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Archive for December 8th, 2010

Pretend to be a Time Traveller Day

Posted by Dirck on 8 December, 2010

According to a facebook thing, that’s today.   There are two options, if I may save you having to rattle down the link– be from the future or the past  (he who poses the Day splits future into Utopian and Dystopian, but that can be a matter of where one stands).

I, of course, am cheating because I generally dress in keeping with this notion, and could claim to be from either past or future.  Observe the kit:  fedora (currently hanging up with the pea-jacket, by the galoshes), horn-rimmed glasses, festive tie, waistcoat, fountain pen, Oxford shirt, cuffed trousers suspended with button-terminal braces, analog watch, socks of a pleasant knit decoration, and shiny brogued wing-tips.  To the casual observer, the claim to be from the past seems obvious, while the future seems somewhat unlikely.  It’s the details that make the difference.

The watch is battery powered.  The fabrics involve some polyester.  The fountain pen is genuinely from 1935… but it’s oddly worn.  The shoes are older than everything but the pen.  Fiddly stuff, but after watching some historical dramas in a room full of Costume majors (one of whom I’m married to), it makes an impression.  I am, in fact, dressed exactly like someone from well into the future who has almost done enough research. 

History has this terrible way of telescoping on you, after all.  If I say “Picture 1995… and now 1946,”  you probably got if not clear mental pictures of the times then a definite sense of “Gosh, there’s not much similarity there.”  However, we speak very glibly of “the Bronze Age” or “the Sixteenth century.”  Well, I’ll tell you something:  I make less of a stir on the modern street dressed in my 1935-1960 mishmash than one would by appearing on Sir Philip Sidney’s doorstep with elements of dress appropriate to the reign of Henry VIII.  My wife’s biggest complaint about Coppola’s Dracula is that the costumes are from various easily-detectable (for her) points within the Victorian era.  Thus, having a pen a decade or two out of line with the cut of my waistcoat is entirely appropriate for someone from centuries as yet unborn.

I am, for the sake of fun, going with being from the future.  Apart from it being easier to follow the “stay in character” guideline by smiling smuggly and shaking my head at internal combustion travelling contraptions (again, things I do anyway on a regular basis) than staggering around being amazed at flat-screen TVs and diving for cover when a jet goes by overhead, taking on the role of future-dweller brings an air of optimism to the Day.  After all, if the future still has records of our time complete enough to allow a nearly-correct outfit like mine to be put together, it can’t have gone off the rails too badly.

Also, there is still ink for fountain pens in the far future.  Good news indeed.

Today’s unspeakably ancient yet still functional pen: Parker Moderne
Today’s ink providing hope of a bright tomorrow: Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Brown

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