July 2014 – I would break into my friend’s house to destroy a reusable bag hanging in her kitchen so that when Past Amy arrived later in the day for improv practice she wouldn’t make an awkward hacky joke about said bag which made her literally reconsider participating in comedy, even recreationally, forever.
Second half of 1986 – I would see R.E.M. tour in support of their new record Lifes Rich Pageant, and if they didn’t play “These Days” I would make a big fuss. It would be the kind of scene that in the present time would be captured on many iPhones, but of course instead it would be a story people told of the weird lady with the asymmetrical haircut and some anger issues. I would also try to make out with Michael Stipe. Even though he wouldn’t be into it, at least I’d no longer have to live with a nagging if only feeling that can really haunt your life.
September 1994 – I would make sure more people tuned in to Chicago Hope on Thursday nights because Mandy Patinkin didn’t deserve to be a loser, guys, he just didn’t.
Early 2014 – I would like to throw something at Early 2014 Amy right before she tried to be nice to a person who was just about to say something really mean. Not sure if the Doctor Who laws apply here like when Rose tried to look at Baby Rose or something (I have not rewatched Doctor Who in some time), so I’d tread carefully here. In panicked situations I tend to blurt out compliments, so the truth is that I would probably make all of this much worse than it stands currently. I’m sure I’ve said plenty of mean things to plenty of people too, but this is about my time travel, not the meanness recipients.
August 19, 1994 – I would place a large bottle of sunscreen in a very prominent place in teenage Amy’s bedroom, so when she and her best friend Jess departed the next morning for the outdoor all-day concert, Pointfest, they would not suffer from sunburns complicated embarrassingly by a contest being held by radio station 105.7 The Point. With DJs directing us to write the name of the station on our bodies to win backstage access and other cool perks, how were we to know that our markers would act as the only sunscreen on our bodies, condemning me to approximately one week of a radio station imprinted in ghostly white letters on my legs and arms?
1928 – In Pennsylvania, I’d convince H.B. Reese to abandon his plans to create the most perfect candy in the world, the peanut butter cup, and then, as if by magic, years later, 2013 Amy would never accidentally tell her boss, while attempting to say that she greatly appreciated Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, that she would prostitute herself for them.
September 18, 2014 – I would write “Go inside, don’t pay at the pump,” on multiple Post-its, and stick them on just-recent-past’s Amy’s purse, keys, steering wheel, etc. I might also write a longer letter. I'd urge this Amy to talk to someone about why paying for gas inside the gas station, where she plans on buying a Diet Coke anyway, is so much more difficult than paying at the pump. The short-term goal would be to keep an identity thief from the purchase of a new iPhone he’s about to make with Amy’s debit card information. The longer-term goal would be keeping this Amy from repeatedly patronizing a clearly fraught-with-crime gas station, just because it corresponds with many key points on the laziness checklist.
April 1988 – I would attend the opening night of the musical Chess on Broadway. It’s already a huge disaster; on the first night of previews, apparently intermission lasted an hour and a half because, per Wikipedia, “the stage crew reportedly had problems with the sets”. Reportedly looks so accusatory; what else might they have been doing for an hour and a half? Trying on wigs and coats? (Note: most of the costumes in this production, from my vintage souvenir brochure, seem to be various coats.) Anyway, I like this cast recording a lot even though the British concept album is theoretically what most people would call “better”. I would have liked to have seen David Carroll, that’s for sure. And maybe try on some wigs, if that was an option.
June 2005 – I would slip a note under the windshield of 2005 Amy’s Suzuki Aerio. Dear Ames, it would read, Do not skip the Sleater-Kinney concert. I know they just signed to a new label and made the kind of record bands make when they still have so much to do, but they’re going on permanent hiatus and this is your last chance for the foreseeable future. I realize that “the foreseeable future” is perhaps a silly concept within the context of time travel, but the Amy who isn’t yet time traveling is going to regret this decision so much.
10:30am, last weekend – I would deliver McGriddles to my own doorstep because, man, it’s just hard getting to McDonald’s for breakfast, because if you weren’t the kind of person who liked sleeping in and being lazy you wouldn’t even be craving McDonald’s right now, would you. If you’re curious how I would let Past Amy know she could eat those McGriddles, let’s just say it wouldn’t be the first time she ate something left at her doorstep, no questions asked.