Both Peter and I are enjoying the new science-fiction TV show, Journeyman, in which a journalist gets unexpectedly transported back in time to change lives in one way or another. Understandably for us, one of the things we really enjoy is that the show is set in San Francisco, and it explicitly shows the locations. We’re almost in a competition of “name that neighborhood/location!” especially since the show doesn’t dumb things down by explicitly mentioning them. For instance, when his wife was having a fundraiser at “the museum,” I took great pride in being able to recognize the museum in question (by its stairs and entrance alone) as the Asian Art Museum.
But it also gets a few things wrong, which makes us laugh. For instance, in the first episode, the hero, Dan, wakes up among homeless people in a park with the Golden Gate Bridge visible in the background. When he asks where he is, he’s told “Golden Gate Park.” Uh, no. The only park from which you would be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge like that is the Presidio. Dan’s office is obviously in the San Francisco Examiner building, but for some reason, they have to call it the San Francisco Register, even though it has exactly the same font. And the San Francisco police, which includes his brother, always seem to be chasing after him, or at least, concerned, about some questionable thing he’s done in the process of time-travelling. Are you kidding? The San Francisco police we know deliberately don’t notice anything, and if they did, they’d never do anything about it: certainly not chase after a suspect, or come around asking questions.
Peter and I are also puzzled about Dan’s relationship with his wife about this time-traveling thing. She’s genuinely vexed by it, and really bugged that he keeps running into his ex-girlfriend. Honey, what part of “ex” do you not understand? On the other hand, time travel, now that’s cool. If Peter or I were time-traveling like Dan, we’d never shut up about it to each other. And we’d quickly find a way to use it for our own satisfaction. I’d call up now-dead friends and remind them I love them. Instead of worrying about finding old currency, like Dan does, we’d just dig around for an expired ATM card or credit card to take with us. And Peter swears, the first thing he’d do, is go to newsstands, and snatch up comic books that are now valuable. Either one of us would find a way to place our investments at the time into Yahoo, Google, or Amazon. Oh, and the concerts we missed, the events we wanted to see, the people we should have met when we had a chance: no more! Heck, we could probably get a pretty good sideline business going taking requests from people who wanted to correct a mistake in the past. When I go back to 1991, want me to give you a call, and tell you you need to ask the girl to marry you, now? Give me $100, and it’s done.
Sure, it might get in the way of our mission, whatever that is, but who cares, not when I could be seeing the Sex Pistols’ last concert at Winterland; seeing the first Macworld show; or telling myself to do or not do anyone of a number of things that would improve my personal history. But then, maybe that’s why someone conscientious like “Dan” would get picked to be a time-traveller, instead of either one of us.