Voyager

Time machineWhen I was a kid I read sci-fi and day dreamed myself into the role of the hero, just as any kid would. I imagined travelling into the future and seeing all the promised inventions actually working and making life as strange and wondrous as the storytellers made it seem.

Then I grew up and went to work and had no time to think of these things apart from reading the occasional sci-fi story or watching the occasional film. The future lay in the future and that was that.

The other day we were in town. We went into one of the big record stores so that Tigger could have a good browse. For my part, I went into gawp mode, as I often do. I looked around the place in wonder.

For one thing it was huge, as big as a cathedral, it seemed to me. There were rows and rows of shelves full of stock, articles common today that didn’t even exist when I was a schoolboy: DVDs, CDs, iPods, personal radios and stereos, things in transparent bubble packs whose purpose I couldn’t even guess. In the middle of the store, two escalators carried unending streams of people between the street level floor and the one below, equally packed with stock and also accommodating a decent sized cafe where we later went for hot chocolate.

The decor was minimalist, with dark paint and metal fittings. Standing by the rail of the staircase and escalators, I could see parts of both floors. Altogether a striking vision. Suddenly I laughed, one of those amused, delighted laughs that come from life suddenly catching you with an unexpected thought, but one so true as to brook no denial. I had realized that my childhood dream had come true: I had travelled through time and was now standing in that very future I had so often dreamed of. I was a time traveller!

If I could have travelled back in time and told that child of my adventures, how intrigued he would have been. Of course, I couldn’t do that and in a sense it didn’t matter because he was here with me, seeing it all through my eyes, hearing it through my ears, feeling the cold of that future metal handrail with my fingers.

And the voyage continues. Every day takes us a little further into the temporal depths, a little further from our starting point on a planet whose place and time must remain ever remote and inaccessible to us but whose memory we carry imprinted in mind and body, intrepid voyagers among the waves of time and space.

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About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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7 Responses to Voyager

  1. baralbion says:

    Must have been the Virgin Megastore in Piccadilly Circus, formerly Tower Records (and before that the department store Swan and Edgar).

    It’s the same sort of idea as imagining people from the past being able to see what the world is like now. One of my regrets at being mortal is that I shan’t be able to see what the world looks like in, say, 500 years time. I’d love to know.

  2. Simon says:

    That is such a wonderful story and beautifully written. It makes me want to travel from my little back water town here in Australia into the marvelous future you describe in London.

  3. SilverTiger says:

    To baralbion: You are probably right. I tend to be vague about these things. HMV and Virgin Megastores all look alike in my memory 🙂

    I too sometimes wish I could travel through time or at least see through time. I would like to see how the world turns out and also verify my memories of the past. Did things really happen as I remember them? Then again it might be a sad experience, like looking at pictures of a loved one who has died.

    To Simon: Glad you liked it. What seems exotic to you seems normal to me and vice versa, I expect. Though I have to say that I love living in London and don’t follow the current fashion of denigrating it.

  4. baralbion says:

    Always like to get a bit of Proust in when I can: “… le souvenir d’une certaine image n’est que le regret d’un certain instant; et les maisons, les routes, les avenues, sont fugitives, hĂ©las, comme les annĂ©es.”

  5. SilverTiger says:

    Marcel Proust unwittingly caused me a dilemma one evening at the bookshop. I was serving a till when a young man came up to me and enquired if we had any books by Proust. Nothing unusual in that except that he pronounced the name to rhyme with “joust”.

    I would have shown him the books myself but I was unable to leave the till and therefore had to call a colleague to do it instead. With my colleague and the customer standing expectantly in front of me, what was I to say? If I said “Please show the customer the books by Proost” he might take it as a criticism of his pronunciation but if I said “Prowst”, I would be condoning an error and, for all I knew, he might be grateful for the correction.

    In the end, I settled for “Prowst” so as not to risk embarrassing him and spoiling his pleasure.

    SilverTiger

  6. baralbion says:

    A story which I think might have delighted Monsieur P.

  7. Greener says:

    thank you. i was just wondering how to pronounce Proust, wondering if all these years i had been pronouncing it incorrectly. i was much relieved to learn that, at least in this respect, i hadn’t proven myself to be a fool.

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