My pastime has always been writing SciFi and fantasy. As such, the following is an essay, written in the format of a future set science fiction story. The title is a reference to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (for citation’s sake). I hope you like it! Comments and critiques warmly welcomed.
Jonathon Phillips loved going to work. So much, in fact, that at times when he wasn’t seated with perfect posture in his modest cubical, typing away the better hours of the day, he was trying to emulate that environment. His world, that of 2050 New York city, was perfect for him. A busy metropolis of perfectly ordered lines of traffic flowing on numbered streets. The government told him what he could and couldn’t put in his body. The government told him when to be in bed, or at least, indoors every night. The government protected him, isolated him from filth and the horrors that could exist if not for media regulations. The government protected him by ensuring no one had weapons, though of course, he couldn’t defend himself, but that didn’t matter. The government could do that for him. They didn’t tell him what clothes to wear, but his supervisor at the multinational publisher where he was employed, Stravinsky’s Technical Manuals for a Balanced Life, did. That was how he liked it. Every morning, he would rise at 5:30 and immediately shower for exactly ten minutes. He would then have a leisurely breakfast, which always lasted 7 minutes, while reading four articles from the newspaper. He would curse (politely, of course) the people he read about who were thrown in prison for defying the Order of things. That sacred order, of following rules, of being on time, of scheduling and planning and never having anything unexpected happen, was so wonderful, why would anyone want to go against it?
Following this, he would board the public transit system and get to work at exactly 6:45, which was exactly fifteen minutes early. So perfect, so structured, so controlled, so exact was his life, in fact, that he scarcely noticed when it happened. While sitting in the white (as per government regulation), sunny breakfast nook of his nine hundred squarefoot apartment, he overlooked the tiny black spot on the wall three times before he fixated upon it. He could do nothing but stare. What was it? He couldn’t figure it out. Physically shaking from the apprehension and dread of knowing something had changed, he got up and approached it. It wasn’t paint, but it seemed flush with the flawlessly painted surface of the wall. He rubbed it with his thumb. It grew. Only slightly, perhaps one or two millimeters. Nonetheless, it grew. He was three minutes late for being fifteen minutes early from work. It was the worst day of his life. Over the course of the next week, no solvent, no manner of scrubbing, nothing, could get the spot off. At a steady pace, day by day, it seemed to grow. And, as it grew, he became more… And more… And more… Off schedule. After a week and a half, he felt insane because of it. It seemed, some unforeseen delay happened daily, no matter how early he tried to be, to make him late.
One day, he realized something that was never true about him until the spot appeared. Who cares? What bearing on my life do all these white roomed, tie-and-collared, scheduled, planned, limited and limiting, typeset, edited, censored, controlling idiots really have? He began laughing manically at the black spot on his wall while gripping his newspaper. Know what? He thought? I’ll skip work today. He laughed more. My God, he thought, I will have FUN. He spent the day napping, showering for more than 10 minutes, and being an all around miscreant. The government, of course, took notice.
A knock came on his door at exactly 1:30 in the afternoon that day. It was the police. They instructed him “Open the door, please, Mr. Phillips. You are in violation of schedule. Please comply and a minor fine will be assessed. Force will be used if you don’t comply.” They were greeted with a smiling Jonathon Phillips. Upon receiving his fines, and apologizing to the police, he became dizzy and took a seat on his bed. He wept. How, HOW could he let this happen to him? He was the same as all those horrible people in prison. Thank god, he thought, he caught and stopped it so soon. The next morning, he resentfully put his clothes on and timed his shower and read 4 articles and boarded the bus and was on time for work and typed away and didn’t slump and was altogether back into the swing of his old life. Why, he inquired of himself, would I feel so negatively toward all of this wonderful structure all the sudden? For the next week, he only felt more and more so. He finally came to accept and realize that he had always had that resentment in him. He just didn’t know it. He took another day off of work. And again came the police to his door. This time, they were greeted by various government regulated and mandated toasters, shoes, clocks, napkins, and nearly everything else the government told him he needed in his modest little apartment. He was promptly hauled away to prison. He thought he heard, as he was dragged laughing and babbling about black spots on walls from his apartment, one of the officers say “Huh. Third one today. There was a lady talking about some kinda hole in her floor and another talking about some kinda creakin noise in her roof. Weird. Reminds me, I need to figure out how to get rid of that scuff in my floor I found yesterday….”
All men posses the innate desire and ability to seek freedom. Once tasted, there is no way to stop it from taking over our lives. Someone may force you down the rabbit hole, but once you fall in, gravity takes control and your mind is forever open to its possibilities.
"Colorless green ideas sleep furiously." Noam Chomsky