Slow Fi Sci

Teresa’s been on the other side of the world for a couple of weeks.  Across plains and seas.  She’s coming home now.  It’ll take less than a day.  In the beginning she was 8 hours away (Italy), and in the end 7 (Scotland), but also with the late high north solstice sun.  Briefly she’ll share the slice of time her mom inhabits, the same slice of sky.  It’s been nice thinking about her way off out of phase.

Oh, Teresa’s waking up now maybe she’ll call.

Or now she’s sleeping.  Until I go to bed.  One night’s sleep behind.

You get used to thinking of that parallel but not quite shared experience in a couple of weeks.  I guess it would happen if you worked different shifts in the same place, or just had different sleep schedules (god knows I’ve explored that one enough already), but you could imagine in a slow fi future, a low-energy high-technology future, there’d be a special kind of out of phase.  Geographically out of phase.  How far away in daily experience you were would only change slowly, and you’d see someone approaching from far away — across near instantaneous communications — by how close they got to you in time.  I’m getting up?  They’ve been up for 4 hours.  3 hours.  2 hours.  Now I can get up early, and they can get up late, and we’re on the same schedule, until we merge back together into the same space, and the same time.  But at least this way, we’ve got the same period, so once you get together you can stay there.

In the early days of the MER missions, people moved to a 24.5 hour day to share their experience, their routines, with our remote envoys.  Not only out of phase, but a different wavelength.  Occasionally passing through the same day as your family, but then vanishing back into Martian time.  I’ve been deeply out of phase before, like living in a ghost world.  But that would be stranger I think.  A temporal commute.  Flashbacks to the world of the living.  Not quite dead.

Or an interplanetary spacecraft, with people in cryosleep, with different periods of consciousness.  Different rates of aging.  Different rates of living.  Fast and slow burn humans.  Or intelligences.

But anyway, I get to snuggle with this particular traveling intelligence tomorrow night.

By Zane Selvans

A former space explorer, now marooned on a beautiful, dying world.

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