The Art of Darkness

Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day

November 22nd, 2012 by Cobwebs

Get ready! Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day is/was/will be (depending upon your temporal situation) December 8!

Aaron Diaz, who writes the cyberpunkish Webcomic Dresden Codak, came up with the idea a few years ago, describing it thusly:

You must spend the entire day in costume and character. The only rule is that you cannot actually tell anyone that you are a time traveler. Other than that, anything’s game.

There are three possible options:

1) Utopian/cliché Future – “If the Future did a documentary of the last fifty years, this is how badly the reenactors would dress.” Think Star Trek: TNG or the Time Travelers from Hob. Ever see how the society in Futurama sees the 20th century? Run with it. Your job is to dress with moderately anachronistic clothing and speak in slang from varying decades. Here are some good starters:

– Greet people by referring to things that don’t yet exist or haven’t existed for a long time. Example: “Have you penetrated the atmosphere lately?” “What spectrum will today’s broadcast be in?” and “Your king must be a kindly soul!”

– Show extreme ignorance in operating regular technology. Pay phones should be a complete mystery (try placing the receiver in odd places). Chuckle knowingly at cell phones.

2) Dystopian Future – This one offers a little more flexibility. It can be any kind of future from Terminator to Freejack. The important thing to remember is dress like a crazy person with armor. Black spray painted football pads, high tech visors, torn up trenchcoats and maybe even some dirt here or there. Remember, dystopian future travelers are very startled that they’ve gone back in time. Some starters:

– If you go the “prisoner who’s escaped the future” try shaving your head and putting a barcode on the back of your neck. Then stagger around and stare at the sky, as if you’ve never seen it before.

– Walk up to random people and say “WHAT YEAR IS THIS?” and when they tell you, get quiet and then say “Then there’s still time!” and run off.

– Stand in front of a statue (any statue, really), fall to your knees, and yell “NOOOOOOOOO”

– Stare at newspaper headlines and look astonished.

– Take some trinket with you (it can be anything really), hand it to some stranger, along with a phone number and say “In thirty years dial this number. You’ll know what to do after that.” Then slip away.

3) The Past – This one is more for beginners. Basically dress in period clothing (preferably Victorian era) and stagger around amazed at everything. Since the culture’s set in place already, you have more of a template to work off of. Some pointers:

– Airplanes are terrifying. Also, carry on conversations with televisions for a while.

– Discover and become obsessed with one trivial aspect of technology, like automatic grocery doors. Stay there for hours playing with it.

– Be generally terrified of people who are dressed immodestly compared to your era. Tattoos and shorts on women are especially scary.

And that’s it. Remember, the only real rule is staying in character and try to fit in. Never directly admit you’re a time traveler, and make really, really bad attempts at keeping a low profile. Naturally, the dystopian future has a little more leeway. And for the record, I’ve already tried out all of these in real life, in costume. It is so much fun you want to pee yourself.

A Facebook event page is here.

I’m particularly fond of the idea of giving someone a phone number to call in 30 years. Given my tendency to truly commit to the bit, I’d be forced to keep the same number for 30 years, leaving strict instructions in my will if necessary…and wait.

If you’re a fan of this blog there’s an excellent chance you’ve already got appropriate attire hanging around in your closet (a Victorian ensemble, or maybe something that looks like castoffs from some horrible dystopian future). If not, there’s plenty of time to put together an “overshot the current fashions by a couple decades” outfit at your local thrift store; for best results, mix the periods and wear, say, saddle shoes and bell-bottoms.

You can be a lone time-traveler or get together a group of friends to be temporal tourists and clumsily try to blend in. Either way, get out there and make somebody’s day a little more surreal!

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 3 Comments »

3 Responses

  1. Pixel Pixie Says:

    Sounds like fun! It would be terribly funny to point at things like those automatic grocery store doors with a sonic screwdriver and then exclaim “Brilliant!” when they open.

  2. pensive Says:

    i really have nothing to add, except that this is awesome.

  3. xJane Says:

    Luckily, 8 December is a Saturday! Muahaha.

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