A few weeks ago, while I was in the cookies and crackers aisle of Cub Foods, the store’s sound system played Jon Secada’s “Just Another Day.” Immediately, I was standing at the sink of my college dorm room in Tennessee. The date was mid October of 1994. I had hot rollers in my hair and wore my favorite red dress and brown flats. My recorded-off-the-radio mix tape was playing. Madonna’s “Take a Bow” would be up next. I could smell my Bath & Bodyworks apple lotion and hear the hum of the air conditioner. As soon as I finished fixing my hair, my boyfriend and I were going out for dinner at the Olive Garden.
Then, just as quickly, I was back in the grocery aisle in 2016. I didn’t physically go anywhere, but mentally I had taken quite a trip. That's not the first time this sort of thing has happened to me. (Please note: No chemical substances have ever been involved in this experience.)
In 2013 I was driving to work when my favorite radio station played the opening theme from To Kill a Mockingbird. Immediately, I was 600 miles away in central Michigan, sitting in my tall swivel chair in front of my English classroom as the student faces of sixteen American Literature classes scrolled before my eyes. I’m not sure what called my attention back to the road, but thankfully I didn’t cause an accident.
Music isn’t the only way I time travel. Without meaning to, I built a time-travel machine…several, actually. I’ve recently been reviewing my published books to update the back matter. I hadn’t counted on how reviewing my old manuscripts would transport me back to the person I was when I wrote them. The experience was so intense I had to stop.
I’m not the only time traveler on the planet, nor is time traveling confined to the creative, quirky types like me.
I know a lot people who have made permanent homes in the past. No, they don’t have medical reasons for doing so. They’ve just decided the past was better, so that’s where they live even though their bodies exist in 2016.
I know other people who live permanently in the future. Some of them are already living in their version of paradise. Others dwell in a post-apocalyptic world where all is darkness in despair. Whichever future they’ve chosen, their bodies are in 2016 but their minds are not.
Very few of us live in the moment. Very few of us are present. The implications of this, good or bad, tell us that time travel may not be possible, but it’s true.
Something to think about…