Updates for Sunday, September 14th [2003]

A Brave New World

9/14/2003

MY DEAR AND DESCENDANT FRIENDS,

Yes, I have been keeping notes of my recent progress, and decided to write them to my journal for further record.

The daytime of the 9th I awoke, and I decided that I'd use the opportunity to walk amongst the people and explore this futuristic land on my own. I had stayed indoors most of the time since Daniel brought me here, figuring it may be a bad idea to go anywhere. It looks like I am here for quite the stay, and I readily suppose that it is above all things desirable to drag myself from those under whose wing I'm now sheltered, and look around outside on my own without Daniel. This is when the problems began.

I noticed that the walkways and streets are layered in a fine black cobblestone composite, it was pretty amazing to see everything around. I saw what appeared to be some kind of market or place of commerce across the street near the corner crossings, where horseless carriages seemed to congregate. Unfamiliar with the customs of walking, I strode into the street where a rather large vehicle nearly struck me down, as I ran to safety I stumbled and fell on my face, losing my only wig in the confusion. The driver of the carriage cursed profanities at me, saying something along the lines of "Get out of the way of God's Damned and stop standing in the street you mother of fucks!"

After the encident I hurried my way back as quickly as possible to my home with Daniel, afraid of the wreckless nature of the roadways. I spent the remainder of the day reading some more history novels. "Look both ways and cross at corners." Daniel advised me when he got home. I am also supposed to heed a watch signal, but I have seen no such signalman, but when his red palm is up I should not walk.

It was this night, in reviewing more books of history, that I discovered that Men had walked on the surface of the Moon. I would like to know the invention used to keep his feet stationed on the surface of the sphere without causing his fall back to the Earth. Knowing now, from the book I read, that the moon is indeed a large rock I theorize that meteoric materials fall from the moon. In my day I was skeptical that meteoric material could fall from the sky, especially during the daytime where there certaintly was no moon, but in reviewing some information in these books of Daniel's, which he said he borrowed for me from a Great library a short jog down the road, I am questioning many of the scientific premises I had previously established. I must visit this great library sometime. As soon as I understand more of the customs. Daniel guarenteed to me that he would explain more of the customs the day thereafter. I decided to get some rest for the next day of lessons of custom.

For the 10th, I recorded the following notes regarding today's lesson in customs:

1. Do not refer to black men or women as "negroes". I am told this is seriously socially unacceptable, and that many places of employment will discharge me if I use such terminology. He added, "Except WinCo, they don't give a shit what you do, trust me, I used to work there."

2. Cross at street corners with others.

3. It is not necessary to carry scales, drawing instruments, a thermometer, a surveying compass, a level, and a globe, all of which I had on my person on the day of my travel through time; Daniel remarked that I was a "travelling calculator", then handed me a modern calculator, which I was told ran on the power of the sun. Amazing! He said such calculators were cheap. I will be sure to keep this one for future measurements.

4. Do not wear my normal clothes, as it draws too much attention. Daniel set aside some of his old clothes, and we spent an hour collecting a small wardrobe to make me look more presentable to the people of this time. I like how simpler the clothing styles are, but I am thoroughly confused as to the nature of the words written on the body of some of these shirts. , and all particularly confused me.

5. I will have an allowance of 50 dollars every week to get about town. He says he can afford this pension but only so long as he has his job. I will need my own employment to sustain myself after that. He tells me this is coming in about three weeks or so, depending on some of the final provisions of his department.

6. I will need to learn how to use the bus systems. He says it is very simple. A large horseless carriage will arrive at predestined stops, where I can embark and travel great distances swiftly, for a travelling fare. I understood this much. Further advice he offered was "Don't give the bums money. They will beg you for some but if you give them so much as a penny and they'll never shut up and beg you for every cent you have, you'll NEVER hear the end of it. They stink too. Oh, and always sit in the front of the bus, you'll be less likely to be bothered." I must spend the better part of this week learning the route of the one bus that runs up this street and learning my way about the local region.

7. Outposts called Safeway are large markets of foods and goods. I am desirous to visit this new place, to meet the many traders. He said it is a short venture down the street, and as my condition of staying here with him and accepting his allowance, I must make trips to trade for goods for him, to pick up his favorite alcohol and dinners. This new errand should allow me to learn much of the way people live in these days & give me cause to explore the land more.

8. He said I should act like a "stupid foreigner", in case people failed to understand my noticeably odd behavior. I asked what country I should claim to emigrate from but he said he wasn't good with geography.

9. And absolutely, do not, under any circumstances, reveal that I am the Thomas Jefferson of history. Daniel says it is wise to keep a low public image therefore people do not get suspicious. While I question that we should hide forever - I desire to return home someday - I think for now this may be a good idea.

