Thursday, September 22, 2011

If I Could Turn Back Time

Caitlyn is a friend of mine from college, but really, we became friends after college, when we both moved to San Francisco.  She is a person who always puts a smile on my face, and leaves me feeling a little bit lighter, a little bit brighter.  She has such an optimistic energy about her, and she's always up for a late night dance party. Here is Caitlyn talking about time travel, among other things.

Hello, world!

I have to admit I got a little verklempt at the beginnings of writing – there’s something very exhilarating but also nervewracking about putting your thoughts OUT there, even if those thoughts are small, no? So, I’d like to start by offering my deepest most sincerest respects to Ashley and every last brave lady who has ever dared to publish her own thoughts on the internets.

Now - on travel.

I happen to be lucky enough to travel to faraway lands as part of my job, so you’d think I’d have lots to offer in terms of advice or at least an anecdote that might be interesting. I've traveled through East Africa by bus with strangers, I’ve been robbed twice, and I can now swiftly recognize early-warning signs of deep-vein thrombosis after sitting on a plane for 15 hours (read: I look down and see my own cankles). I am embarassingly familiar with and can tell you where to find free breakfast in Dubai. AND my grandfather is a pilot. 

{faraway lands, over the north pole and 3 layovers later}

{the free breakfast buffet is around the corner from here}

But still, nothing. I’m scared of flying, I still can’t organize my carryon bag quite right, and I can’t figure out how to effectively and non-awkwardly remove my laptop from its case during the security screening without upsetting and delaying all of the people behind me. I can't really tell you the best ways to earn/leverage your status miles with an airline. And all of the situations mentioned above where I might have ostensibly extracted some sort of valuable and transferrable life lesson? Handled awkwardly, wisdom squandered. And anyway, even if I did have advice along these lines, The Hairpin would have outdone me with its great article yesterday on very useful and refreshing travel how-to’s. Did anyone else see this? 

So, in short, the most I have to offer are a few really excellent restaurant and lodging recommendations scattered randomly all over the globe, which are always useful if nothing more than a trip down memory lane for me. In fact, my colleagues and I happen to have a coveted (albeit very non-systematic) award system for people who can find the best restaurants not only in SF but around the globe. For every great restaurant you find, you get a point (In case you were wondering, the points add up to nothing, but trust me they are worthwhile). We even have a fledgling blog where we [infrequently] write about these excursions (eek, ok, June 15th was our last entry?)! So, while I feel as though I do have some knowledge to share in this department, when I was brainstorming all of these thoughts on my work computer, it crashed (blasted Excel!) and I lost them – and while trying to recapture these thoughts, I got to thinking about a different type of travel and went in a different direction: time travel (as in if I could turn back time I would have saved my drafts to a different drive). It’s funny how remorse gets the creative juices flowing. So, that's where this is headed - over the mental hurdle of time travel.

(As an aside, if you do happen to have any recommendations for point-worthy dining establishments either in San Francisco or elsewhere around the globe please send them along, as the competition in my workspace for points is fierce and I could use a leg up.)

Personally, I feel like people don’t talk about time travel enough. On the one hand, time travel seems (and probably is) impossible and therefore not worth discussing, but on the other hand it isn’t that far-fetched since people on planes do it every day. For example, have you ever thought about how weird it is to be thinking about traveling between time zones while you’re flying? Maybe this isn’t weird to anyone else but I think this is sort of crazy – especially when you think about traveling from west to further west (i.e. the east, as in San Francisco to Beijing) and you end up all of a sudden on the day ahead, rather than just an hour or two off in either direction. How do these things get determined? Did you know that when you fly from San Francisco to the Middle East you actually fly over the North Pole? I don’t even know what happens to time there, but I imagine that something about the time travel continuum has to get a little weird there - this is the land of no days sometimes and no nights other times. I don't even think the airlines know how to handle it except to hope everyone closes their window shades when its time to sleep even though its SO BRIGHT OUT and cross fingers that no one notices that "breakfast" is actually spicy prawns and potato cakes.

Putting aside all craziness (full disclosure, Back to the Future is one of the favorite movies), I think wondering what you'd do if it were possible is a fun thought exercise. While I will spare you all from musings about things that are completely foreign to me such as space, time, continuums (full disclosure round 2: I do not actually know what a continuum is) and planetary orbits, it is fun to wonder the following things:

If you could time travel would you? 

Would you go backward…

{note the date in the corner - yes, I'd go back to my semester abroad in Europe}

or forward….

{take me here now, please}

And where to? A moment in your life or someone else's, a fabulous city, a really great restaurant? Does any part of you (maybe the part that still believes in fairies?) you think time travel is possible? Would you change anything?

As for me, personally, I’m grateful to have so many moments with friends and family that I'd be blessed to relive, and it's fun to think about all the places I'd go back to and imagine new places and spaces I'd go in the future. If I had to pick though, I think I'd go back to an earlier era in history before I was born to see something totally new, even though it's old - Renaissance Italy, anyone? 

{to infinity and beyond?}

Ashley, thanks for letting me be a part of your blog. I hope you are having the best time ever in Turkey!


Ashley said...

Hi from Istanbul! Just wanted to drop in to say: 1) you are hilarious and I laughed awkwardly out loud while reading your post, 2) thank you for that, 3) FREE breakfast in Dubai?? You've got skillz, and 4) I totally believe in fairies. The idea of time travel totally hits home right now as I wander from Lucian tomb to Byzantine mosque...

Caitlyn said...

Well check this out! NY Times posts an article about a potential scientific breakthrough in time travel (not that I understood any of it , but still!)