This is just a quick reminder that on Sunday, September 12 we will be celebrating the International Pretend to be a Time Traveler day. Or we celebrated it on the 8th already. I’m not actually sure which one is the official date, but for some strange reason it does seem very fitting. You know how it is with time travelers.
Anyways, the way to celebrate this holiday is to go to some random public place (preferably in a big city where no one knows you) and act like you are a time traveler. But you can’t be obvious. I mean, if you really were traveling through time, you wouldn’t just walk around advertising that fact, would you? So you have to really get into a character and think how someone displaced in time would subtly stand out.
For example, a casual time traveler could reveal himself by his wardrobe which would probably would be assembled based on archival movies and TV shows from our period – though you might have picked the wrong decade. For example imagine you were traveling back to 14th century Italy. Would you know what was appropriate in say year 1310? Or would you just throw together something with a Renaissance type vibe and hope you could blend in? What if you overshot your target and landed in 1350 instead. Would your 1310 clothes seem appropriate or would you stand out like a sore thumb?
That’s probably how time travelers from the future would view our time period – they’d have a vague idea of what people wore in the 20’th century but the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 00’s fashions would probably look all similar and interchangeable to all but historians and period enthusiasts – just like Renaissance fashion looks all similar to us. So a time traveler would probably wear oddly mismatched clothes – most likely stylized on popular culture icons.
A real time traveler wouldn’t actually walk up to a stranger and blatantly ask them for the year. That would be too weird. How would you deal with that situation? Let’s say you traveled back in time, and you must verify the date but you don’t want to reveal yourself. Non-social methods such as finding a current newspaper and reading the date are impractical – let’s say you don’t really know how to work these weird paper based devices. Or maybe there are none at hand and time is of the essence. How would you convince someone to tell you what year it was without actually making it sound like a weird joke?
I actually have a method that works like 80% of the time but I want to hear how would you go about it. In the movies this sort of conversation is usually ramped up for comedic or dramatic effect but try to think about how would one handle the situation in real life.
Please don’t ask me how I came up with this method. I assure you that I’m definitely not from the future, and my mission is definitely not to observe the First Iteration Event. Also I assure you that I have no knowledge of the fateful event known as The Incident. And even if I was from the future and knew about it
I’m not allowed to prevent it. I mean I would not be allowed – you know, if I was from the future. Which I’m not.
Anyways, the holiday was inspired by the Dresden Codak comic. If you haven’t read it, do it right now. It is probably the smartest web-comic in existence and you are missing out. Also this post from last year seems appropriate for the occasion. If you missed it, check it out.