Teleporting through the holidays


The wibbly wobbly timey wimey experience of the holiday period

Teleportation and time travel have ignited our imagination for over a century and yet, in so far as I know, neither technology currently exists. While we wait for science reality to catch up with science fiction, there is one way we can and do experience these phenomena, and that is over the holiday period.

Star Trek is the prime example of teleportation used as an effective mode of transport with more favourable outcomes than those depicted in, say, The Fly. My childhood of long car rides and my adult life of even longer plane rides have been plagued with teleportation fantasies.

H.G. Wells created a Time Machine for his intrepid protagonist to travel into the future. The younger version of me was never impressed by this. What is the point of having a time machine if you don’t go into the past to see dinosaurs? A waste. Like buying an expensive sports car just for driving around town.

Of course the car as a time machine in Back to the Future made perfect sense for traveling to places with both fuel and roads. The DeLorean may not cope in dinosaur times but I would be willing to give it a go.

Traveling through both time and space is a tantalizing prospect made famous in Doctor Who with the TARDIS. The possibilities of combining the two concepts in one clunky police box are seemingly endless and surely warrant further research.

Recently, teleportation research has yielded impressive results. Although so far this involves teleporting the state of a particle up to a few meters and not, for instance, me with my luggage to somewhere over the other side of the world. Useful for super-fast internet, not so much for avoiding airport lounges.

As for time travel, there is still much conjecture about whether or not it is even possible. But it is. Because every year at this time many people experience what could only be described as being teleported through time and space. They enter a time warp around December 24th and the next thing they know, it’s early January.

What happened during that between-time is never clear. Only fuzzy memories remain of being very, very full but still finding room for pudding, of being surrounded by lots of people who look vaguely familiar, and, at one point, there being a lot of pretty bright lights and a feeling of heartfelt love for whoever was standing next to them at that moment.

This is the first year for many years that I haven’t worked through the between-time and it’s been amazing. I need to document this time for future reference because certainly by next week it will feel as though I never left work. Which is kind of like traveling through time and space.

I think I’d prefer a TARDIS.