At last, the post you've all been waiting for...

Oct 03, 2007

Exoteric life being what it is, I've been waiting for the right time to post about Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day on 8 December 2007. The day is just what it sounds like - it's a Saturday where you wander around someplace pretending to be a time traveler, ideally kitted out in costume and in character but not actually telling anyone what you're doing. The original thread on the Koala Wallop forums goes on to describe a couple of possible schticks that you and your friends can try, such as "We came from a Utopian future but we don't quite get what you're all about" mode and the "Dystopian refugee looking like an extra from a Front 242 video" gag ala Tales of the Afternow (which I highly recommend, by the way). An interesting one comes in the form of "Time travelers from the past visiting future history", which is actually pretty easy to accomplish because it doesn't necessarily imply that you need Edwardian or Victorian clothing - your grandparents' clothing would work just as well (think early 20th century).

I wonder how many people out there are going to try the Gary Larson "time traveling cavemen" gag....

I could quote the rest of the thread but I'm not going to, even though there are a lot of interesting ideas in it. Instead, I'm going to go off a little on the sort of thing that I have in mind behind the cut, but before I do, I'd like to say that I'm organizing a group of people in the DC metroplex to join me on the 8th of December, 2007 on a walking tour of downtown Washington, DC. Hopefully we'll make it to the Smithsonian to check out all the quaint exhibits, and if possible I'd like to put in a visit to Dupont Circle, not only because it'd be a good place to have dinner after a long day of exploring the past, but because there are a couple of stores there that you post-apocalyptic types would probably like because you could add to your street armor. If you're interested either reply to this post or e-mail me, and we'll work out the details. You can expect updates as they develop.

Okay. Now on to what I've been kicking around... What I'd personally like to do is go for the time traveler from an unknown time look - things look sort of right but not quite because some of the details are off. For example, wearing clothing from slightly different time periods mixed together because the times of overlap aren't quite clear - probably a smoking or tuxedo jacket over top of a turtleneck and a pink button-down shirt with a vintage vest (the more pockets, the merrier) and tweed trousers. I might have to wear my usual motorcycle boots to go with them (I think I've used them for everything on the face of this planet except for actually riding a bike). Basically, anything that could be construed as 'eccentric' or slightly anchronistic. A few people I've spoken with are interested in other schticks, such as anthropologists from the far future. I say, go for it. I was always more of a historian, myself.

I'm in love with the idea of paying for stuff with very new or very old cash - that's an old sci-fi convention dealer's room prank, but I think it's still got some life left in it. I'll probably be carrying a small Moleskin notebook with me to take copious notes on stuff we come across. "So THIS is coffee.... I thought it was a myth!"

I'm probably going to be carrying some odd toys with me, too - stuff like children's toys from the 1920's, large magnifying glasses, very old books (of which I have a few that I wouldn't mind losing because of how damaged they are), and possibly a few things that I hack together out of bric-a-brac from the thrift store and the dumpsters of Radio Shack.

This is kind of disjointed because I've written it over a course of hours, but I've got more ideas percolating in the back of my head that I'll probably post here.