Strange boredom habit.

Sometimes, usually on long car journeys, I imagine I am someone who has just been transported from the past, and pretend all the things I see are cool new futuristic things. It’s a cool trick because it can quickly lead to me no longer taking things for granted. I actually do marvel at things.
I also do at least two other similar things. When watching LotR I try to imagine that Tolkien has been brought to life and is watching, I wonder what he thinks. I also try to imagine that George Lucas of 25 years ago is watching Star wars I or II and I wonder what he thinks too.

I bring this up because I was thinking about my cordless keyboard. I was wondering what the me of 10 years ago would think.
Yeah I know it’s sad.


I do this all of the time! It is kind of cool to really walk around and realize “Y’know what? I am living in the 21’st centuary. People have wondered what the heck this era would be like. What would their reaction be?”

As a slight aside, didja know that Max Headroom took place during the year 2004?

I am glad I’m not alone.
Sometimes I imagine what our future will be like. But then I remind myself that when I am in it, I will probably take it for granted and won’t be awestruck.

Butbut, It’s nice to know that occasionally I will probably ‘pretend’ I am the me of today suddenly transported there.

Gawd I remember being fascinated by the idea of more than 256 colours on a computer screen! And the idea of seeing photos on it!

I imagine that I’m driving or flying with Ben Franklin. His reactions are always much more interesting than mine.

I sometimes imagine that I’m back in the 1800’s and have to try to explain to someone how life is today. How would you explain computers, rap music, reality shows, what teenagers are like today… kinda trippy.

Me too. Except not the 1800’s – too recent. I normally imagine a great thinker from ancient times, like Aristotle. The more ignorant, but receptive to ideas, the better. And I don’t imagine myself talking about modern technology and life as much as ideas – modern physics, biology, evolution, astronomy, etc. I like the challenge of figuring out how to explain such concepts in simplistic terms.

Boring, I know.

No, it has to be more recent for me. The 1800’s is the farthest back I will go (with an exception for the founding fathers) because it is then that people actively wondered what the year 2000 and beyond would be like.

I do this pretty much every time I get on a plane. It makes take-off and landing more interesting. Back in the 1800s people thought the highest anyone would ever go would be on top of a house. It’s fun to imagine someone from that era staring out the window with terrified awe as we rapidly leave the ground behind and go above the clouds. It gives you a whole new appreciation of the advent of mechanical flight.

Sometimes I imagine that everyone around me is a chimpanzee. It puts things in a different perspective. I try to see which human behaviors would look natural in a chimpanzee and which seem uniquely human. Most seem to fall into the former category.

More to the point of the thread, sometimes I also imagine what a caveman would think of modern society. It reminds me how lucky I am to have instant running water (and hot water). I also think it’s amazing humans lived so long without antibiotics and dentistry and other important aspects of modern medicine. Did people used to have bad teeth, or did their diet somehow not lead to tooth decay?

I sometimes imagine explainig things to a Viking who has been transported to the modern day. I have no idea why I picked on a Viking. Once in a while I imagine being transported into the future and getting to explain our stuff to historians and archeologists. That’s understandable, since it’s been done repeatedly in science fiction.

But a Viking?

Heh… this is one of my favorite ‘hobbies’, if it can be considered one.

I don’t really have a specific target, like Ben Franklin or A Caveman, as much as I just try to pick someone COMPLETELY unaware of… er… whatever it is I’m thinking about.

Sometimes it’s a caveman, or an indian, or just some guy from medieval times, or perhaps even an alien.

The point is just to really sit back and totally examine the concept, from the point of view of someone who really had no idea what you’re talking about.

Usually, I guess I’m sort of a tour guide:

"On your left you will see A Bathroom Sink. This man-made device consists of pipes which bring fresh clean drinkable water into my house, and takes the waste water right back out. Pretty nifty, huh? Now, to your right, the Toilet… "

As a slight aside, didja know that Max Headroom took place during the year 2004?

Actually, I thought each “Max Headroom” episode began by stating it took place “20 minutes into the future”.

and Lobsang
If computer screen colors are what you like - try this:

For some reason I’m always dragging Abe Lincoln around to show the sights. He likes elevators especially. :slight_smile:

There was a great essay by Azimov that included this subject. The premise was something like this: Humans without antibiotics, dentistry and surgery often died young. If you lived to be 50 you were of pretty strong stuff. A really elderly person was rare. An elderly woman was extraordinarily rare. An elderly person probably had few teeth left, causing the mouth area to contract inward. A man’s facial hair would hide this to some extent, but an old woman looked somewhat grotesque. If, in addition, she was living alone (childless, perhaps, which helped her to live to be old), there you have the complete classical picture of a witch! Add to this that such an old woman probably did know a good deal about herbs, remedies and so on.

I think it’s safe to guess that although in former times people consumed far less sugar, they also had few remedies for dental problems other than extraction. Less effective dental hygeine, too. Probably little or no dental hygeine for the non-wealthy. Most cavities probably led eventually to a rotten tooth. Gingivitis ditto.

Think of anyone you know who has had an appendectomy. Much more than 200 years ago and that person is simple dead of excruciating peritonitis. Ditto for Caesarean births: mother, child and maybe both are dead. OTOH, long ago they were probably bothered much less by allergies, according to some theories.

Most of these things have no effect on the ability of the species to survive and prosper, however, since they generally don’t have much effect until after the individual has had sufficient time to propagate.

I used to (and still do) imagine that someone from the 1800’s has somehow been transpoted here and i am trying to explain to them what all these new things are. It’s pretty interesting. Forces you to look at the world from a different perspective.

The version I play on urban bus journeys is the Shakespeare game — I read the signs etc in shop windows and try to imagine what he would think they mean. I choose Shakespeare because he obviously has a large vocabulary to extrapolate from. For example I think he would get “Hairdresser” but “shampoo and set” or “blow dry” are more difficult, blow with what he muses, bellows? Then there are the electrical appliances let alone the computer shops…

Based on having read and reread the Little House books as a kid, I usually imagine it’s Laura Ingalls Wilder seeing our world. I think of her slow railroad journeys, very modest dress and fashion (bangs were called the “lunatic fringe” and curled with rods heated on the stove), deference to her parents, the very beginnings of practical applications of electricity, spending a penny on lemonade…and imagine her seeing airplanes, hootchie mama outfits regular girls wear, telephones, the excess of consumption of stuff…

Oh my goodness, I do the “explain modernity to someone from history” thing in my head also. My preference is to imagine I’m talking to Thomas Jefferson, and I’m asking him (a) are you proud that your experiment in governance turned out so well, and (b) knowing what it’s turned into are there any things you’d do differently.

I tend to a somewhat more technological angle, rather than sociological. Partly this is just to test myself: Can I explain the last two hundred years of scientific history, and the nature of various breakthroughs in theory and applied technology (radio, the transistor, the laser, rocketry, quantum physics, etc.), well enough that somebody with an 18th-century science background would follow the overall arc enough to understand how, say, the Hubble telescope works?

Actually, the Montgolfier brothers in France were achieving new heights via manned balloons in the 1790’s. So flight goes back further than 1903.

But I STILL can’t get over that whole take-off and go up thing - everytime I’m in an airplane or helicoptor and it starts going up it still seems magical on certain level.

I spent a lot of time as a kid wondering about the 21st century, seeing as how likely it was I would live to see it. Some pretty cool stuff, but certain other things - like terrorism - I kinda wish we had skipped.

On car trips, I like to imagine what the scenery around me looked like before modern human intervention. I will pretend I am back in the days of Lewis and Clarke and try to mentally picture how they may have seen things. It’s somewhat depressing.