I was thinking this week about time. When we’re young it seems interminable, as if the awaited birthday or Christmas will never arrive. Then as we get older the days and weeks whizz past, and we can’t believe another month has gone already.
It was also confusing when I signed up for a course based in the US, and carefully Googled the equivalent time for the UK. My laptop has been playing up recently and I assumed the problem with logging into the forum was down to connections rather than timing. Initially I was assured UTC was the same time as GMT, and only subsequently discovered it is, unless there’s an ‘R’ in the month.
It must have been simpler for ancient man when the sun meant it was time to get up, and the moon meant bedtime. Here in London, it’s been the start of summer which theoretically means longer, warmer days and holidays by the beach. I know I would find it odd to live in Finland, where north of the Artic circle the sun does not set at all from May to August. Then there’s Australia, where December to February is Summer, and June to August is winter.
We are in the year 2022, which is rather strange when you think about it, especially if you consider time as going in a straight line. If the Middle Ages in Britain were classed as the years between 1154 and 1485, then it could imply that the end of time might be somewhere between the years 2300 and 2800, or as Zager and Evans would say ‘In the year 2525.’
It was a great song, and I don’t totally discount the theory that humans progressed from the cave, lived for 2,000 years or so, then blew themselves up and reverted to cavemen to start again. Some years ago, there was a discovery in a very remote part of the world, of paintings on stone walls that were acknowledged by scientists to be many thousands of years old. The important factor was that the drawings accurately depicted spacecraft. It makes you think.
If you could travel forwards or backwards in time, where or rather when would you go? I’ve just realised a couple of my books are set in the 60s which was in my lifetime so must have only been a few years ago! 😁
Would you worry about being stuck in the future/past if the expertise for bringing you back to ‘now’ had a hissy fit? It seems the more advanced technology becomes, the more complicated it gets, and the greater the likelihood of it breaking down. I would definitely miss being able to chat to someone on the other side of the world (datelines and sleep patterns permitting) and it’s brilliant being able to order things and pay for them online and have them delivered direct to your door.
Unfortunately, my local community site is full of people asking ‘Does anyone recognise this doorway, as they say my item has been delivered, but this is not my house.’ Whatever it said on the letter, the old-fashioned Mr Postman would have probably known Mrs Jones lives at No. 63 not 67. When did customer service go out of fashion? Perhaps companies should remember robots were intended to help, not take over, even if they don’t demand holiday breaks or time at Christmas to be with their families. Now my imagination has gone off at a tangent picturing a deserted factory on December 25th, with mini machinery wearing Santa hats and asking ‘Mum, do you think Santa will bring me my new tin of WD40?’
Let’s get back to reality shall we? Some years ago, one of my writers’ groups posted a prompt about time travelling.
‘A stranger approaches you. She tells you she’s from the future and needs your help.
What happens next? This was one option.
I smiled but kept my distance. She looked normal enough, but her clothes were a bit odd and she spoke in a rather peculiar way.
‘I need to find a part to repair my machine so I can get back home. May I borrow your e-aid?’
‘Sorry. I’ve forgotten what you call them. I never did like ancient history; that’s probably why I’m in this fix now. The thing you use to order anything you want. The widget sheared off from my time watch and I need a new one.’
Almost next to where we stood was an old fashioned hardware store so I pushed open the door and led her into it. She was like a kid in a sweetie shop as she picked up and examined everything on the various shelves as if she’d never seen a nut or bolt before.
‘I found one,’ she beamed at me as she headed towards the owner standing behind his counter. There was a brief conversation and I followed her to the desk as there seemed to be some problem with paying.
‘What’s a pin?’ she asked. ’It doesn’t seem to be able to read my fingerprint.’
Taking a £1 coin from my pocket I paid for the tiny magnet.
‘Perfect,’ she smiled after inserting it into what looked like a watch on her wrist. ‘Thanks so much for your help.’
I saw her touch the dial and then she was gone.
© Val Portelli June 2022
To be continued: