First alterview with the Time Traveller Persona, where he explains his time travelling philosophy and tells of his uninteresting time travel to 2008
Greetings, Time-Traveller, we congratulate you here and now for joining us in The Sewers.
Hello, great to be here.
Did we have a pleasant alterview?
How do you mean? Oh, you mean in the future. Well I haven’t looked into it yet.
Right. Well, to begin with, please make yourself acquainted with our Protocol.
I read it. I choose the word Genesis as my Safe Word. Obviously I chose Genesis because in a way it’s symbolic, and also because I don’t have much to say about it, since it’s of course irrelevant to time travelling, so I don’t see myself mentioning it in the future. Or the past. Or both.
Obviously. So when are you coming from right now?
I’ve actually just come back from 2008. Spent half an hour there. I wanna make it clear that I’m no Doctor Who or anything. I just have the ability to travel time, but I do have a present, I live in the present.
How do you travel, pray tell.
Well I have this ancient pocket watch, I wear it around my neck when I want to travel.
And how does it work?
I can’t explain it to you or to anyone really. It’s dangerous in so many ways. It has to do with the complex pattern it’s gilded with. It took me four years to decipher it. I was reading a lot about astronomy back then and suddenly it all made sense. It was a mad moment, just mad.
I can imagine.
Oh I was shocked, I was convinced it’s a dream, or a joke, or just… but then again – I remember it so vividly – at the same moment I thought it can’t be true, I also thought: of course. Of course I’m a Time Traveller. I had to be. It all made sense at once – not just the pattern but myself, my life, everything suddenly came into place. I knew who I was. I became who I am. I became, at once, who I will be.
Nice past-present-future rhetoric.
Thanks, yeah, that’s the way I think, that’s the way I view the world: past-present-future. But I live in the present. I’m not pretentious as to who I’m supposed to be, I’m no hero, I’m a Time Traveller. It’s not the same thing.
What was your first thought of a time destination?
Well it’s uhm – I thought about this girl I had a thing for in high school.
You’re not serious.
Yeah I am, yeah. First I thought to myself, I’d go and talk to my sixteen year old self as future me and tell him, go on, just, you know, do it, talk to her, you’d regret it for the rest of your life if you didn’t. I even thought about lying to him, to my sixteen year old self that is, to tell him that it’s meant to be and that it’s supposed to happen.
Wait, are you allowed to meet your past-self? Wouldn’t it create a time-paradox or something?
Well theoretically, yes, but I can plan it in a way it wouldn’t. It’s really complex. I’d have to scatter hints and clues throughout my entire life. It’s not impossible. But anyway I didn’t do it; I didn’t talk to my sixteen year old self. It is true that anything I do regarding my own past might change my present. Might change it in a way that I wouldn’t end up finding the pocket watch or deciphering its pattern, and then I’d be stuck in the past.
But you have the pocket watch on you when you travel.
Yeah but I mean – yeah, I haven’t thought that through really. Heh! It’s complex. I mean I have thought it through. It’s just too complex. I can’t explain it to you or to anyone really.
So what did you do about her – about the girl?
Right. I need a drink.
Well I went back to the high school graduation because I remember someone told me that her dress had gotten messy. Someone spilled something on her. And the more she and her mates tried to fix it the worse it got. Anyway I went back there and stopped it from happening. Her dress wasn’t ruined. Yeah.
Did you get your 16 year old self do it? To become her hero or something?
No, no, I wore a hood, I did it myself, I mean as my present self. I didn’t actually go my graduation party back then, when the past was my present, it’s a long story –
But what about Hitler?
Oh, I… you know it’s typical, you’d expect anyone to say ‘go kill Hitler’, but how would I go about it? I don’t speak German. When you’re a Time Traveller you must, must, think of the technicalities, it’s a matter of life and death it is!
Perhaps in the future you could acquire some in-ear translator thing that makes you understand all languages and speak all languages. No? I mean you’d get it in the future and go back to the past.
