If you could step into a time machine with a wad of cash ...

that you’d take with you to live for a decade in a place of your choosing, just basically kinda lurking in the shadows and quietly observing things, where would you like to go and why?

I think the American southwest from '42 thru '52 would be cool. In my mind it would pretty neat during the time that UFOs began to come on the scene. Plus it seems like a more innocent time in some ways … with the kind of Happy Day’s music and roadside diners thriving and all.

To go too far into the past, one would need to be mindful that simple things like teeth repair would be rather uncomfortable.

Anyway, I think it would be a gas be able to do that
… riding around in a covertible with big fins and seeing how people lived during the days of black and white TVs and Elvis and Stevie Wonder cranking out the hits. So cool.

Either Paris in the 1920’s or San Francisco in the 1950’s. Very interesting and lively scenes.

Of course, during the first 4 years you’d be contending with the fact that WWII was going on. If you weren’t actually in the armed forces, you’d be dealing with rationing. Very unlikely you’d have had a convertible of any kind; even if you did, you’d be fortunate to be allowed enough gas to do much aimless riding around.

FWIW, many families didn’t have a TV of any kind until into the '50s. I know for my family, a trip to a diner was a rare treat. My parents said they knew the war was over for sure when they could go out and buy me a tricycle made of actual metal. Before then, metal was needed for weapons and tanks, and not for trivialities like children’s toys.

Oh, yeah, and tooth repair was not that comfortable then, either. None of this sissy anaethetic for a mere filling – which took, incidently, considerably more time than it does now, high-speed drills not being invented yet. And you didn’t usually go to the dentist until it was really, really necessary, since dental insurance hadn’t been invented yet, either.

Better check your time line. Elvis, having been born in 1935, was seven years old in 1942. And Steveland Morris (aka Stevie Wonder) was not born until 1950.

As for me, I wouldn’t go back to that time period for any amount of money. Been there, done that. I much prefer the medical care of today.

I’d try Silicon Valley in the early sixties or late fifties. Get in on the ground floor of the microelectronics revolution. Plus, I’d get to see the birth of the Net and the birth of a lot of good counter- and eco-culture.

Other than that…

LA/San Diego in the 1[ul]
[/ul] 920s, at the height of the Pacific Electric, before the Depression, the traffic jams, and the smog.

Just out of sheer curiosity (if I could speak the language, and had the appropriate clothes, money, etc):

Cathari France. Just what did the Roman Catholic Church wipe out in the Albigensian crusade?

The middle east during the high days of the Caliphate, around the 1100s or 1300s. Likewise, Muslim Spain. Both during the tolerant period before they fell apart.

I’d go back to 1995, get a job at a dot com place, invest in oil futures, sit back, and wait.

I’m not sure what your requirement that we “lurk in the shadows” and “observe” mean, so I’m not sure if I would even be able to do this under those rules, but…

I would go back the the decade starting when my son was 5 years old, because we were so so poor because of my illness and subsequent recovery, and he so deserved a better childhood than the one he got. If a wad of cash was injected into it, so many things would have not happened that affected his life negatively.

I’d shoot for the 2010s. Get me a sports almanac, a couple of Wall Street Journals, and step back to today. :smiley:

Of course, one would have to make sure that the wad of cash was accurate to whatever era one was traveling to…

I’d head back to Sweden in 950 AD, buy myself a nice, big axe, and set sail for the Northern shore England.

Nineteen seventy two.

That’s a nice one, Marty. Personally, though, I would go for the 80s, but first I would loud some major video archiving equipment into the trunk of my car. I want to get to worship my true god, the 8os. I can only do so by means of living through it, buying every toy, every brand of cereal, and recording all the shows. Three of everything. One to play around with, one to store, and one to keep in my secret underground lair. :slight_smile:

:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

'Course, if there was no limit on the trips (um… no pun intended there) one could take during the decade, there’s a LOT of good music to hear.

Either way, I’d take my father’s advice. He told this to me when I was old enough to understand time travel, but young enough to believe that it might be invented someday. He said, with a straight, look-you-in-the-eyes, taking-you-seriously voice, “son, if you ever travel back through time, there’s only one thing I want you to get–land.” I took him seriously, and in some small way of imagination, I still do.

1920s Paris. I would stalk composers and artists.

I’d go back to 1979 London and invest every penny in CATS.

1985 - Microsoft

It’s not as simple as it used to be before they changed the damn currency.

How many of these can you get your hands on?

What did my great great great great great…great great great Granddad ever do to you??? :wink:

For myself I would probably take a look at the Wild West, just to see how wrong the movies got it.

The Renaissance.

I’d become good buddies with Leonardo DaVinci, and then you’d all be familiar with one of his more famous works, the “Mona Stasia”.

Toss up between 1880’s London, get all Sherlock Holmes like and see what to do about this Jack fellow Ripping up women.

Or 1805 to be on the HMS Victory and see Lord Nelson in action (before the mortal wounding) at the battle of Trafalgar.

500 years into the future. A bit of a risk, sure, but no more than going back to a decade when polio, dysentery, and diphtheria were common and streptomycin and pennicillin weren’t. I’d sell the crisp new ancient vintage bills (which I thoughtfully bought new and had vacuum-packed before I left) for a fortune (another risk: what if antique currency ain’t valuable no more?) and enjoy the cool things there are to buy half a millenium hence. If I’m allowed to come back (not clear in the OP), provided I want to do so, I’d have to make sure the items would be utile now or be producible now (in which case I’d promptly invent them).

If all this speculating isn’t allowed, and I just get one short trip into the past with a pocketful of cash, well, I’d do my best to get old bills and get as close as I could to the Algonquin Round Table, for as long as I could.