In the course of daily events, we pass by many people, ignorant of their personal challenges, their needs, their struggles. If we could take a little more time out of our day to notice those around us, we might see someone who looks out of place, who looks harried, or worried. We might see someone who keeps looking at people’s smart phones or watches, trying to find the date. We might see someone who is staring like a wide-eyed child at the unfamiliar place around them.
They might be a lost stranger to the city who needs directions, or they could be a Time Traveler who needs a little help to keep the space-time-continuum from collapsing on itself.
In case it is a Time Traveler, here are some recommendations:
1. Always carry the day’s newspaper, even if you typically read on an electronic device.
If you are carrying the day’s newspaper, and see someone try to look over your shoulder. Greet them warmly. They are probably on a time-emergency. If they ask you what the date is, tell them the day, month, and year, just in case. No need to aggravate their already difficult task.
Also, give them your paper. They probably need it to see if they are in the correct time-line. You can always catch up on the news later.
2. Offer them something to eat or drink.
Time traveling can be exhausting, with few places to stop and eat along the way. Some people’s bodies are transporting them and need to replenish nutrients. Others may just need a snack.
Three things you might always keep handy: Fish fingers and custard for your local Doctor, milk chocolate for someone caught in an alternate time-line, and Pepsi-Free for your roaming teenager from the 1980’s. With the Pepsi Free, I also recommend providing a skateboard or similar device, just in case the teenager needs a quick escape.
3. Bring along spare clothes of the modern era
If someone is in era-inappropriate clothing such as a space suit or clothes from the Renaissance, they could have just left a Sci-Fi Convention, a Renaissance fair, or they are a time traveler.
If they ask about the date, then offer them a spare outfit. Help them blend in and feel comfortable in the modern world. If they happen to be Vulcan, give them a headband to wear. Have a hat or scarf available for other non-human creatures who may be visiting.
Traveling in a time outside one’s own can be disconcerting and upsetting. Having the clothes to blend in with the crowd will not only help them accomplish their trans-dimensional mission, but will also remind them of the goodness of humanity.
Special Note: If the time traveler is either completely without clothing or dressed like a British professor, RUN.
In the first instance, the time traveler is probably a killer robot sent back to assassinate a historically significant person.
In the second instance, the time traveler is probably the Doctor. That means trouble is about, and soon people will either die or disappear. While you might hang about to see if you can hitch a ride on the TARDIS, it could also be wise to run before you are turned into a Cyberman or attacked by a Dalek.
4. Do not ask them about the future
While knowing your future, or where to invest money, seems desirable, the consequences could be catastrophic. One small shift of knowledge could change your actions, which could have a warping effect on the entire fate of humanity. Whether for better or for ill, it is safest to leave the initial timeline as intact as possible.
Similar to four, you want to prevent catastrophic, time-bending events. There is not enough chocolate milk in the entire universe to help civilization cope with the possible transmutations of the future.
How would you help a visiting or local Time Traveler? Would you join them on their adventure or not? What kind of ice cream would you offer?
Other Thoughts on Time Travel