Would you rather?

Go back to the past or to the future?

This is something that I have often pondered, on my many periods of introspection.

Logically, I should want to go far into the future, because I will never be able to experience it. At least I can read about the past, but the far future is a party that I am not invited to.

I am obsessed and fascinated by history. Not just the major historical events, but the way things were; the way people lived, the clothes they wore, the food they ate, the slangs they used, the morals they had (or didn’t have), and just the general vibe of the past. I love coming across newspaper/magazine articles from decades ago. I stare at them, intrigued by this period where I was nonexistent, periods were even my parents were not yet beings. Even better is when I come across clips shot many years ago; not even motion pictures, but little snippets of life back then. I want to enter them and experience them all, I want to live then and now and in the future too.

I do not necessarily wish to have been born in the twenties, I just want to have experienced them. I envision myself as a gust of wind, a ghostly figure, sweeping across the decades and centuries, seeing everything, immersing myself in it all but not getting swallowed by it. Simply put, I want to see how life was in the fifties but I don’t want to be a woman in the fifties.

I am incurably curious. What did people do for fun in the 1700s? Were people happy then? Did they laugh a lot? How would I have fitted in then? I see pictures from then and find it fascinating that all of these people once existed, and now all of them are dead, and one day all of us will be dead too.

The best time is now, with all the comforts and trappings of modern life. The future could be better or could be worse. The past has no washing machines or robot vacuum cleaners or tiny phones that double as cameras and everything else.

So would I rather go back or go forward? As much as I love the past, I would have to go a century into the future. I would like to see what we have made of the world, or at least what is left of it. Are we still fighting the same battles? What terror has replaced ISIS? What isms are we protesting? What country has replaced the USA as the most powerful nation? Has Mandarin replaced English as the global lingua franca? Have the robots defeated us and taken over? What animals have gone extinct? How do people in the future view us? Are we strange, primitive people to them? Is Apple still releasing iPhones? What do people do for fun? What fashion trends and beauty standards are in? Is it now fashionable for women to have no ribs? Has El Chapo escaped prison once again?

What’s it going be: past or future?

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Sunsets on the train

Things I like: Train journeys.

Long train journeys.

A seat by the window where I can intermittently look up from the book I am reading to watch the world go by. No rush to get anywhere,nothing to do but sit and read and relax. Looking out of the window to see acre after acre of pasture, cows and sheep grazing serenely, without a bother in the world.

A warm cabin to chill in and to catch my breath after lugging around suitcases; up and down the stairs, in and out of cars, drenched in sweat or shivering pitifully depending on the season. I endure the struggle and look forward to boarding the train, stowing away my boxes, and then getting my heart rate back to normal.

I like bus rides as well. They take longer than the tube but are more humane. I like anything where I can sit by the window and see things.

Things I dislike: 4 o clock sunsets.

Oh how wonderful it is to venture outside at 9pm and see it still bright as day. That is my favourite season, when the days are long and the nights short. Then clocks go back, the cold creeps in and the day retires before 5pm. It is so dark I can barely see, I am cold and I look at the time and it is only 4:30 pm and I want to scream.  Nocturnal beings all over rejoice but I need the daytime. Until then I will be miserable and cold and forced to trudge the earth at the ungodly hour of 5pm.

At last…

“And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter— they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long.”