I must have written 10 drafts of this letter, but I’m still not sure where to begin. I am sure that you won’t believe me, no matter how I tell it. So here it goes.
This morning, I bought a newspaper dating from October 2018. Not from a museum, not from an auction. I bought it at a newspaper stand because today is Sunday, October 28, 2018. Somehow, I have traveled in time.
I am writing to you from the past. It is 2018, I have not the slightest idea how I got here, but I’ve been here for almost 3 months and I decided to start this journal in the hope of reaching you. I also hope it will keep me sane while I slowly figure out how life worked back in the anxious era.
I still feel so alien, so alone.
I don’t know when you will read this, as I have no clue how time travel works. If you search for your show for the first time and this comes up, please tell me not to look for great grandpa’s things because that’s how this mess got started. On the other hand, if you had read my blog then and warned me not to visit his space in Berlin, I wouldn’t be here writing you –ugh!- time traveling paradoxes are so messy, it gives me a headache.
I am just going to assume that this popped into existence once I disappeared from 2107 just in time for you not to be worried sick. What else can I do?
I can’t imagine how worried you are, so first of all let me reassure you that I am, in fact, alive and well. I am so sorry that we argued the last time I saw you. I still don’t agree with you, but things didn’t have to get so heated and I shouldn’t have left things the way I did. And now I ended up here. When I first woke up, I thought I was in /virtual in some kind of 2k history fan project like they have at school, but way more detailed and dirty/grimy.
The last thing I remember before passing out was going through the stuff in great-grandpa’s studio. I know you didn’t want me to look for the past, but I guess I have your genes to thank for my curiosity, so you can probably relate/understand. When you received that letter about inheriting a building in Berlin, I just had to go and see it for myself.
So I went, and I have to tell you, it was worth it! This house, they’ve kept it like a time capsule. No one has entered it since the day he disappeared. Imagine the treasures I found! A computer with a keyboard and a mouse! Brands, that have been out of business for decades. Unfortunately there are only very few clues about his story, but I found his art and his inventions! In any case, it turns out we were all wrong. He wasn’t an artistic maniac/kook/nut job, or at least not just that. He was also some sort of inventor. I found lots of notes and sketches of machines and gadgets.
Imagine the treasures I found!
A computer with a keyboard and a mouse!
What a beautiful, confounding, creative mind, what a lost soul. I imagined him back in 2017, your mom and him falling in and out of love, it must’ve been so intense. I even found some pictures of the both of them on some kind of glossy paper. I felt like I had stumbled on a massive treasure, but I got no closer to finding out what happened to him. I kept rummaging through the paintings, notes, and machines and must have touched something I shouldn’t have. I felt a kind of electrical shock and I must have passed out.
I still can’t tell you how he disappeared, but maybe it has something to do with the mess I am currently in? In any case, I’d love to find him so he can help me get back. I have to tell you, when they teach you about the early 21st century they don’t tell you about the smell. And there is plastic EVERYWHERE. Single-use bags, wrapping material. The waste we are still dealing with? It’s being produced here in quantities that make you want to pull your hair out. The norms that are accepted here are unbelievable and the only people that challenge it are getting ridiculed.
It took me three months to at least partially fit in, but I still mess up some of the interactions I have with the contemporaries. I’ve often been out and had to withdraw quite quickly before anyone could figure out why my behavior was so different from everyone else. I still feel so alien, so alone. You are the only one I can talk to, well, write to, and I will never know if my messages reached you unless I find a way back.
I’ll continue to write you nevertheless, even if it’s just for my own sake; to keep me sane and to keep a log of my encounters here. For all the pain it causes me on a personal level, this journey has given me access to an incredible trove of knowledge. More than we could ever find out through the half sunken half-truths of information overload that was social media back then (and still is now?). I’ll try and be as unbiased as I can and keep my observations scientific, but honestly, my knowledge of your future is probably making that quite a challenge.
Let’s take this one step at a time. First and foremost I wanted you to please know that I am ok, and I guess this is as close as I can get to contacting you with the technology that is available right now. I’ll keep you posted on a weekly basis, I promise. The main goal, however, is to get out of this mess as soon as possible.
I miss you.