Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Time Traveler's Meme

No, I, the Queen o' Memes have not been deposed (at least, not that I know of). I've just learned to reign with a more gentle and quiet hand. Every once in a while, though, I decide that my subjects need to be put to work, especially in the fall (probably fond memories of things like that first Halloween meme I tagged myself to do years ago). It's officially fall, so the Queen is here with your orders.

Thanks to Zoe's Mom, I recently read a fun chick lit novel called The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather. The book is all about time travel, specifically, time travel in which the heroine goes back 10 years to meet her 21-year-old self. It got me thinking. First of all, ten years isn't really long enough, not for someone my age. I'm still shocked when people point out that 9/11 was nearly ten years ago. Fifteen years or twenty would be better. What would happen if 46-year-old me were to encounter 26-year-old me? I started coming up with all kinds of questions, and the next thing I knew, this meme was born.

1. Depending on your age, go back 10, 15, 20, or even more years.
2. Tell us how many years back you have traveled.
3. Pretend you have met yourself during that era, and tell us where you are.
4. You only have one "date" with this former self.
5. Answer the questions.

I have gone back 20 years (actually, a little further than 20 years. I'm pretending it's February, and my young self is about to celebrate her 27th birthday). We are in Stamford, CT, and we have met at her favorite bar Rory's ( a place that no longer exists). It's Monday night; she worked at the public library until 9:00; and she is here with her colleague Bill. They will walk home together once they've had a couple of drinks, because her crappy basement apartment is on the way to his place, and he usually sees her safely home. Her apartment may be crappy, but still! She is living all. by. herself, for the first time in her life.

1. Would your younger self recognize you when you first meet?
Well, according to Facebook friends who haven't seen me since high school, I haven't changed, so chances are, she'd think she'd met a long lost older sister or something.

2. Would she be surprised to discover what you are doing job wise?
Very. She is in her first year of library school and is hoping to become either a school librarian or a young adult librarian in a public library.

3. What piece of fashion advice would you give her?
Do not wear oversized sweaters with leggings and chunky shoes. You have lovely legs! Show them off with high heels and short skirts while you are young enough that no one will question such choices. And you do have cleavage. Stop being so afraid to show it off a little.

4. What do you think she is most going to want to know?
She'd probably want to know about men -- what else? My guess is that she will most want to know what is going to come of this on-again-off-again relationship she's in the midst of that will go on for the next couple of years.

5. How would you answer her question?
Not to worry. To enjoy that relationship, that it is good in many ways, will help her to become the person she is meant to be and that (despite her conviction she is not going to get married), she will be married one day. I don't think I'd tell her that she has not yet met the man she will marry or how she will meet him or anything like that. I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise and excitement of Bob's and my meeting.

6. What would probably be the best thing to tell her?
That she will live the next 20 years without coming down with any horrible disease. Therefore, she should stop worrying about every headache, stomach cramp, sore throat, etc.

7. What is something that you probably wouldn't tell her?
That, at age 29, she is going to break her wrist while ice skating and have to endure a very painful surgery and months and months of physical therapy. She's a worry wart and a cautious sort. If she knows that, she'll never let herself have all those fun days of ice skating, and she most definitely needs to have those.

8. What do you think will most surprise her about you?
That I am married to a minister (she's an agnostic/borderline atheist) and living in Pennsylvania. She's convinced she'll either be living in Boston, New York, or Maine by the time she's my age.

9. What do you think will least surprise her?
That I am a certified scuba diver. She's always wanted to do that, and she will be happy to hear that she will one day be able to afford such expensive hobbies.

10. At this point in your life, would you like to run into "you" from the future?
Absolutely not. What if I've been in some horrible accident and lost an arm or a leg or something? Or what if I'm crazy and homeless? I certainly wouldn't want to know that ahead of time.

Are you reading this? Then the Queen has tagged you. Get on with it.


Rebecca H. said...

Okay, I'll consider myself tagged :) This looks like fun. I'm trying to decide at what age I should "meet" myself. I'm not sure what I wouldn't tell myself -- that's a tough one.

litlove said...

Oh my, this is an excellent meme - and your answers are wonderful. But there is SO much I could not tell my younger self about what lies ahead. I'd have to think very carefully about it - but you have certainly got me thinking!

nigel patela said...

I was full of so much psychic badnoise up until not very long ago.
I think it best to leave all the past Me's alone.

Courtney said...

Super fun meme, Emily! I will definitely take advantage of the queen's mandate. And yes, while I am younger than you I, too, wore lots of baggy sweaters and leggings and oddly, it is sort of in fashion again. Not falling for it this time, though.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Ma'am. I'll get to it. And I love your answers (also I read the same book courtesy of Marcy, and I enjoyed it too!)

Emily Barton said...

Dorr, can't wait to see your answers (I imagine you won't be able to go back much more than ten years).

Litlove, there is actually tons and tons I couldn't tell my former self either. In fact, when I really started imagining this scene, I began to think I'd have to sit in silence most of the time. I would hope, though, that I could be very encouraging. My younger self needed that.

Nigel, yes. It wouldn't be too good to give them the opportunity to haunt you if you've laid them all to rest.

Court, I guess our younger selves were all about comfort and not so much about style (a shame, because as we get older, we can't take advantage of style in the same way). Then again, I didn't have much money in those days and couldn't buy a lot of the stuff I really wanted.

Ms. Musings, can't wait to see your answers. Wasn't it a fun book (well, once you got past all the typos. Why do chick lit publishers seem to think that books rife with typos are okay? I need to write a blog post on that)?

Stefanie said...

This was fun. Perhaps it will appear on my blog sometime later this week.

Hootin Anni said...

Hi Emily....

I just wanted you to know that I participate in Sunday Stealing meme [on Sunday's, naturally]...but this week I find that this was THE most interesting meme questions [tag] I've ever come across. Excellent questions, excellent work!!! Ohhhhh, and I went back 40 years. Whoa.

Emily Barton said...

Anni, thanks! It was great fun to create and answer.