The following is a true story. What I think happened may or may not have actually happened, but the actual story did. It’s not a very long story, or a very eventful one, but it’s something.
It probably occurred somewhere around 2-3 years ago. I can’t be exactly sure. I remember that it was hot out, but maybe it wasn’t summer yet because it may have occurred during the school year. I’m not sure of the day or month or year. I’m not sure if it was a weekend or a weekday. I do know that my daughter was with me, and that we both saw what we saw, although what she saw and how she remembers it may have been influenced by what I saw and how I related it to her.
We were driving east down Bluemound Road in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Bluemound runs east/west. It’s also known as Highway 18. It starts in Milwaukee right around Miller Park where the Milwaukee Brewers play baseball, and extends into Brookfield, Wisconsin into Waukesha County and beyond. I’m not exactly sure how far it goes or where it ends. It may extend to the Pacific Ocean for all I know, but I kind of doubt it goes that far. I mean, who really keeps track of how far roads, streets and highways go? Google Maps probably does, I guess. I don’t always have a lot to do – maybe sometime I’ll drive west on Highway 18 until it stops and report back.
I don’t know where we were coming from. It’s possible that I had picked my daughter up from school, but Bluemound would have been a bit out of the way. Back when she was in grade school she would occasionally go home after school with one of her friends and I would pick her up from there, and they live just off of Bluemound just shy of Brookfield so it’s possible we were on our way back from there. We also could have been coming from the hair salon (all of us – me, my wife, my daughter, my two sisters and some/all of their kids and my mother go to the same hair salon and go to the same stylist. I’ve been seeing her for like 12-13 years. She’s super awesome, not just as a stylist but as a person. I was the first to see her and I’m probably her favorite, but then I’m most people’s favorite anything. People don’t always like to admit that, but it’s true) which is located in Brookfield and is as far west as we go on a regular basis so maybe one or both of us had gotten our hair did.
I know it was 2-3 years ago because my daughter was still riding in the backseat. There are guidelines as to how long a child should be in a car seat based on age and height and weight. She’s in the front seat now, but I’m pretty sure she was not yet when this took place. She was out of the kid car seat but still in the backseat. They say the air bags in the front can be harmful if you are not a certain height/weight. I always wonder about adults who may be short or do not weigh a lot. Maybe they shouldn’t be driving based on those requirements. Or maybe they should be driving from the back seat?
I suppose it depends on how old you are, but do you remember when no one knew or cared about seat belts or car seats or seat belts way back when? I can recall my brother and two sisters crammed in the back seat of our blue Chevy Nova, or hanging out of the back of our super awesome red station wagon. When I was really young I can recall sitting in the front seat well on the passengers side by my mom. Even when people used seat belts most cars were only equipped with lap belts, and I don’t remember using them a lot. I remember them being more of a nuisance than anything, and that the metal would get super hot in the summer and would hurt if you touched them. Back then air conditioning in cars was optional and expensive. I don’t remember which of the many cars my parents owned when we were kids was the first that had air conditioning, but it was not the first few, that’s for sure. It might have been the Ford Escort that they bought when I was in high school, which was also the first one that I recall having the seat belts with more than just the lap belt. The belt actually came across your chest automatically when you turned the car on. That Escort was in three accidents, two caused by me, the second of which destroyed the car for good and occurred after both sister #1 and I had both moved to Wisconsin and had already graduated from college and moved in together for a couple of years. She had taken ownership of the car. That car lasted a long time, but the second accident I caused finally killed it, the accident occurring when I was on my very first date with my wife. It was around 5 minutes into the date, and I’m always surprised that there was a 2nd date after I killed the car and almost killed us in the process.
But as always digression is my specialty and my curse so back to the story. We were at the stop light at the intersection of Bluemound Road (Hwy 18) and Mayfair Road (or Highway 100, or 108th Street, which is another major road in the Milwaukee area that travels north/south and could extend from Mexico to Canada for all I know). Both of these roads are major roads in the greater Milwaukee/Waukesha area, and the red lights are interminable. (I don’t know about where you live, but I actually feel like all of the stop lights are interminable. Maybe it’s just when I travel on them. More likely it’s just me being impatient but sometimes I think I’ll have to shut the car down and stay overnight until the light turns green. The amount of my life that has been wasted waiting at red lights in Milwaukee will be something I’ll recall and regret on my death bed, and I’ll rue all the things I could have done with my life had I not wasted all of that time.)
