Week 12: Tales from a phone box

27 Feb

It took me a while to get used to bizarre notions such as yesterday, next week, or last year. In fact, it took me a while to get used to the notion of somewhat taking a while in the first place. I’m not so sure you understand what I mean, or rather (from your perspective), what I meant, as I am, (in your case, was) writing this. So I will do my best to clarify. Of course, chances are that by the time I will have done my best, you may not have started reading this yet. So, let’s get to it. By that I mean that I have already gotten to it, and that you alone will be getting to it at some point in the future. So if I say “let’s” it’s just because I’m being polite. Or rather was. OK. Sorry, I’m just screwing with you. Time travelers love that, metaphorically speaking. Sorry, I can’t help it. For didactical purposes alone, just so you (will) know, by the time you will be reading this, you will have already been screwed with and the metaphor will have already been spoken. I know, I know, this is overkill. You got the point. Or you will get it.

OK. So. Time travel. Isn’t. At least not in the way you imagine it. That’s why from now on I shall refer to what you call time travelers as “time beings.”

If there is one thing some story tellers got right about us, that is that we exist at any and all moments in time. We just are, no matter when.  Simply put, we can’t travel through time. No more than you can travel through your own body. If you think of this and feel like your head’s going to explode, rest assured, it could be worse. If you’d live where (or should I say when) time beings live, your head exploding would be a mash-up of events, all melded together.

One common misconception about us and what we do is that we can’t mess with the timelines.” Yes, we can.” We’re not always allowed to, and those of us who disregard the rules meet a quick, tragic end. And just so we’re clear, if you think an ending is dreadful in your world, try picturing one in a place where both “quick” and “end” are meaningless notions. There’s only one perk to being a time being, so don’t delude yourself, if you exist, chances are your life has already been interfered with for better or for worse. There’s a pitfall I should warn you about, though. Pay attention. This is the only free tip you get, because I like you and in many respects I am like you. Don’t you ever think that you can dispense with your free will just because some entities can, and maybe will, meddle with your life. We don’t share responsibility. We’ll answer for our decisions. You’ll answer for yours.

If you find this disturbing, you may take comfort in a fact that none of you has been able to figure out yet. That is that linear time is just as confusing to us as non-linear time is to you. We may have an intellectual grasp of the limitations of your world but other than that we can’t really wrap our heads around it. How can this be? Well, have you ever witnessed a dialogue between a person with 20/20 vision and nearsighted one? No matter how much the nearsighted individual will try to explain  what it means not to see in the distance, the other will not be able to picture that. Not until the nearsighted person will reach the limits of their patience and will, in desperation, take off their glasses, putting them in front of the other one’s eyes. I am that pair of glasses. There are others like me. Many others. And we are the only ones that can fully understand both worlds.  We are the interpreters that translate what being human means. It was my choice to live amongst and understand you. I, like yourself, am traveling through time in real time. And in the strictest meaning of the word, you are the only true time travelers. I’m just here by choice, to make sure that my people will understand you. I was born here, I grew up in a family, went to school and got a job.  Just like you, I’ll have to experience joy, amazement, dismay and pain. Of course, I am immortal, and that’s the perk I get. I will never have to fear death and that, I think, takes a bit out of the experience. When I die, I will have the option to either return to the fold or continue living as a human to document life in the linear time so that my kind can improve its understanding of linear time and, of course, meddle some more.

Finally, I think that it’s only fair to clarify one more thing. Many of you have hypothesised that someday, some mad experiment could collapse time, fuse together alternate universes and whatnot. You can be at ease, nothing like that could ever happen. First of all, the universe is not as feeble as you like to think. Without downplaying your importance, let me say that if anything, the universe doesn’t care very much if you continue to live on or disappear as a civilization altogether. That part is up to you. Mostly.  And then second…we are watching.

Oh and by the way. Check your pulse. Now.

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