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01 September 2011

(To) When Do You Retire? You are a time-traveler, capable of visiting any period in the past...[More:]

When would you retire to? What would you do?
Me, I'd be a famous vaudevillian, then awkwardly make the transition to silent movies before disappearing for awhile only to make an unexpected comeback in the talkies. I could conceivably do all of these in the space of a month or two, though. Because, you know, time machine.

You're free to come up with whatever scenario you want. Don't agonize too much or sweat the details (like what life would be like for a half-black vaudevillian). Come up with something creative and interesting for yourself! Once you get the "Let's kill Hitler" or "Meet Jesus" out of the way, I think when you'd go to reveals something about yourself to us. =)
posted by Eideteker 01 September | 10:27
Medieval Europe of course. I'm like Miniver Cheevy.
posted by Firas 01 September | 10:40
The only reason I've got to time travel is to see live music that I missed. Thing is,'s always a toss up.

I suspect I'd wanna go back to 1964 England - to see those early shows by The High Numbers (who morphed into The Who soon after). Of course I'd not stop there,, to see some of that era? Wowie.

I'd then be a creep(ier?) old dude checking out some of the first Clash shows too, come 1977. Hopefully in my retirement I'd saved enough to let me cross the ocean to catch some early E-Street Band shows too.

So, yeah, live music would be my motivator.
posted by richat 01 September | 11:02
I've always said I'd want to see the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. So if I actually had the kind of time retiring implies, what I'd love to do is travel with the Wild West Show and report for newspapers about it, or maybe write a book.
posted by Miko 01 September | 11:33
1559, shortly after QE1 takes the throne. I'd want to be upper class, but not necessarily nobility. I'd probably pass myself off as a widow without family, because I'd have autonomy without a husband or other male family members.

If not then, I'd go for the early 1900s. I would go to Arizona and become a friend to my mother's father's mother with whom I share a middle name. We don't know much about her. She died at 36 years old while my grandfather was still a little kid and her widower (my great-grandfather) was an asshole who deliberately neglected to tell his kids much about their mother.
posted by deborah 01 September | 14:34
What makes this tough is that I'm a woman and there are appealing periods in history which would be a lot less fun to be a woman in. (And I'm Jewish, another complication.)

But off the top of my head, Italy during the Renaissance.
posted by bearwife 01 September | 16:12
This is tough for me because the dawn of the 20th century ushered in a global revolution in hygiene, not just in general but medical and food handling. History does an excellent job of preserving our knowledge of the lifestyles of the fabulously wealthy, but what we know now of those of the middling classes and below is little better than an educated hunch. Frankly, I doubt I could survive another era even if I were healthy.

Weimar Berlin, definitely. Nudists by day, cross-dressers by night--and philosophical about the dichotomy to boot!
posted by Ardiril 01 September | 16:26
and there are appealing periods in history which would be a lot less fun to be a woman in.

This is usually my go-to point in discussing history, that I would a thousand times rather live today than live at any time in history for basically the reason that now is by far the best time to be female (let alone, dentistry, antibiotics etc). But I thought Eideteker took pains to say "set aside all the realistic concerns" by referring to life for a half-black vaudevillian. So I gave my answer assuming that I could travel there unscathed by repressive mores.
posted by Miko 01 September | 21:10
Miko gets an A for reading comprehension. ;)
posted by Eideteker 02 September | 00:25
But not an A+ because she's an apple-polisher.
posted by Eideteker 02 September | 00:26
The dawn of humanity of Western Europe (Southern Spain). I would like to have started a PETON (People for the Ethical Treatment of Neanderthals) chapter.

Of course I would have a buttload of dental floss hidden away. . .
posted by danf 02 September | 08:53
(moved this from front page for Macduff) I would have loved to have been in the audience the night the deaf Beethoven conducted his ninth symphony. To hear the greatest symphony ever written by a man unable to listen to one of his glorious notes as he leads the orchestra and chorus and then watch him receive the thunderous ovation would be quite amazing.

Since I am a former New Yorker I also would want to see Manhattan and the Hudson River before Europeans settled on the island. In the summertime, the area must have been a Paradise. I read that one could not see the sky in the morning because the bay was so filled with birds from the Bayonne marshes. The Hudson valley is still one of the most beautiful in the world. I can only imagine how pristine it was 500 years ago before the animals, birds, and land was changed or ravaged by Colonists and modernity. And New York still is breathtaking!
posted by arse_hat 02 September | 12:02
1960s Haight Ashbury. I was just a kid in the 60s. I really want to experience that scene.
posted by Splunge 02 September | 16:51
I would want to go TWO WHOLE YEARS into the past. To the summer of 2009.

I would want to be the bearded fat dude in The Wedding Dance video.
posted by jason's_planet 02 September | 23:38
I'm way too much into gay rights and modern hygiene and the Internet to really want to go back in time for any extended period. My nightmare is being forced to go back to 1982 and have to travel forward at a normal speed knowing what I know. Then again, Apple and Microsoft stock all the way.

I would love to go see the first showing of Star Wars in 1977, though.
posted by gc 03 September | 13:31
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