Just about to head out on a weekend trip to Omaha to party down with my Lab cousin Britney (and as I mentioned the other day - Labs are pretty awesome. If you can't be a Vizsla, you should totally be a Lab. Or a Green Lantern. And now I'm imagining a Yellow Lab Green Lantern - would their power be ineffective against themselves?* Must investigate...)
*I know Green Lantern lore if a bit different now, but in my day all Lantern Corp. Members were Green and their powers couldn't work on things that were Yellow. It was a simpler time.
I was talking about travel with a friend over lunch just yesterday actually. I was relating how whenever I go anywhere I feel obligated to return by exactly the same route that I left, on the off chance that I accidentally stumbled into a dimensional rift and was flipped into a parallel universe on the way. That way I was sure to get back to my correct universe.*
*Yes, I know that this assumes all dimensional rifts to be both stable in their entrance and exit points as well as penetrable from both sides. You know you were thinking it.
I went on to sadly add that it ultimately had been a waste of time, as I had never accidentally fallen into an alternate dimension on any of my jaunts.
To which she reasonably replied, 'How do you know?'
I know, right? Vizsla. Mind. Blown.
Why would I assume that I would immediately be aware of having slipped into an alternate dimension? It's not like they would post a 'Welcome to World Without Shrimp' at the entrance.
It might be worth taking a look at the individual types of parallel worlds to see what I mean here.
In a World, where...
...There is no such thing as shrimp.
Well, unless you happened to be on your way to buy some shrimp, or you yourself WERE a shrimp, it's not like that's going to immediately leap to your attention, now is it?
...Somebody who is nice in our world is Evil, as evidenced by eyepatch/goatee
Again, if you happened to bump into them on the trip, sure. You might well notice 'Hey- Bob's Evil. What's with that?' But if you only talk to Bob on the phone or via texting you're not going to see the eyepatch/goatee, now are you. What, are you expecting Bob to start every text in this universe with 'Evil Bob here'?
And what if the evil person is Tom Johansson of Des Moines, Iowa? You don't know Tom. You've never met Tom. Even IF you happened to be going to Des Moines, and IF you happened to run into Tom you'd probably just assume that Tom is always a big Douche. (Which might be a little unfair to our universes Tom Johansson, but what can you do? Suck it up, non-evil Tom.)
...Everyone is Evil.
So you're on a trip and you wander into a town where everyone has eyepatches and goatees. Sure, that might strike you as a little odd, but you're probably more likely to just assume that it's a town full of assholes with curious ideas about accessorizing.
...You. Never. Existed.
And look, the whole world is exactly the same. Take this moment to revel in the confirmation that you're life doesn't matter and you've made no difference to anyone. You're Welcome.
...Somebody who is a big loser in our world is Super Awesome
Also known as the 'Jonathan Paradigm'. Most of the same argument made under the 'someone is Evil' heading apply here. The world's kind of a big place. Odds are that you're not going to bump into him.
...Hitler Won World War II
Because for some reason every parallel universe series in the history of the universe is required to do this story at least once. I admit - You'd probably notice this one. There, I said it. Are you happy?
...Male and Female Gender Roles are reversed.
I'm going to take a brief moment here to give some advice to you burgeoning screenwriters out there. Never, ever pitch this idea. because this is the idea that EVERYONE pitches. It's the sci-fi script equivalent of writing your first novel about a writer trying to write their first novel. Or auditioning for the Renaissance Fair to be a lost Time Traveller who is stuck there by mistake.* That said - in these enlightened times, I'm not really sure you'd notice this change immediately, unless you're the sort of person who opens other peoples paychecks to compare salary rates.
*Seriously. Every year, 20-30 people think they're the first one to ever suggest this.
So, travel safely and remember to just kind of roll with things as they come. That's really the message here.