Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Curiouser and Curiouser

Alice in Wonderland used to say that. Does anybody else feel that when they look around everyday? Curiouser and curiouser.

Curious can be a good thing. It is that playful child part of us that exhibits the joy of living by looking at things and wondering why it is that way. Curiosity has led me to learn a lot of what I know. I picked up my first tarot deck and started to work with it just to see how it works. I also decided to find out what past lives were about because I was curious. And Reiki. And dowsing. And magic. And so many other things.

I wanted to live in different parts of the country, just to see what it was like to live there. And so I did. I wanted to see what it was like to have a large garden full of flowers, vegetables and herbs, and so I did. At one time I wanted to see how much satisfaction I could get out of refinishing furniture. So I did.

I have not kept on doing all of those things. Some things I did just for the experience, and then moved on to other things.

Many of the different jobs and career changes I have had in my life came out of that same curiosity. Some of those things I was curious enough to try included advertising copywriting, advertising sales, driving a cab, tending bar, being a waiter, being a security guard for the Chicago Cubs baseball team, custom picture framing for an art gallery, organizing blood drives for American Red Cross, editing a metaphysical magazine, editing a literary magazine, teaching creative writing, and working in a call center for a computer company, being a professional tarot reader. I may have forgotten a few things, but if you get that life can be not just an evolution, but an adventure, you get the point. Curiosity always stimulated me to try new things and I am happy I did that rather than spend my whole career in one type of business. I had fun doing most of these jobs.

Wondering what it would be like to do this or that for a living, wondering about all the different things that people do has always been a fascinating topic for me.

So far curiosity has added a lot to my life. Kids are more uninhibited in their curiosity than adults, so they try things just to see what it is like. They also ask questions which often strike adults as funny because they are not aware of social conventions and do not censor themselves. When many adults settle into patterns, they often lose their sense of wonder, and censor themselves, because they want to be seen as serious and important and so they tamp down their playful spirit. But of course, you can bring that playful spirit into the workplace too, although how you let it loose will vary according to the environment.

Kids like to see how things work, and that is why although they make a mess, sometimes they might even leapfrog ahead of adults and learn to do something like make a web page, which their parents might not know how to do.

The Alice in Wonderland effect is about a different aspect of curiosity. Frequently when I look at or listen to the news it seems surrealistic. Look at the top Google searches on any given day, and what most people are interested in seems curiouser and curiouser. If the top Google search for the day is about some minor TV celebrity who got a DUI, what does that say about the searchers?

This morning while I was half awake and having my first cup of coffee, I heard something about attacking and boarding some boat and I thought it was going to be another incident about Somali pirates, when it turned out to be about Israel and some Turkish ship, I think. It used to be that talk of pirates usually referenced Long John Silver, Jean Lafitte, Bluebeard or Captain Hook.

I saw an article about research in Columbia about preventing dementia, and I thought, isn't that the place where most cocaine comes from? Are they trying to use cocaine to prevent dementia? Really? Or is it just a coincidence that both these things are coming from the same country? Curiouser and curiouser.

One other morning I thought I heard some reporter say that BP was going to try and hoover up their oil spill onto some ship, and they were somehow going to be able to filter the water out from the oil and take the oil to a refinery. Or maybe I was just dreaming that's what I heard. Curious. I wonder if that can be done?

Sometimes listening to a news report after just waking up can seem as otherworldly as a funny novel or a funny movie. Sometimes even when I am wide awake, the world gets curiouser and curiouser.

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