Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bedtime Stories for the ADD: 20th Century Nostalgia

It was a big coop. You heard me right. They kept calling it a coop.

The last 20th century person in existence would visit the Ancient Past Ranch. One of ‘em, anyway. I’m not big on nostalgia, but they were paid enough to live comfortably for a few years so I agreed.

Good thing I learned negotiation.

I woke up that morning to a knock on my door. “What the—” I remember a few choice swears.

No one knocks on doors these days. I threw on a robe and grumbled to the door.

I pressed the button and it slid open. “What?”

A shiny man in flared denim pants and a lycra shirt smiled wide and handed me a box. “We’d like you to wear these, if you don’t mind,” I could see him churn for the right honorific. He wanted to use the traditional, but I guess he’d been briefed.

“We’ll see,” I took the box from him and closed the door.

About two hours later, I emerged from my home as an object for proper ridicule. Bright red pants and a t-shirt at least one size too big with holes worn through it.

I still wore the modern essentials underneath. A fetish for antiquery isn’t a good reason to be uncomfortable.

The shiny man tried to shake my hand and introduced himself as Randall. I suspect he thought that name was common in the 20th.

“Hi, Randall. Mind if I call you Randy?” I shouldn’t have. I really shouldn’t.

His face brightened. “Really? That would be grand.”

I cursed myself. “Well, Randy, let’s get going.”

“Radical. Now, I know we should be driving all the way and making a road trip of this, but the foundation thinks that’s a liiiittle overboard, so we’re going to take the PubTrans 99% of the way there and a Model T will pick us up for the last kilometer.”

I followed him to the tube. The HUD kept me busy and entertained for the fifteen minutes the journey took. Randy looked a trifle annoyed that I was using it, but, well, screw him.

When we got to the car park, a woman wearing an ancient mens suit with pinstriped pants and a top hat ushered us into the T.

“How soon will we get there?” I asked.

“The original Model T had a top speed of about 72 km/h. This one’s been updated a bit.”

Randy frowned.

“Sorry if that offends you,” she directed the apology to me.

“Not at all.”

I found her quite stunning despite the apologies. The woman, not the Model T.

She seemed to like me too. The minute-long trip wasn’t nearly long enough.

We drove straight into the park through a crowd and up to a stage. I held my breath for a moment and leaped out of the car, hands held high. I grinned like the moron I was.

“The last 20th centurion!” a voice announced. “Resurrected from the past to complete the Midatlantic Antiquarian Ranch!”

The crowd went wild.

I skipped onto the stage and made a speech. It was full of vague profundities which amounted to nothing content-wise. Every one but me had a fancy time of it.

Finally, the speeches ended and I took a bathroom break. With the driver.

I’ll be honest. It wasn’t a bathroom break.

After a few glorious minutes, I walked out.

A tour guide spoke to a rather large group, “And that’s what is called a connect-up!” The guide pointed at me.

I hate nostalgia.


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