Visiting a ladies dress shop in the seventies, I want to pay for my purchase. My money and a sales slip are placed inside a cylinder that twists shut, and then disappears into a large overhead tube. Whoosh! After a few minutes pass – thunk! – the cylinder reappears and I get my change and the receipt. The only place I see those quaint vacuum tubes these days are in bank drive-thru lanes. But I really wish someone had applied that technology to the interstate system. I would like nothing better than trundling down a ramp in Chicago, and emerging in a few seconds at the destination of my choice. OK, maybe vacuum tubes wouldn’t be enough, you’d have to have a worm hole, but stay with me here. Folding space and time would just be so much more convenient! Less traffic congestion, no long TSA lines at the airport, savings on gas! After driving over 600 miles over the last weekend, there’s a great appeal to getting there, the faster the better. We’re squealing as we collect people at the airport, and shouting as we pull into the driveway – “we’re here!!”
However I’ve envisioned our get-together, the reality is excitement bubbling over into multiple simultaneous conversations, overlapping sound and emotion that covers individual words. I might not know what my mom and son are discussing, but I can tell they’re having fun. We laugh and share and hug. Meals are assembled in a kind of slow motion as we kibbutz, opening drawers and cabinets in search of the right utensils and dishes. Everyone shows off their culinary skills for what seems like one continuous meal, since after we clean up, it’s time to think about eating again.
Fortunately, we do get out of the house – if only to digest. We avoid the malls and pick our way around town to a candy store, a pottery, a quirky hotel’s art exhibit, and a recently renovated museum. These venues are bustling, but not overwhelming, and give us the opportunity to share special local places with our kids.
A worm hole, as depicted in science fiction, will move you across great distances, but just as often, will move you across time as well. Transported to the past so that the protagonists can correct some historical fault, or preserve an event that will have great repercussions. While our trip didn’t have the advantage of a worm hole to jump over great distance, I think time travel is still a factor. During a trip home I reconnect with past holidays, recombining the event with an updated mix of people. Not to amend the past, but build on it. Memories overlaid onto new construction, forming a new experience.