While I was aware that in technical terms I was skipping around chronologically and therefore not exactly wasting time as such, I was beginning to feel very keenly that I wasn’t getting any closer to actually solving the mysteries and challenges currently on my plate, and that was a very unsatisfying feeling. I’d already seen what the failure of my mission looked like, and the knowledge that I could possibly – maybe, depending on the school of thought I chose to subscribe to – avert it and salvage something from the wreckage had impressed itself upon me as very much a concept and a possibility with a ticking clock attached.
It didn’t seem to matter whether the clock in question was ticking forwards, backwards, or hurtling merrily up and down the index of local history. It was still ticking.
Furthermore, I was aware that my own personal timeline was still trundling away with indomitable patience from past to present to future, and no matter where and when they were happening, my own finite allocation of hours were trickling away with nothing much to show for their disappearance, here and now.
Still, there didn’t seem to be much I could do about any of that. And above all, it seemed churlish to grizzle about a lack of action and progress when I made couch-sitting my life’s work and pursued relaxation and idleness as actively as I could without the process being internally self-defeating. Whichever school of time-travel thought I happened to be forcibly enrolled in at this point, I had to accept that it was my destiny – or possibly my predestiny – to go down the ladder-stairs thing and into the manky cellar outside of classically-understood space-time.
So down the ladder-stairs thing and into the manky cellar outside of classically-understood space-time I went, battered lunchbox-sized case under my arm and the unwitting hopes of the city, if not the world, resting on my shoulders.