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We Are All Mad Here

We Are All Mad Here

Saturday, June 4, 2022

However, I will not forget the random conversation I’ve just had with a stranger, not unlike myself, at a fleeting intersection of humanness, existentialism, and ontological existance on this planet.

We are heading to Terre Haute, IN to pick up my son and stopped in Rolla, MO to get gas and something to eat. It is a Philips 66 gas station and, of course, there are many food offerings here that are the epitome of “gas station” cuisine and yet I shy away from the transparently wrapped sushi and eventually settle for the ham and cheese hoagie and a container of hard-boiled eggs. Also, of course, we have our little chiweenie with us in the store and love hearing the comments everyone makes. “Oh, look at that darling little puppy, isn’t she adorable?” It is very busy here and there are lots of people waiting in line. One of the customers waiting comments on my sleeve-like tribal tattoo on my left arm and I struggle to find a suitable answer for the anticipated questions I know are soon to follow, however, the young man then draws my attention to the tattoo on his left forearm and comments that it is fairly new. It is a silhouette of a family of three holding hands and looking at the flying saucer hovering above them. The youth explains that the scene is of him, his wife, and little girl being together forever. The caption under the image is a quote from Alice in Wonderland and (according to the young man I am speaking to) is erroneously credited to the Madhatter during the beginning of the tea party, “We’re all mad here, you’ll fit right in”. I am thinking that this is absolutely true and very appropriate for the bustling environment of the current milieu. I smile and express my delight for the quote and a shared appreciation of literature in general. “Oh, that’s really good”, I say. “I like that”, at the same time feigning a superficial restraint of holding back the now becoming unmanageable 25 pound oddity. I do not do well with small talk and use this as an excuse to divert my attention elsewhere. However, I will not forget the random conversation I’ve just had with a stranger, not unlike myself, at a fleeting intersection of humanness, existentialism, and ontological existance on this planet. 

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