All aboard. People I very much appreciate:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Archive and Return Of UFO

I had not seen UFO ("UFOs Like Riddles") since its visit over my garden gate in January and was surprised to find it buzzing the kitchen table. So I did what any right-minded Earthling would do, reached out and caught it between my thumb and forefinger.

"Bonsoir, Georges. Ça fait longtemps."

"Yes...but why are you speaking French?"

"Ah, das ist ein Stückchen des Rätsel!"

"Rätsel? Hmmm, now German for riddle...You have a riddle for me! What mischief are you up to now, U?"

"You-Eff-Oh, please, but permit me to interface with your primitive human computer and I'll show you."

"Proceed."

"Siehe da!"
"Et voilà!" I replied,"You have been in the Bas Rhin."

"Obviously, Geo., but remember clues come from within. Look closely."

"Very well," I said casually (because this Jarvis view is in my collection). "In this view of Kleber Place --judging by shadows, a sunny day-- in the late 1880s, Strasbourg was a German town (Strassburg). Twenty years earlier it was a French town and, twenty years later, would be again. Since the collapse and break-up of Charlemagne's empire, the Alsace-Lorraine has changed nationality many times."

"However?"

"There! There's something going on, in the distance beyond the fountain plume. I see him."
"Yes, and what is he doing?"
"He is bowing." 

"Hat on head, heels together --a bow-- how many cultures?"

"German and French, U, there was a common protocol to bows in the 1800s. According to its rules, the man is acquainted with one or both ladies approaching. They have made eye-contact, a signal of recognition inviting response. The ladies will acknowledge his profound bow with slighter inclinations of their own. The scene is far away and fuzzy but its genuine, unstaged bow affords a privileged glimpse of the moment --and voilà, siehe da and behold, it comes to life."

"Very good, Geo. But look around the bowing man. What do you see?"

"Well, the woman on the right seems to have some authority over the woman she guides with her arm. There is a large man in uniform purposefully approaching the man who has recognized at least one of the ladies."

"The man who bows, he's a time traveler, Geo."

"Then the lady on the left is..."

"Yes, that is Poppy, your temporal correspondent."

"And an arrest is about to be made!"

"That, I cannot ascertain. It is a probability I wanted to test through you. I left both area and era immediately and hid in a 1950s tinplate toy factory where the machinery snatched me and turned me out like this, enameled! Could you please take me outside and pitch me into outer space? I'll return soonest and help set this right."

"Of course."
"Thanks, any other questions?"

"Many, but just now I wonder why I got so few clicks and comments on my previous post."

"Élémentaire, mon pauvre Georges, there are days it seems nobody loves us."

"Oh go get an overhaul!"

"Schnellstmöglich!"

I went back indoors, thinking: If not sooner, I hope. 

 ***************************************************************** 
{Please excuse any inaccuracies in my recollection of You-Eff-Oh's utterances. I have it on good authority that only 4 people in the known universe (none of whom is me) understands the declension of German articles except Herr Thornock, my high school German teacher, who --unlike my English teacher, Willie-- has not followed up and checked my usage for 50 years.} --thanks Will!
  ****************************************************************
 

23 comments:

  1. It would be wonderful to travel from place to place and time to time as does You-Eff-Oh. And how nice that it makes contact with you every so often. A first-hand account is always better than trying to piece it together from an old stereoptican reproduction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would definitely be wonderful, Emma. And there is something about old photos capturing the light of other days that lights imagination too.

      Delete
  2. Are you - or U - sure that man had not simply lost his contact lens?

    Oh.

    1800s. Maybe not.

    You have a delightful imagination, Geo.! And old pictures are fascinating, I agree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He may have dropped anything at that distance, but I like to think he was a time traveler. Crowd-shots are indeed intriguing from any era.

      Delete
  3. Interesting Strasbourg photo. Surely some sort of optical illusion with the shadows combined with the curve of the lense but the buildings in the rear look like they're leaning to the sides.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure it is as you suggest, a quirk of astigmatic optics, but who knows what the building codes permitted at the time? Over centuries, many structures become parallelograms.

      Delete
    2. Maybe the constant redrawing of borders impacted their structural integrity.

      Or as Should Fish More points out, Alsatian wines are awfully good. Perhaps the photographer was a bit tipsy.

      Delete
    3. I love the tipsy photographer idea! Sadly, the accepted theory is less fun. Around 1890, stereographs went from egg-albumin to glossier gold and silver chloride emulsions and a curve in the mount minimized reflective glare for the viewer. Norma photoed the curved card with a digital camera, so we get architectural exaggerations. I'm just amazed at the detail those old lenses caught for a 2 1/2" x 3'" print.

      Delete
  4. I wanted to offer something about the wines of Alsace-Lorraine, being fond of them, but got instead occupied reciting 'neu, neuer, neues, neuen,...' etc.

    If I want to limit comments I just post something critical of religious loonies.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are particulars about Nominative, Accusative, Dative, Genitive cases that have always eluded me but what I fear most is waking up Neuter Genitive Singular and not remembering how I got that way.

      As to comments: something strange has been at work in Google and all comments after Emma's arrived at 7:33 pm, despite what their time-stamps say here.

      Delete
  5. I sure wish I had an English teacher named Willie. Mine was Miss Crabapple (or a reasonable facsimile).

    I was completely captivated with the Strassburg vignette until it was suggested that the bower might be arrested. I can only take comfort in the possibility that he wasn't bowing, but merely looking for a dropped contact lens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny-O and I are obviously on the same channel.......

      Delete
    2. Willie is indeed a great teacher and constant friend. The Miss Crabapples of the world are close to the persona Will channels, when he is outraged and vociferous about misusage, "Miss Thistlebottom". Your take on my archival photo is precisely what suggested a time-traveler to me. More enigmas, eh?

      Delete
  6. From a distance…what a sweet moment to capture! Can't you imagine all moments playing back, next to each other from before the beginning to beyond the end? Someone must see them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tom, I can only guess the universe composes sentience to observe itself --part of infinite variety and beauty. Where all possibilities are assembled, it is inevitable, plenism perhaps. The universe seems to be alive.

      Delete
  7. I wish to brag! I can do German article declensions! So there!

    Your story is delightful. I have never met a U-eff-oh who speaks fluent foreign.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Friko --your bragging right is well-earned.

      Delete
  8. The bower looks a little clenched to me, which indicates stress, or trapped wind. But mostly I'm wondering what it feels like to be enamelled?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A viable theory! I wonder how much of our social etiquette stems from trapped wind.

      Delete
  9. That would be my luck, to be visited by an alien speaking German... that harsh language that sounds so militaristic that it would likely launch a war of worlds instead of a world war...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah Sage, then you've never heard the beautiful Nicole sing "Ein Leises Lied" --translated excerpt:

      "Come, sing with me, perhaps you also need today
      A gentle song in a loud time
      Come, sing with me, perhaps you also need today
      A gentle song in a loud time."

      It's doubtless on youTube somewhere, a favorite.

      Delete
  10. Oops, I read this post, and then the previous one, so I inadvertently bowed to you in the last comment, when I meant to bow to you in THIS one. (Which would make more sense.) No matter. I'm bowing again, dude. Another super post.

    I'm not entirely sure, but sometimes I think some of the guys in our state legislature are aliens. It'd explain a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem! Legislature made inadvertent bowing legal just before they were taken over by aliens. Much appreciated.

      Delete

I value your comments. Say hello. Reach out a bit. I do.