Yesterday, we went to the zoo. We are in San Francisco (for a couple of weeks), so we went to San Francisco Zoo (it seemed to make the most sense, any other zoo would probably be a little out of the way).
There were lions, and tigers AND bears (oh my), and also otters and meerkats and koalas, but no tapirs, because the tapir died (sad story, we may come back to that later). These, however, are not the point of my story.
The point of my story is this: at some point during our visit (just before the end, if it is important to the story. I’m not sure it is, but I have included it now, so it seems more trouble than it is worth to go back and remove all mention of it) I went to the toilet. There was nothing particularly interesting or unusual about the toilet. It was a clean, well-functioning public facility with around a dozen stalls, a dozen sinks, some paper hand towels and some baby changing equipment. Nothing unusual there. There was nothing unusual about the way I used the toilet either (I know you were wondering), and certainly no explosion of lights or ear-shattering WHOOOOOSH! noise as I flushed the toilet. This will become important in a minute. No one else was in the building. It was a quiet day at the zoo. This may not be unusual, but felt somewhat eerie.
It was as I left the building that something unusual happened. I had washed my hands – that isn’t unusual – and, as I stepped out into the sunlight, cool air against my still-damp fingers, I felt a strange tingle, like I had, in passing through the restroom door, passed through a portal that had thrown me through time. Back, forward, I had no idea. Whatever the case, I had a strong feeling that I had passed through some kind of slip in the space/time continuum. (SPOILER: I hadn’t. But that is not the point right now).
There seemed to be very few people around. And those that were were wearing really unflattering jeans. Was it the mid-nineties? Had a timetravelled back 15 years? Or five years into the future, where people were wearing 90s-style jeans as some kind of ironic nostalgic homage? Or were these just tourists from middle-America, where these were the newest latest styles, and I was merely judging them with my cutting edge european sensibilities? Who could say?
I walked faster. If this was the present time, My Beloved and Doozer would be waiting in the car park for me like nothing had happened (SPOILER: It hadn’t. But let’s not lose the flow of the story right now). But if I had time travelled, then where would they be? If it was the past, say five years ago (I was passing someone with a haircut from around 2005 in the queue for tickets, I almost stopped and asked them who the president was right now, but decided they looked like the kind that might punch you if you did). If it WAS 2005, my Beloved might be back in London, or in Brighton. Doozer wouldn’t be born yet. If it was actually 2020, then both of them might be elsewhere, reminiscing about the day that Mama disappeared from San Francisco Zoo.
Either way, I wasn’t sure if I had my bus fare back into town.
The feeling became stronger, by the time i reached the car park I was almost running. Well, walking slightly faster, anyway.
But there they were. just like nothing had happened. Which it hadn’t.
Oh! Hell, I have to go and feed Doozer his lunch. Anyway: point is: yesterday should go down in history as the Day I Did Not Time Travel (But Kind of Felt as if I Might Have Done. But Hadn’t).
Edited to add: it has just been suggested to me on twitter that it is perfectly possible that I might have time travelled on the way INTO the restroom, and then again on the way OUT, causing the weird feeling but explaining the complete apparent lack of actual time shift. This explains everything. I have urinated in the future, people (or possibly the past), people. You can be in awe now.
(Also: Hello blog, I have missed you.)