The Unreliable Narrator’s Questions for Stephen Hawking Somehow Get Misdirected to Me, the English Major
Tonight at dinner, while munching on pizza, my 3.75 year old son lays a heavy one on us.
The UN: When does time stop?
At first I thought I had heard him incorrectly. He repeats the question.
HB: How about some fruit? Pineapple?
Me (stalling): Yeah–we have pineapple or peach.
The UN: I want peach, peach! (undeterred) Mama, when will time stop?
HB frowns when he looks into the refrigerator and cuts up a nectarine–I mean, peach, and puts it down in front of the UN. Because to admit that there are no peaches in the house is to court emotional mayhem.
HB (aside): I can’t believe you’re going to answer this.
Me (taking a deep breath): Sweetie, time doesn’t stop. It goes on forever and ever. It’s infinite. And when we understand something to go on forever, that’s a related word called infinity.
The UN (drinking this in): When will time end?
Me: We won’t have to worry about that, because if it does, it would happen soooooooo far in the future that we wouldn’t be around any more. You and I will have been long gone. So basically, we don’t have to worry about it. For us, time might as well be infinite.
Now that is all ways to sunday wrong, I’m sure, but put on the spot like that, how would you do?
Were we done with the brain-teasers for the night?
The UN: When will you be as old as nai-nai [HB's mom]?
Me: One day I’ll be the age she is now. But she’ll have moved on; she’ll always be older than me.
Geez, kid, would you like the theory of relativity now? I think there are even trains involved in the example.
The UN: What will you look like when you’re as old as nai-nai?
Me (winking at him): Why, I’ll look as good as I do now.
The UN: When I’m as old as nai-nai, I’ll still call you mommy.
Me: Yes, darling, I’ll always be your mommy.