sand? You don’t need the extra weight.”

This part is a fool. I hear the red grains calling to me. I am like the creepy monster thing in the Lord of the Rings movies: I MUST POSSESS A BAGGIE OF THE RED SAND.

Naturally, getting the red sand is no small chore. First there’s a volcano in the way. Admittedly, it’s been inactive since the 1940s. But still.

Secondly, it’s the off-season, and the guy from my accommodations (Niko) could be exaggerating, but he tells me that by bus it takes two buses in each direction and the timing works out that you spend almost six hours there. It’s warmish (22/low 70s), but six hours on any beach in any weather is too much for me.

Third, it’s almost my birthday. And memories of doom and gloom and untimely passings have come back to me unexpectedly. Not that I plan on going anywhere anytime soon. I think I’m just being prudent. You see, getting the sand requires renting an ATV (four-wheeler). Niko

claims this is like “driving a small car.” However, in response to my wild-eyed barrage of stupid questions, he’s advised that perhaps I wait a day until the wind dies down. Maybe I should go Monday – on my very own birthday – as “You have to be very careful in the wind so that you don’t not blow off the mountain.”

You don’t say?

In that regard, waiting sounds like good advice.

Nonetheless, barring certain disaster, I will rent the ATV and go for it on Monday. I can only imagine that some day when there’s a museum for the tourists to come and see where I lived, they will marvel at my extensive collection of sand.

(And it’s these kind of delusions that keep me going…)