Do you know there’s a brilliant episode of the Twilight Zone, not the old TV show, the newer one, I think from the 90’s. This guy can go back to the past and sets out to kill Hitler, and he does, I mean he kills the baby of Hitler’s parents, but then they adopt a child in secret or something, and the child they adopt is actually the child who grows up to be the historic figure of Adolf Hitler.
So you’re saying you can’t really change the past, what’s happened must have happened and would happen either way.
Yeah, but only when it comes to big historic events. You can’t change them. I mean think about a huge white towel with stains on it –
There’s the little stains, they come right off and don’t leave a mark. The big stains do leave a mark.
Are you sure?
I mean it’s a metaphor for the mark that big events leave.
I mean they leave a trace that the little events don’t. And if you can’t change the traces you can’t change the event. I mean you can’t really delete an event if there remain traces.
Does it upset you? When there’s something you wish to change and you can’t?
Well, no, no more than it would upset any other person in the world who isn’t a Time Traveller.
You mean people who just don’t have the ability of changing the past.
Yeah, that’s what I mean.
Perhaps you’re just like them after all, except that you do have the ability. You have the ability to change the past but you don’t change it.
How do you mean?
I mean isn’t it more relaxing and reassuring to know that we can’t really change the past? And isn’t it most assuring when you’ve actually tried to, and realised you can’t?
I see what you mean.
I mean your time machine is like an anti-remorse machine, that’s all it is.
That’s a bit offensive to my Alter.
Oh, no, perhaps I wasn’t clear. I didn’t mean you can’t travel time, you can, but perhaps you do so just in order to reassure yourself that all you did was just the way you had to do it, and nothing could have been changed. How then could you feel remorse?
No, no, I don’t –
Like some reactionary Time Traveller.
I’m not sure what that means, but I see where you’re going with this. Look, it’s complex. When you time travel you do become sceptic about your ability to change things. Sceptic and cautious. But I do change things. I did change things. Just the other day, I went back a fortnight. Wednesday two weeks ago, Mr. Cunningham, a neighbour of the café I work in, went to take his granddaughter home of school at noon, as he always does. But he tripped and messed up his knee cap. It was a misfortune. He’s an old man. Two days later, when he of course lay in bed, his daughter went to take her daughter, that is, his granddaughter, home of school. She was on her way back from work, right? So she was with her car. And she and her daughter had a little accident. And the little girl broke her knee cap. So I went back a fortnight and stopped Mr. Cunningham from falling. Now, in present time, none of this had happened. I still see him passing by the café on his way to take her home from school.
Right. Were you unable to stop this from happening, would it have angered you?
It would have disappointed me, wouldn’t it? But anger? I don’t think so. When I can amend something I’m just thankful, but I don’t take it for granted.
What angers you?
You know, people being rude to people, stealing, misleading, accidents and misfortunes like the one I told you about.
No actual catastrophes then.
I believe I can amend only what I know.
Are you always selfless in your time travelling missions?
Mostly, yeah. But I wouldn’t call it selflessness. I’d call it sceptics and being a realist. I’m a time travelling realist.
Tell us about your upcoming time travels.
Well just the other night I’ve had an argument with my mates, old mates from school. We talked about our school teacher, Mrs. Chaired. My mates said she must have been a total reject as a child. I said no way she was.
I could use another drink.
So I’m going to check it out tomorrow or maybe on the weekend.
What were you doing in 2008, before you got here?
Oh, I opened a facebook account. Up until today, my facebook account was opened only in February 2012. But since now, it’s been open since 2008.
Did it change something?
Not really. I wrote a great post about Michael Jackson’s death in 2008 though. I think I was the first person to write a post about his death. I got over 20 likes for it.
I’m afraid that’s all the time we have for today.
I have today all the time there is actually. Heh!
Right! I thank you for this alterview.
Oh thank you. I hope I didn’t disappoint you or anything.
Oh no, no, we’ll have a follow up alterview.
Yeah, I’m sure people here in The Sewers would want to know about your teacher. Was she a reject or not.
Great, great, I will let you know. At the meantime, be safe and cherish your present time.
You too. We thank you and congratulate you.