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Monologue Mania Day #122 by Janet S. Tiger One Little Mistake (c) June 14, 2014
This is one-third through the year!
One Little Mistake
by Janet S. Tiger
(c) June 14, 2014 all rights reserved
(A woman comes out onstage. She is quiet, but very elegant.)
It's amazing how little things - and I mean really little things - can totally change your life.
I used to write in my online diary every day - I've done so for years. It is not fancy, and I only write for ten minutes, but I have been nothing but consistent over the course of the 25 years since I started, on the advice of a psychiatrist. I have long since stopped seeing the psychiatrist - I found talking to the computer page was just as easy, resulted in the same responses most of the time -which was nothing - the shrink had been quiet for most of the 50 minutes that I had blathered on- and amazingly cheaper. In fact, after quitting the official time spent on therapy, I had very carefully saved the money I used to spend on Dr. Whitherspoon, and every year, have taken a fantastic vacation.
I even increased the weekly deposit into my 'time-off' fund when I would learn of the new hourly shrink rates. The previous year I saved almost $10,000 and took an amazing cruise throughout the Mediterranean, meeting more marvelous new friends and taking wonderful pictures with my new iphone.
Yes, the change in my life has been amazing due to therapy - and the switch to what I like to call -'typing therapy'
It changed my life, that ten minutes a day. I figured out that 50 minutes was ten minutes a day for five days a week. And, because I knew that sometimes Dr. Witherspoon had given extra time -and Kleenexes when needed - which was usually why I would need extra time- I added the extra ten minutes on Saturday and Sunday as well.
I did this 10 minutes religiously - even on the trips and cruises I took. Like the pills I take for my cholesterol, I was very careful never to vary the time and duration of the typing.
I would be up at 6am, and after my exercises and a cup of tea, would sit down at exactly
6:30 am and put the time onto my first 'compose' in my email account for that day.
'6:30am’ then the date, then 10 minutes, then xyzzz so I could always search easily for the file if I couldn't find it.
It was a strange mistake I made, not that mistakes were uncommon as I am – by admission and constant reminder- not perfect, but this time, I didn't catch the error before emailing the file back to myself.
I had put down the date the way I always did - it was April 22, 2014 - but by accident, I typed in April 22, 3014 xyzzz
How was I to know that that one tiny error would forever change everything I ever knew? Had I known, would I have even started the diary in the first place? Ever stopped with Dr. Witherspoon?
It was funny, though, that fateful day, how I had hesitated before pushing the send button. I sensed something was off, just the way you get the mail sometimes and know that big puffy letter is about to cause all sorts of anguish. And it always does.
But, in my sublime ignorance, I just hit the button and Send I did.
There was an instant sensation I couldn't identify and it was breathtaking. I gasped and closed my eyes to experience the feeling with every fiber of my being - it was as if my whole body was undergoing a change. I breathed deeply - is this what a heart attack was like? Or a stroke? Or some brain catastrophe I had read about - and lived in dread about?
When I opened my eyes, I immediately noticed something incredibly odd.
(She examines her hands)
My hands, which had been starting to wrinkle noticeably and get those brown spots that come with age, were actually getting younger. As I watched, the skin reversed the oldifying process and my fingers looked younger, more supple - and I noticed no pain when I moved them, no soreness, no stiffness.
I took another deep breath and looked up at what was once the computer screen. It had changed completely to some sort of floating thing, and a face was looking at me, a face I recognized slightly – who was that? Oh, no, it was my face! Only it was my face from when I about 20 years old! As I became aware of more of my surroundings, I continued to breathe deeply- what was happening?
As I looked around, I realized I was no longer sitting at my computer, but rather floating at some kind of station, no chair, no table, no visible support. As I struggled to grasp what was happening to her, a voice came through.
'Are you all right?' The young man looked so familiar to my - could that be....
'Is that you?' He looked just liked Gerald had looked at around age 18, but how could that be possible?
'In the flesh, what seems to be the problem?'
'There's something very wrong...' I indicated the floating screen.
'Oh that damned thing! Let me look at it....'
He proceeded to float upwards to some type of odd device on the ceiling, and started fiddling with it. I was relieved to see some things hadn’t changed.
'They just set up a new switching station somewhere in Alpha Centauri...and now the reception is so bad sometimes....I wish they'd go back to the old method of relays via the stations on Pluto. It may be old school, but it worked so much better and no gaps!'
He said this in way of explanation of some sort, but it had exactly the opposite reaction - I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, and he seemed to sense that.
'Don't worry Mom, I'll get this fixed. If necessary, we can patch through to the Pluto lines until we do. Not to worry, you won't miss a minute of your daily therapy.'
The way he said it annoyed me, and I didn't even know why.
'And what is wrong with my daily writing therapy?'
He kept a smile to himself, but I saw it, and knew he was –as always- secretly laughing at her.
"Well, since neuro-balancing transmission was developed, no one uses that old time stuff - it's been out, for what, 800 years?'
Now I was starting to get really worried. My children were always up on the latest developments - I was used to them making fun of my for taking years to get modern devices, the first example being a cell phone, and then once I got it, I loved it so much I even slept with it. But this was different - this had an air of something from a dream. And yet I knew I wasn't dreaming - well, actually I didn't, but this seemed too detailed to be illusion. First, I needed to know something. If I looked 20 and he looked 19, how is that possible?
'How old are you, Gerald?'
'Mom...' I could hear the annoyance in his voice - it sounded identical to the sounds he had made when he was 9 years old and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with the computer.
'I'm still in my second mil - just like you - and I will be for another 972 years. I know you want to have decade parties, but come on! We'd all spend all our time on birthdays! You have to know how silly that is! Here, someone sent a funny 3d about that, like… 200 years ago.....'
