“We’re all mad here.”
It’s a reference a lot of people get. And a lot of people like Alice in Wonderland in its various forms. But me?
I love it.
And it wasn’t until recently that I thought to wonder why. I am, after all, a huge nerd. I love a lot of things, and I love them all the way. So this wasn’t any different. This was just another fanciful story on my list.
But I was wrong.
Sure, I love Firefly, and Narnia, and Middle Earth, and Wheel of Time and a dozen other worlds. But I don’t go back to them over and over, I don’t analyze them, I don’t look up critical essays, or /write/ critical essays on those worlds. I simply enjoy them for what they are. I escape into them. With Alice, this is not so.
It was, once. Once, back when I was 11, I picked up a book and put it in my bag.
It was take your daughter to work day. And my mother, who worked at a call center for a place that cleaned air vents, graciously allowed me to skip school to go to work with her. Now, I knew she’d be on the phone most of the time, so I packed a bag of things to entertain myself. One was an electronic puzzle game, and the other was a book I had never read – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
The puzzle game quickly frustrated me. And so I turned to Alice. I sat on the floor near my mother’s cubicle (because it was more comfortable) and began reading. I started at the beginning and went straight through until I came to the end. Well, I paused in the middle for lunch, but I didn’t want to! I read it as quickly and with as much enthusiasm as I have ever read anything. And for some reason it really stuck there.
Thinking back I think a big part of it might have been my environment at the time. There was just something about reading a book of utter nonsense whilst seated in the midst of a room absolutely /filled/ with adults on phones trying to convince other adults to spend money they didn’t really need to spend. In a room full of the monotony and conniving of the adult world, a room of people who were doing a job they didn’t care about to earn money to buy things they needed. In a room full of adults adulting, there I sat.
A child captured by a book. A book which urged me to stay whimsical. To find the silliness. To celebrate for no reason. To have tea, and make friends. A book that taught me the path doesn’t matter. Right or left, away or home, running fast or standing still. No matter what, we’re all mad here.
All the best people are.