My husband Bill has always been the master of our house and the center of my world. So when my General Electric Spacemaker Oven transported me into a distant future where women work outside the home, I felt like the natural order of things was definitely off.
I was making six different Better Homes and Gardens hors d’oeuvres for my afternoon book club, deboning a chicken and about to start in on the mending when all of a sudden I was overtaken by a rushing sensation and a very bright light. At first I thought it was my delicate female constitution getting the best of me, but I soon realized I had been transported to a future reality where the idea of women as weaker beings was no longer an undisputed fact. Where was I? Why was everybody wearing pants?
I’m the kind of wife and mother who always has a fresh frock on and a hot dinner on the table when the father of my two boys gets home from his demanding job, but after falling through this rift in the space-time continuum, I have no idea what time it is in 1953 or if I’ll ever again see the man who is the entire reason for my existence. I did hear the muffled voices of my book club ladies yelling into the void, “Stay there, Janice! Show us how to follow you!” a little while ago so I figure I might have a few hours until dinner.
At this point, I’m just hoping Bill works late again tonight.
Like many of you women of the future, I went to college and studied business and the humanities, but I only used my education as a way to make interesting and delightful conversation and not to calculate the reentry rate needed to bend space and time and reunite me with my former reality. It’s too bad my cookbook didn’t make it through the wormhole with me. My mother always said there’s a recipe for everything!
Looking around this strange new world has made me realize I missed several waves of feminism, but right now the only waves I’m concerned with are the gravitational waves that make time travel mathematically possible. I heard there was a Women’s March on Washington, but I have no memories of the social and political upheaval of the sixties and seventies to make me feel comfortable with that sort of thing.
Even though I may be the only person who has ever successfully traveled through this wormhole, I can’t stop thinking about my husband, Bill. Pretty soon he’ll be coming home from the office, ready for a stiff drink, a home-cooked dinner and an evening of solitude in his study away from his wife and children (unless some kind of other-dimensional version of me is doing this all for him right now?). I always knew men needed their personal space, but it never occurred to me that space would break open in such a way as to provide this blissful 26-year-old homemaker from the atomic age with total, soul-crushing, uncertain freedom.
I remember reading somewhere that space-time can fold over on itself and restore balance to the universe and, for the sake of Bill and the boys, I really hope that happens, but for now I’ll just focus on folding these towels.
I’m glad I landed in the middle of a department store. At least this J.C. Penny hasn’t changed too much.
I do hope there aren’t any other secret portals in our tidy pre-war bungalow. If Bill slipped through a metaphysical gateway to Reno and got a divorce, that would really feel like the end of the world as I know it.