Updated: Jul 2
That’s what Joe said when I read him a tweet about the latest discovery of space/time waves. Gravitational waves. Waves. Of TIME AND SPACE. IN SPACE.
It wasn’t like he didn’t believe it was real. It was just too big and weird to take in at that moment. And I get it. But I’ve also been going through a low level mid life crisis for at least a decade and much of what I thought I could know and understand has already been kind of collapsing in on itself on almost a daily basis, so gravitational waves seem oddly doable for my olympic level gymnastic mind right now. (Like, don't worry, I'm not going to buy a red sports car I can't afford or move to the forest without telling anyone. It's a very low level, long, boring mid life crisis. I'm not even really that sad about it. Just a weird byproduct of being my age, I think. Maybe that means I'll live extra long!)
Don’t get me wrong, I still have mostly no idea what in the crap these waves are or what they do. I’ve always counted on time being pretty linear and un-wavable. But it is fun to imagine what shark jumping weirdness these waves might cause, if we were a little bit closer.
“Maybe that’s what causes deja vu,” one of my kids suggested. I decided to lay this time folding stuff on my kids since Joe wasn’t in the mood. My kids are weird and awesome. I’m pretty sure they get most of the weird part from me.
But that got me thinking. Earlier today I drove my daughter to a summer Shakespeare rehearsal at a home on 9th East in Provo. I drive her there once a week. I used to live just off of 9th East when I was a college student. It has been a couple of decades but all the oxygen still goes out of my lungs as we pass by one particular apartment complex that amazingly is still standing, dump that it was. I pine for no one or nothing that happened there, but my time there turned me inside out in life changing ways and I remember weird things like running out of gas in the drive through teller of the bank that is now a Mo Bettas restaurant. (I used to put about $1.50 of gas at a time in the tank of my old VW Bug.) Or digging through the couch cushions to afford a 69 cent burger at the McDonalds. Those are the less personal things that I don’t mind sharing here. My brain recognizes that a lot of time has gone by and I’m driving my daughter to her fancy lessons in a pretty good car and I no longer wonder where the spare change for my next meal will come from or if some social catastrophe will happen on my way to the coin op laundry room. But still, somehow some black holes collide inside my heart and time folds in on itself for a minute. Maybe there are gravitational waves in my guts.
I don’t mention any of this to my daughter as we drive by. I used to in humorous ways. We have driven past so many times now, I knew I would start sounding like a senile old lady repeating herself.
But on the way back home, as we got back into our town we passed the middle school where she attended a couple of years ago.
“Just now I imagined that I was sitting in that lunchroom, Mom. Is that weird?” she asked. She had internal magnetic waves!
Sometimes I try to bend time with my own will. I do this when something terrible or extremely stressful is going to happen. On my very worst days, I remind myself, no matter what happens on this day, it is inevitable that it will be over at some point. I will be lying in my bed at the end of this day. I don’t have to have faith that it will happen, it just will. Time moves forward because that is what it does. The yuck that is on deck for today will at the very least take a break when I rest my head on a pillow in the near future. I imagine myself in that future. I teleport myself there. And I remind myself that it will really happen, that in a few hours I’ll be in a place in time that hasn’t happened yet, and my present that seems all encompassing will become the past. I’m not explaining this very well. The thing I do is more of a non verbal act that I make happen in my mind. Sometimes I actually remember that I’ve done this when I reach the moment I transported myself to earlier. I feel a sense of peace and a tiny bit of control over my life. It is such a farce. But a useful one, sometimes.
I wish I could make some moments last longer. That I could make the space/time record skip a little so I can replay or linger on the very best moments, days, years. The afternoon I see all of my kids playing happily on the trampoline. The wonderful conversation with a child. The date with my husband. The road trip with my sister. The rush of an appreciative audience as I play my guitar and sing on stage.
I’ve seen enough TV shows and movies about time travel that I’m adequately scared out of ever wanting to do it myself. Lost. Back to the Future! About Time. The Time Traveler’s Wife. (Side note, why is Rachel McAdams in so many time travel movies? Also, DO NOT see The Time Traveler’s Wife unless you want to be messed up for days. I ugly sobbed.)
I obviously have no idea what the actual gravitational waves are but they’re fun to think about. Space is so weird and creepy.
I have a couple of songs about time travel but none of them are recorded. I can’t decide if they’re good. But it seems like I should share a good song about time travel with you right now, so here’s one of my favorite ones, by my friend Dominic Moore.
Oh, and here’s an older song of mine about making the best pieces of time stand still.