A Strange Meeting
The following is a short scene where our time traveller George at the age of 20 is visited by two future versions of himself at the ages of 40 years and 60 years.
George is sitting alone in his office at his desk working on some papers. There is a knock at the door.
LINDA. Sorry to disturb you George but there is a man here who insists on seeing you.
GEORGE. All right, show him in Linda.
A man with an uncanny resemblance to George enters the room.
GEORGE40. Hello George. Thanks for meeting me. May I sit down?
GEORGE. Yes do. Can you tell me who you are and what you want?
GEORGE40. I'm afraid not just yet. We must wait for someone else to arrive. He won't be long.
GEORGE Look I'm very busy. If you can't tell me now I will have to ask you to leave.
GEORGE40. No please. He will be here...
Looks at his watch
GEORGE40. about .... now.
There is another knock at the door and Linda walks in again.
LINDA. I'm sorry George but there is another man here and he wants to speak to you too. He says he's expected. But I have no appointment in my diary.
GEORGE. That's OK Linda, just show him in.
An older man with beard enters the room and looks at the other visitor who rises from his chair.
GEORGE60. Good to see you again.
GEORGE. Excuse me but can you please tell me what all this is about. Now. Before I call security.
GEORGE40. He always was a bit pushy.
GEORGE60. Yes but he'll mellow with age.
GEORGE40. Yes sorry. Please sit down George this may come as a bit of a shock to you.
They all sit down.
GEORGE40. I am you aged 40.
GEORGE60. And I am you aged 60.
GEORGE. And I'm the Queen of Sheba!
GEORGE40. No please listen. We are telling the truth. We are you in the future. Can't you see the resemblance?
GEORGE. Well there is a bit. But that could be coincidence.
GEORGE40. Shall we prove it to you?
GEORGE. Go on then.
GEORGE60. Your partner Jayne will come in through that door over there in a moment wearing a long red dress.
GEORGE. Oh well that's wrong. She has no red dress.
At that moment the door burst open and in walked George's partner Jayne wearing a red dress.
JAYNE. George can you have a look at these figures, I think...What's the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost!
GEORGE. You're wearing a red dress.
JAYNE. Yes. Do you like it? I bought it this lunchtime. I didn't feel like taking it off after I tried it on in the shop.
She did a small twirl and sees George's guests.
JAYNE. Oh sorry George, I didn't realise you were in a meeting. I'll come back later.
She leaves as abruptly as she came in.
GEORGE40. Convinced yet?
GEORGE. No, could just be coincidence again.
GEORGE60. Perhaps we should move on to the question.
GEORGE40. Yes. What we thought you should do is ask us a question. Any question at all. It's up to you. You will have the choice, but of course we both know what it will be. So we have written it down on a piece of paper already. It's in this envelope.
He places a sealed envelope on the desk in front of George.
GEORGE. OK. Any question?
GEORGE60. Anything at all.
GEORGE. All right. What was the population of Toronto in 1986? There a bit more adventurous than what's my favourite colour? Wasn't it? Let's see what you've written.
He opens the envelope.
GEORGE. I should have guessed. "What was the population of Toronto in 1986?" But why have you written the word green afterwards?
GEORGE40. It's your favourite colour isn't it?
GEORGE60. Oh and by the way since we've had time to find out the answer it's 3,427,168.
There is a long pause.
GEORGE40. Time for tea.
There is a knock at the door. It opens and Linda brings in a tray of tea and biscuits.
LINDA. I thought you might like some refreshments.
GEORGE. Thank you Linda.
After pouring out three cups she leaves.
GEORGE40. Ah there is nothing like a good cuppa.
GEORGE60. And these biscuits are great. Now is this my third biscuit or the same one I've eaten three times I wonder?
GEORGE40. You asked that last time.
GEORGE60. Yes and I still don't know the answer.
GEORGE. Excuse me gentlemen but I'm finding it difficult to take this all in.
GEORGE40. Yes we know.
George 40 leans over and whispers to George 60 "Perhaps he should go and look out the window"
GEORGE. What was that?
George gets up and walks to the window.
GEORGE. If I understand you correctly you're telling me that you are both me in the future and have come back in time not once but twice? It's ridiculous. There is no such thing as time travel.
GEORGE60. Not in 1999 there isn't. But later.
GEORGE. Presumably I don't discover it?
GEORGE40. No. Just use it. It becomes freely available.
GEORGE60. Look on the bright side though. You will live until at least my age.
GEORGE. Yes. But I'll make every effort not to grow that beard!
GEORGE60. Why, what's wrong with it?
GEORGE. Can you tell me anything about the future?
GEORGE40. No we can't. You don't need to know anyway.
GEORGE. You are not allowed then by law?
GEORGE40. Yes. The Law of Physics.
GEORGE. So we can't touch either or we'll both explode. Yes?
GEORGE40. Not really. You've been watching too many science fiction movies.
He holds out his hand and George takes it hesitantly.
GEORGE40. See. No fireworks. We are 20 years apart. We share no common atoms. There is no problem.
George 60 touches their hands as well.
GEORGE60. Me too. Another 20 years difference.
GEORGE. Look at your fingers! That mark on your middle finger of you right hands. It's the same as mine. You are me!
GEORGE40. I do believe he's got it.
GEORGE60. Better late than never.
George sits back in his chair deep in shock.
GEORGE40. Well we must be going now. Our time is limited.
GEORGE60. Just finish this tea. Amazing how one pot can last 40 years!
GEORGE40. I'll see you both again in 20 years then. Bye..
He leaves the room.
GEORGE60. It was great to see you again George. All the best for the future. Don't worry too much. You'll feel better after a good nights sleep. Bye.
He leaves the room. The connecting door opens and Jayne enters.
JAYNE. Are you all right George? You look pale.
GEORGE. Yes. I think so. I've just had the most unusual meeting of my life. And it looks like I'll have it again. And again..
As you can see I've tried to make up a short meeting that shows that to the 20 year old George it is unexpected and unusual but to both the 40 year old and 60 year old George it is just a repeat.
The Time Line Drawing is a little more complicated than for just a single meeting with yourself and would look like the following.
Again George's World Line runs at the same rate as the Cosmic World Line. It is only the position of his World Line with the Cosmic World Line that changes. Depending on where you position a vertical line on the chart and therefore more importantly when you position a vertical line the more or less likely it is to believe that this meeting could have taken place.
Positioned in say 1989 George is only 10 and no meeting has taken place. Easy.
In say 2049 George is 70 and the meeting has taken place as George is over 60. Still no problem.
Positioned anywhere between and the problems begin. How can the meeting take place with an older George and and even older George because these older versions are in the future?
It all depends on where you position the vertical line or "When is Now". There are some who believe that there is no distiction between the Past and the Future. It all takes place at the same time. They only have a concept of Now. Perhaps this is the answer. It certainly solves a few problems anyway! I have my doubts though. Surely it would mean that the Universe is both beginning and ending at the same time? We will explore this theory later.
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Anthony Edwards - December 1996