How I became obsessed with accidental time travel
I found a worldwide community of believers building an archive of temporal dislocations from the present.
As with a déjà vu spell, the experience was short lived and time was regained. According to the blogger’s sleuth-type report, Cripps “was later determined” to have been a business in the 1950s. In response to Frank’s slip of the tongue, posters told their own or related tales they heard other people: “It happened to my ex-boss, Glyn Jackson in London, England,” begins one. “Glyn’s story is highly believable as Glyn is a person who lacks imagination on such a scale that he could not create a first grade story for English to save her life.” Here we go.
I never liked the stories about the passing of time. I wish I could ever reclaim the hours of my life that Richard Linklater stole with “Boyhood” – his two and three-quarter hour film, set over a 12-year span in which time is the force that overwhelms everything, especially the idea that our own actions guide our life stories. There is a lot of unwelcome depth in there.
The time slip anecdotes, while fashioned from the ambient fear of living with the clock, are childish in their sense of wonder. They are light-hearted, playful, and irrational, as frivolous and folkloric as a ghost story if told by the confused ghost instead of the people it haunts. One poster, as a girl, used to see a woman in a blue bathrobe in her bedroom: “Her hair was long and messy, a reddish brown. I didn’t see her face because she was generally rejected. I used to confuse her with my mother. Years later, grown up, the poster girl slept in her old bedroom. “One day, I realized … that I was wearing the same blue bathrobe,” writes the mother. Paranormal traps aside, this story is about the whiplash feeling brought on by the passage of time.
The shift can be significant, as any Freudian will tell you, and these stories are puzzles whose answers could inform us about our relationship to time. I began to think of the message boards on which they are exchanged as narrow but important release valves, allowing the posters to talk about the feelings that come with being limited in time: depression, midlife seizures, dysmorphia of living in a human body. How bad was Miss Smith, whose car slipped into a ditch after a cocktail party, and who witnessed “groups of Pictish warriors of the late 7th century, ca. 685 AD ”, if not an understanding of its smallness in the vast expanse of history? Why did two academics, famous in the community of time slips for having written a book on the discovery of Marie-Antoinette in the park of Versailles, encountered trees that seemed lifeless, “like wood worked in a tapestry” ? Perhaps at that moment, like the last queen of the Ancien Régime of France, they felt radically disconnected from their present moment.