Upon my release from the hospital, my friend Mr. Robot suggested dancing as a means of rejuvenating my spirit. The glaring white lights and dull concrete blocks of the 21st century medical establishment had proven incredibly disappointing. Dancing may seem a strange occupation for a lady who finds herself confined to a chair, but I must say there is a great deal of pleasure to be gleaned from the practice of “popping wheelies.” Besides, I am an intrepid explorer when it comes to all things futuristic. Dancing is such a popular pastime back home that I could not help but wonder how it had changed during the intervening years.
The venue to which my friend escorted me at first appeared deserted save for a scantily clad gray haired man and his two twin sons. The man, the proprietor of the establishment, spun tunes upon a system similar to those seen back in the Steamlands, just without an excess of steam. We danced on a raised wooden floor beside a sandy beach while white cabana drapes wafted in the salty breeze. The proprietor hosted a costume contest that promised a reward to the patron in possession of the finest set of angel wings. Accordingly, guests began to show up clad in extravagant white wings and little else. I wonder why the 21st century weather is so warm. In any case, one thing that I have noticed about it is that no matter where one finds oneself, from a hospital to a beach to a private residence, one rarely requires more than one layer of impossibly thin clothing.
Before long, I noticed that the beachfront dancing establishment lacked females. The men all danced together amiably enough, many of them even openly extending romantic overtures to one another. Mr. Robot, it seemed, had decided that I needed another taste of 21st century culture. The club was a “gay club,” he informed me when I asked why everyone seemed to be some sort of sexual deviant. Apparently, that particular community has made great strides over the years. Men like the proprietor of the club raise children instead of eyebrows. Obviously, we Caledonians are no strangers to the notion of people preferring the intimate company of those of their own sex. Many upstanding, prominent Caledonian citizens openly avow their preference. As with most things that differ between my society and that of Mr. Robot, the difference is in the degree. In Caledon, dances are primarily social occasions. We meet and mingle with our neighbors. Courtships certainly occur. We even tease up and coming couples a bit, but by and large, courting is a private matter. In Mr. Robot’s world, it would seem that the primary function of a dance is not to meet and mingle with neighbors, but to meet and woo potential partners. The men who surrounded me seemed polite enough, but their attire, their movements, and their (limited) conversation rendered their main objective embarrassingly obvious. I ached for the simple social pleasures of Caledon and the rest of the Steamlands. By contrast to the most casual possible evening at one of Mr. Robot’s usual venues, even the gaudiest, raunchiest burlesque performance from home seems delightfully innocent and refined.
I think I expressed these thoughts to my kind escort when I offered to show him my home for a change. He promptly produced a wrist-strap for myself and off we went! Back at my estate, it was my turn to play the host. It was my turn to introduce Mr. Robot to a completely foreign world.
Your Exhausted Time Traveler,
–Miss Palabra Puddlegum–