It seems we had finally perfected time travel, well, perfected is a peculiar term. What we had done was make it reliable enough that the general public could schedule trips with various carriers, like airlines, who occasionally ran sales in competition with each other. There was a trip schedule. There were “hub” timeports, places where you could make connections to less-well-traveled times/places.
With the normalizing of time travel, the vacation industry really boomed.
Advertising slogans plastered billboards and internet space. Somehow, regular people like you and me, and since it was my dream, especially me, could afford to go places, excuse me time/places where/when you weren’t. There was that whole "two places" temporal anomaly thing, but the carriers were in charge of making sure that you didn’t get into trouble.
Oh, the butterfly effect was taken care of, too. Unlike the sci-fi stories that show how traveling to the past and accidentally killing a bug change the entirety of the future, that was covered. It was part of the technology, taken care of just like that.
It was a lot like the normalizing of airline travel. You figure most of people-dom felt that not only could humans not fly, they probably shouldn’t. Still, there were always a few agitators who ignored the rules and kept trying to come up with a workable design. True, there were a lot of failures, some with tragic consequences. Gradually, we were convinced that what first seemed like a miracle, then a wild luxury only for the ultra-posh was somehow no more remarkable, through the wonder of marketing to sell on volume, than catching a cab, bus or train.
Hop on a quick flight and spend the day in Los Angeles or Seattle or Albuquerque! You can fly back the same day.
When time travel got to this point, in my dream of course, I found myself in line for my little getaway with my husband.
We’re both readers so we had apparently agreed on a “somewhen” to go to together that was likely literary in nature. I wasn’t sure if we were meeting Geoffrey Chaucer or William Shakespeare, but whatever the destination we were positive we were not going to change history or more importantly make a new future.
Then, I got a call from work. You know, that kind of thing happens to me in real life.
I was answering my work Blackberry messages in Ireland. I was trying to debug an implementation issue on a Saturday morning at the Russian River. I sent status reports from the beach in Florida. I attended conference call meetings from the passenger seat over some of the more mind-numbing stretches of I-5. I performed production checkout from a haunted hotel in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Most remarkably, while in the middle of my father’s estate sale (yep, that tear-jerking task of sorting through and selling of the artifacts of my Daddy’s life), I got an email from my VP saying, “Handle this.” Handle this? While I’m doing something much harder than my Dad’s funeral? I handled it.
Even temporarily insane people can be productive.
"Ain’t it awful how work interferes with yer personal life?" my friend Sherry used to drawl, knowing how we make those decisions to work because the work is sometimes our life, like a family member. A really demanding family member.
I’ve been working with Lenormand decks lately, creating my Dust Bunny Lenormand and the Off-Center Lenormand. They are different from Tarot but they are used in cartomancy, usually for more of the “fortune telling” end of working with cards.
Getting the cards Moon (dream, intuition, imagination) + Ship (travel) would be a lot like having a time travel dream. Lenormand cards are always read in pairs. They are read nearly literally with their keywords with the first card being the subject and the second card being the modifier. My “moon-ship” was a travel dream of the wildest imagination.
Back to my dream: So I’m somewhere out of earshot there in the timeport while the Hubs holds our place in line and wouldn’t you know it? I miss my … flight? Transport? I’m not sure what we call this time travel event. I’m a little new to this.
But, hey, no worries. I can catch the next one. I do and catch up to John and we have an adventure. My dream conveniently skips this fun part so I don’t even know if we talked to Kit Marlowe or whoever. Work contacts me again—pretty amazing technology if your Blackberry works in the 15th century or whatever—and I have to go back on a separate transport from my husband. Wow, this was supposed to be a super-special vacation and it’s all interrupted. John catches his transport.
I’m in line for my separate transport when I hear, Marcia!! The voices behind me are my long-time friends, Mark and Sally. I didn’t know they had gone on vacation to the same time/place or I would have suggested we connect. And here we are standing in line together to catch our transport home. But we both notice about the same time that something is different.
“You don’t look the same,” Sally says, smiling and frowning at the same time. She’s as sweet as pecan pie, always has been. We were instant best friends from the first time we talked. “Are you OK?”
I figured my hair was out of place and then it dawned on me what was wrong.
“Hon, how old are you right now?”
“43!” she said, shaking her head like I hadn’t gotten enough sleep. I hadn't.
“Well,” I sighed, that explains it. “OK, I cut my hair and you guys have a lot coming up, but fer sher I’ll see you in about 15 years.” She and Mark looked at me with widening eyes and laughed in realization.
Those temporal anomaly resolution algorithms guarantee you won’t see yourself coming and going, but not that you won’t see your friends or family out of sync along the way. Time-lag, they call it.
We laughed and waved and I stepped into my transport. The now-familiar near-nauseous blackout thing happened that I had come to expect with time travel swirled around me and when I came to, I realized I was in a sleek black limousine.
“You feelin’ OK, miss?” the driver grinned. “I know a lot of people have the same reaction you do when they travel. Your suitcase made it just fine. It’s in the back.”
I blinked and looked out the window. Nothing looked familiar. I mean nothing. I wasn’t sure I was even on the right continent.
“Driver?” I asked, pretty sure I knew the answer. “What year is it?”
Well, fooey. I hope I get a free trip out this.
“Can you turn around and take me back to the timeport? I need to get back to 2012.”
Sure is good to be back.
Images of the Moon and Ship are from the Off-Center Lenormand, now available from The Tarot Garden, while they last!