Thursday, April 05, 2007

Reasons Not To Time Travel

I love time travel stories. And time travel movies. (Just finished watching The Time Machine with Guy Pearce; he's nummy but the traveling 800,000 years into the future? Not for me.) If time travel existed and I had to name my time period in two seconds or lose my ticket to ride, it'd be easy. Send me to the 18th Century. Paris, please. Probably mid-century, around 1750. Why then and there? Well, my answer should be the history, the people and the marvelous times, but the truth is, it's because of the clothes.

I love me a big skirt held out with wire cages beneath, and so wide one can't fit through a doorway unless they turn sideways. Garnish it with lace and ribbons and diamonds and pearls and pretty little shoes, and I'm in heaven. I'll take one of those towering wigs with birds and ribbons and curls, too. Did anyone see the gorgeous shoes they showed in Marie Antoinette? Heaven!
And the men? Give me a man in a frockcoat with wide cuffs and lace spilling over his hands, and I am in love. Knee breeches and prissy shoes with red heels? Oh yeah. And a wig! And face powder, and a saucy little black heart patch on his right cheek. I'm swooning right now.

But lately I've been asking myself (yes, I do discuss this sort of thing with myself) if I really would do it, if given opportunity. Could this modern-day woman who believes it counts as a homemade meal if you combine two or more box mixes together really survive in a time that didn't know what microwaves and mp3 files were? Sigh...
Here a few good reason NOT to time travel:

--Yes, those costumes are pretty. But washing machines didn't exist way back when. You either scrubbed those clothes by hand or wore them endlessly, until they could walk themselves. (And don't forget the colony of critters that take up residence in the seams.)

--Lack of dentists. I have yet to go to the dentist and not have her suggest a filling, crown, or a completely new set of teeth. Do I think I could survive a toothache, and possible 'let's tug that beauty out with an iron tweezers' extraction?

--Lack of medical care. Need brain surgery? Trepanning, anybody? And don't even get me started on natural childbirth.

--Lack of sanitation. No, there were no toilets in my time period. Toilet paper truly is one of the greatest inventions ever. Do you want to leave without packing the large economy pack? I don't think so.

--Lack of birth control. Sure, it existed, in goopy, foul smelling mixtures made from cow dung and other unsavory gunk. You think you're going back to find yourself a handsome rogue? Well, what are you going to do with him once you find him? That's what I'd do! But sheep's intestine condoms don't do it for me either.

--Women's Rights? Ha! Do we really want to live in a time that did not view woman as equals alongside men?

--Eyeglasses. They were just being created during my time period, but if you've plans to go further back, forget about it. What's so important about glasses? Well, there are millions walking around today who need them. I have to assume there were millions back then, as well. Half-blind idiots driving carriages through streets without stoplights? I think you get where I'm going with this one.

--Complete lack of electronic devices. I know. We're spoiled. And a perfect, peaceful life can be led in our time without the luxury of these treats. But to imagine not being able to listen to music on demand, or to view the news that's happening across the world? What about the telephone that makes it easy to check on your children living three states away? And appliances!

--Lastly, running water. Again, at the end of the 18th century, some houses were beginning to install indoor plumbing. What a joy! If you were rich. What I would miss most of all if I left the comforts of my time, is a nice hot bath overflowing with fragrant bubbles, and the exquisite time spent mindlessly soaking. Ah... Come here, rubber ducky.

So that's just a few of my concerns. Let's hear some more reasons not to venture backward.



Debra Dixon said...

LOL! You've pretty much covered all my objections, Michele!

I think there would be more takers for time travel if it came with a guaranteed day pass.

It's the lack of reliable transportation for returning from a time travel that is the problem for me. (g)

Michele said...

Ah, a day pass. Now that's a deal I probably could live with. Sort of like Disney, except the lines to the ride probably aren't as long.

JoAnna said...

I would miss my daily shower, the ability to bathe if I felt the need, and you are right I would miss toilet paper too much to go back more than one day:)

Cindy Gerard said...

Don't forget post-it notes. Life is not worth living without them and I'm pretty sure they weren't around in the 18th century. And Lean Cuisines. Gotta have 'em. :o)

Christie Ridgway said...

Michele: My mind is blanking on the titles, but remember those public television series showing people living lives like the Victorians and the pioneers, etc.? I loved watching those, but I was so, so happy that I wasn't doing laundry their way or having to make my own soap!

As a little girl, I used to fantasize about being on a wagon train going west, but that was before I had to think about making meals or keeping anything clean. I hate to camp, so I'm not cut out for that kind of primitive life!

MsHellion said...

You've covered my objections--plus the fact I'd be a Colonial, so I wouldn't be all that popular...or I'd most likely get mistaken for a servant, not the cool Lady of the Manor who actually has all the nice clothes!

Plus their idea of rock and roll was Mozart? What would they say when they heard me humming Metallica--I tell you what they'd say: Burn the witch, and that'd be the very short trip I took back in time.

Oh, other concern: STDs. Bad today; but geez, they were bad then too!

Candace said...

No antibiotics. No decongestants. No aspirin. Nuff said!

Michele said...

mshellion - I'm with you on Metallica. I figure I"d be branded a witch, too, and there you go. Short trip. (Can you imagine if they saw my tattoo? It's a faery.)
Though, I could rock out to Mozart. Rock me, Amadeus.. :-)

And the castratos! They were the 18th century rock stars. Love 'em.

lois greiman said...

Doritos!! Think about without junk food. I shudder to think.

Betina Krahn said...

Yeah, telephones. Instant communication. I never thought I'd be an electronics junkie, but here I am. . . can't go a day without e-mail and blogs and internet. . .

Or is that because I don't have a water cooler or break-room table to gather around with co-workers?

Also. . . unless I was a rich lady with somebody to do chamberpots and take care of the ugh of life, I'd hate it. And I'm not going to mention the more problematic "feminine needs" of life. No aspirin? No Midol? No Cottonelle Wipes? No showers? Ack-- no flouride toothpaste? I'm kindof compulsive about tooth hygiene! And I can't stand to see brown or decaying teeth!

No thanks. I'll stay right here, thanks.

Now, springing FORWARD. . . that might be a trip I'd love! A hundred years into the future? I'd love to have a peek at that!