So there we were, waiting to turn left from Bluemound onto Mayfair. Nothing much happening. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, I saw a man on a bicycle. That is not unusual in and of itself. But the man on the bike looked unusual and his bicycle looked unusual. The bicycle looked like one from the early days of bicycling. The front tire was oversized, and the back one was tiny. The seat was up high. It looked like this, as did the man riding, or trying to ride it. He was dressed up, or at least dressed up in comparison to how most of us dress when the weather is warm. He wore a cap and heavy looking pants. I’m not sure but I think he had a vest with a coat over it.
I’ve since learned that riding these old-time bicycles and dressing this way was/is a fad that had occurred/is occurring.
But even still, I don’t know that a hipster would have been trying to ride this bicycle on and across this particular intersection. He was so out of place that it was hard not to notice him, although I feel like I would have noticed him coming. Maybe I was too upset because the light would not turn green, but if I’m being honest it was as if he just appeared. As he began to cross at the crosswalk on Mayfair where he had a walk sign he appeared to struggle to get up onto the seat and it took him a few false starts to being to ride to the other side of the street. I’m probably extrapolating at this point but it almost seemed as though he was nervous or unsure of his surroundings, maybe like he was seeing things that he had never seen before.
I pointed him out to my daughter and we watched him ride this odd and unwieldy looking bicycle across the street. I was so transfixed by this anomaly that I forgot about the stop light and didn’t notice that the light had turned green and we had the arrow to turn left (don’t get me started on left turn signals and how they last for approximately three seconds before they turn red again). So I kind of had to floor it to get through the intersection lest we miss the light and would be forced to wait through another one, not to mention the amount of people I would have pissed off behind us who were also waiting for the light and would have had to wait as well.
As we turned through the intersection we both looked back to try and locate the cyclist to see where he was headed. I feel like I caught a glimpse of him as he continued down Mayfair Road over the bridge that goes over the highway. But I’m not sure if I did or not, and I know that after the turn was complete he was gone. I know we both saw him and then I know we both did not see him. It was as if I the few seconds it took to turn left he had completely disappeared.
I know I influence my daughter a lot, good and bad, so the fact that, as we drove the rest of the way home we decided we had just seen a time traveler appear and disappear was probably me saying it and her believing it because I had said it. It was probably nothing, and there is a perfectly good explanation for his appearance and his bicycle, and his dress, and his sudden appearance and disappearance, no matter how out of place and odd that it was. But I do know that there was no where for him to go – no where to turn, nothing that would have obstructed our view of him after we had made the turn. The only thing he could have done was to through the huge bicycle over the fencing on the bridge and then jumped off in the few seconds that we looked away. I feel like we would have heard something about that had that occurred.
Like I said it’s not a long story or a very eventful one, or maybe even a very good one. But it’s something that happened and it’s something I wonder about. Every once in awhile when we happen to be driving in the area my daughter and I will reference the time we saw a time traveler. We’re mostly joking, or at least she is.
I’ve read that time travel into the future is theoretically possible. You don’t have to take my word, but you could take Steven Hawking’s word, if that does anything for you.
He and they say that travel into the past is very less likely, although I’ve read some stuff that may refute this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandfather_paradox
And I suppose none of it is very likely at all. I kind of like to think things that are impossible are actually possible. Just like it’s impossible that the Earth is round, or that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Just like it’s impossible that we could travel to space, or to the moon. Just like it’s impossible that we could get a machine into the air that can take us great distances over the Earth in a short period of time. Or that we could have modes of transportation that were not carried by horses, or that we would have devices that could send communications to anyone and everyone around the Earth and beyond in an instant.
So it was nothing. But if you look back to what people must have thought was impossible, the things that we take for granted, things that would have astounded people 10, 15, 100, 1000 years ago, then maybe nothing is impossible. Maybe everything is possible. Maybe if you can think it, it already is.
And that’s the story of the time my daughter and I saw a time traveler. Thanks for reading and see you next time.