He fiddled with the device on the ceiling and I saw a very realistic birthday party - one I might have gone to as a child, in fact - right in front of her. So real, I could smell the cake and the smoke from the candles. My son watched my reaction with a smirk.
'There, does that satisfy your need?'
I leaned back, forgetting there was no chair, and suddenly was upside down.
My son laughed as I spun, trying to get back into some level of equilibrium.
'I don't think you'd be laughing if you knew what I just went through......'
Something in my voice stopped him laughing and spinning....and he looked at my in a different way.
'I'm listening. Are you ok? Did you forget to check your immune level today? And your blood flow ratios?'
I had not a clue what he was talking about, but I could sense his concern, which was reassuring.
'I am not ok, and that's what you need to know.'
I then proceeded to recount the whole story about my day, and he was not laughing any more, but watching my very carefully, only touching his ear in an annoying way every few moments. Gerald had always had numerous annoying habits as a young man, and as his mother, I felt an almost overwhelming need to keep up the also annoying habit of noting the habits.
But even as I made a mental note to remind him of this irritating habit, I decided to wait until I had some type of understanding of what was going on.
I finished my explanation, and he stared at me, with no sign of making fun, which I was glad about, but with another look in his eyes that was nerve-wracking because I couldn't identify the emotion.
'Okay, Mom, I've heard about this.'
'Well, I am a universal engineering physicist.....'
'I guess I forgot that - or maybe I just don't know.'
'That is possible, too....tell me again exactly what you recall.'
He sat down with me, listening intently to my description, asking me detailed questions at some points, and when I finished, he touched behind his ear, listening to something I couldn't see. He started to laugh.
‘There's a chance, very small, that you stumbled upon a very strange renegade code, put into the old time emails, and there was some time of warp, and by typing in the incorrect year, with that code, you jumped.'
'That's what time exchange is called now. You don't travel through time, you jump. The person who was here, is now there, because they made the exact same mistake at exactly the same time you did.'
'How is that even possible?'
'Well, obviously, the odds are against it, but from what I see, it was so expensive to fix this code error -once they found it it- that they figured if anyone actually had it happen, it would be such an anomaly, it wasn't worth the zillion dollars of repair.'
'Zillion? I that an actual number now?'
'Oh, yeah, it means a google google billion. It's a lot.'
He touched his ear again, and I realized that he was listening to something …..inside his ear - which appeared to have no phone and he smiled when I stared.
'I'm using the implant computer you gave me 250 years ago, accessing the original universal computer system which is still anchored on Mars. It may be 500 years old, but in some ways is a lot more stable than the newer systems - and it still has much more info than on your set. I think I have the patch....'
He came to my machine and waved in something so strange I could not have described it. My page of typing appeared, as it had just a few hours ago - with the date at the top.
He looked at me and smiled. Take this, and when you get home, insert it into your…what did they call it then…..’ He was searching in his ear again. ‘ into your computer’s USB. It’ll make sure this never happens again.’ He handed me a tiny card that I knew instantly I had seen before. But before I could think about it, he was checking what appeared to be a clock of some variety.
'Now, we have to go very quickly, this window closes in 60 seconds. Do you remember what you were doing before this happened?’
‘Type in exactly what you typed ...'
I put my hands up - there was no physical keyboard, just filmy letters seeing to float in the air. The time on the air clock glowed at 6:30am
I put in the 10 minutes first, then the -A-p-r-i-l, and the 2-2-...and then the fateful year, only this time, correctly. 2-0-1-4. As I typed in the last number an odd sensation hit me, much like the original feeling at the beginning of this 'Anna in Wonderland' day. I barely had time to croak out - 'goodbye, Gerald, thank you!' before it happened.
(She stares at her hands)
It was as if everything was going in reverse.
I could see changes in my hands first - they were no longer young, and they now had spots. A fleeting thought that perhaps I might have stayed - young is nice - flew into my brain, but it was replaced at a remarkable rate by the changes I now saw -I was home. My computer faced me and I was looking at this 10 minutes I had just written - which seemed amazingly long for such a short span of time.
Should I call my doctor? Was something going awry in my brain circuits? Then I started to read and began to laugh. I was still laughing when my son Gerald and his wife came later that day. It turned out to be an amazing birthday for me, but I decided I would never tell what had happened just because of one teeny, tiny mistake that I made....no, that would be my little secret.
(She walks off, then comes back, she looks younger, perhaps a change of hair – pulled up or down, a different jacket)
I didn't realize that thinking one tiny little mistake while working on my daily diary would change my life so much. After 1059 years, you'd think you'd seen it all. For centuries, they all laughed at my for still doing this daily routine, but I found it comforting. Long ago, once the immune response magnifier had been perfected, it had been discovered that regularity of routine was no longer necessary for longevity, but that did not stop me from enjoying the constancy of putting down my emotions and activity on a set basis. At 6:30am every morning - even if my children and grandchildren and all their assorted descendants still laughed at me, even if some of them laughed so hard they almost lost control of their bladders and had to activate an instaclean-bot. One has to develop a thick skin to live so long, and I had.
But there it was, and I hadn't even noticed - the real date was 3014, of course, not what I had written - which was 2014, xyzzz and I was amazed to see that even as I identified the error, that my hand was almost drawn to the floating send button. I waved over the send - and instantly I knew that something very strange was happening........'this can't be good' I thought as the first thing I noticed was that my hands seemed much older....and they had spots.......
(She shudders, then turns and walks off, shaking her head, looks back)
That’s all it takes…..one little mistake…….
(An end – a continuous loop end, but an end.)
Janet S. Tiger 858-274-9678
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8