Last week, I introduced you to Mr Middleton. I have provided an excerpt for you below, from my interview journals with Mr Middleton, from when I first came across him. It was on a meandering walk I took, through Paddington, not long after I had moved to Sydney. Not knowing my way around, and with thoughts of what documentary I might try my hand at next (at the time, I fancied myself a documentary maker, having made a couple of TV-length attempts, none of which had been broadcast), I had decided to try and find the next subject for a documentary simply by roaming the streets.
The first few attempts were dismal; I interviewed some perfectly pleasant, utterly boring Sydney-siders, one a cafe owner, one a cosmetics shop proprietor. Then I came across Mr Middleton exiting his house on his way to the grocery store.
…His plainness, the total anonymity of his suit, made me think, oddly, of Einstein and his wardrobe full of the same suits, one for each day of the week, to avoid wasting his mental energy on menial tasks such as deciding what to wear each day. Mr Middleton was either going to be the most interesting person I had met so far, or the least. Either way, it was worth the attempt.
As I got close, I am sure I heard him mutter under his breath something about a “teleporter.” Better and better. I cornered him for a couple of questions, as he stood outside his gate, nervously fidgeting with his coat the while. I did manage to get from him that he was a scientist of some kind, and I thought I would slip the teleporter into conversation as if I knew about it already, a technique which I had used in interviews in the past and which generally seemed to achieve greater disclosure.
Q: Where were you born?
Q: What made you want to get into science?
MM: I don’t know what you mean. Science is everything. How can one get into it when one is never out of it?
Q: What first prompted you to try to invent a teleporter?
MM: You know about that? No one is supposed to know about that yet. It’s not ready for other people to know about it. Have you told “Physics Today?” I beg of y0u, don’t breathe a word to the toadies at that magazine. Not yet. They wouldn’t know true science if it poked them in the eye.
Q: How will your teleporter work, once it is ready?
MM: I can’t say. There’s a combination of expectation energy…but no, I can’t say. Not before it’s ready. They’ll just think I am mad again. This will show them, my theories are not mad at all!
Q: What do you do for a living?
MM: I work at a television factory, doing quality control. But my real work is in my laboratory. No one has ever understood, but I’m sure, if I could only work out how matter can be transformed and reconfigured rather than transported…we could save so much time…there could be instantaneous travel. But no, that’s enough. What was I saying? Nothing, nothing. Very well. Get on now.
Q: Do you have any family?
MM: That’s enough. I’m very busy. Please don’t come back, as I won’t have time. Good-bye.
I’m afraid that’s all Mr Middleton had time for. He did not tell me when he expects the teleporter will be ready; in fact, he seemed to want to not speak of it. He did not let me into his laboratory, but I am hopeful for next time. I will definitely be back. Mr Middleton, this funny little man, is on to something. Mad man or genius; either way, good talent….
To be continued.