Thus concluded my notes for the evening. We summarized the routine at 5pm and he went to play a game of some sort in his room. While I made dinner I went to the living quarters to recreate with some of the history books I had been reading, when a knock on the door startled me. I went to answer it and it was woman asking for the Wife of the household. I wasn't aware that any had lived there, but I did ask what the occassion was, and courtesously invited her in. She discussed with me many fine techniques to keep the body healthy, and she said that my skin could be moisturized with a new formula, and applied some of this cool, clear fluid to my hand. I attest to the fine quality of this product. Daniel came downstairs for some of his "Cooleid" sugar water, and was unusually upset by the visitor, ushering her out the door. I was confused, as I usually am.

After another night's rest I awoke the morning of the 11th ready to start exploring the city but Daniel made mention of something before I left. He said it was a day of national tragedy, and as I will, I enquired to learn more. According to his story, as fantastic as it was, two towers that stood taller than most ever built by men of this Time, were knocked down by hijacked avian machines which had hundreds of passengers in a devestating suicide attack. He said 3,000 people died over the course of the day. He turned on the TeeVee, which I had previously not paid much attention to, and it showed horrific images from what he said was two years ago to this day. It was at this time that I really wondered about whether the age of Wonder I was in was in fact wonderful, or terrible. I had never heard of 3,000 people in a single day being killed. The armed forces of the colonial States only lost 4,500 men in combat through all it's years of Revolution. This single encident almost matched this. I am a man not of these times so I failed to understand the cause of this attack, it does not seem to be a precursor to invasion but instead was a suicidal attack by a small group of foreigners who simply disliked America. I couldn't help but think that the British never did anything so dastardly, even when they burned the President's House to the ground.

On that somber note, I walked two and one quarter mile to the East down the main road on my first errand for Daniel, to use some money he gave me to purchase some "Pepsi soda", a quart of milk, and more Kraft Macaroni (since I had eaten most of his current savings from his kitchen pantry). I had seen some of these products and he showed me their empty containers to remind me what they were before giving me enough money, 9 dollars, to purchase the afforementioned goods. As I walked I noticed George Washington's portrait on the bill for one dollar. To be able to print money to paper bills was one of the reasons many people supported the formation of an independent state, against many other grievances against the British, so I was interested to see who else was on these bills. On the five dollar bill the man, Lincoln, who Daniel had mentioned to me before was on there. Both men were presidents. I wondered... is my portrait on one of these bills? I didn't see it on the ones I had. I reserved the question for a later time as I entered the market Safeway.

I had imagined that this placed would be much different. There were not many vendors, only one, and they trailed in many lines where the final purchases were made. I browsed the aisles to see many products that fascinated me, but more that confused me. Most were foods, and the large deli displays and "produce section" had some of the best foods, so much my 9 dollars could buy, but I knew I couldn't spend Daniel's money on anything other than what he wanted me to purchase, he strictly forbade it. I wandered the store for two hours simply viewing goods, when a very helpful young man approached me.

Man: "Can I help you sir? Are you finding what you need?"

Me: "Why yes, I am simply viewing the miraculous amount of goods in this wonderful market."

Man: "Uhhh... okay. Be sure to remember that today we have a sale on hamburger, 30% off."

Me: "Thank you kind sir! I am unsure what you are referring to, but I could use one bit of help. I am searching for the ingredients and foods on this list. Are you a trader here? Could I purchase some of these splendid goods from you?"

Man: "Gee sir, well, the dairy aisle is over on that end, the macaroni and cheese is across the aisle from the ravioli in aisle 9, and the soda is down that way. Be sure to ask if you need any help. Do you need a cart?"

Me: "What kind of cart do you refer to?"

Man: "You know... a shopping cart, sir."

Me: "Forgive me, you see, for I am merely a stupid foreigner, from... uhm... France! And I do not understand this 'shopping cart' thing you speak of."

Man: "They don't have carts in France? Wow. My ex-fiance went there once for the summer and she never came back, but she always told me that they were way crazy over there. I can't believe you guys do your shopping without shopping carts. Let me go get you one."

Me: "Merci beaucoups!"

The metal "shopping" cart made my trip home much easier, although Daniel reprimanded me for bringing the cart home with me. I was supposed to leave it at the market. He also reprimanded me for taking a total of 5 hours to journey to the market, explore, and return. He said the trip should not take any longer than 2 hours, especially if I take the bus. I noticed that timekeeping is much more precise these days. My old clocks ran extremely well but it seems that clocks do not need a pendulum to time themselves anymore, and that they are extremely small and accurate. I would like to get a small watch to keep track of time better. But we will see about that.

Thus ended the 11th. With the 12th came my first venture out for looking for a job. I went to the station nearby for the horseless carriages, a "Gas" station, and enquired about work, if there was a task I could be set to. The man handed me a form and asked me to fill it out and return it to him. I did not understand, I wanted to work, not fill out a form. But then I went to some nearby places and got some more application forms for work, to realize that consenting to work is not as easy as I thought it would be. I returned home with these applications and waited for Daniel to get off of work, since I did not understand the information they required.

Thus concluded my adventures for the last few days, I will report back again soon. Daniel will "upload" this with my belongings once again since I am unfamiliar with the process.

With affectionate friendship and respect,

- Thomas Jefferson

Editor's Notes:

None Available


Bringing Old American Truth to confront the New American Myth

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