Monday, 14 February 2011

Time travel

I celebrated a birthday last week. Not just any birthday, the end of a lustrum, which as Judge Parker explained to Rooster Cogburn, is a five-year period. As a result I had the pleasure of spending my birthday morning renewing my driver's licence.

While I was there, working on the morning's crossword, I heard a metallic "CLA-CLACK", that I knew well but suddenly realized I hadn't heard in years. I looked up to see a man holding a hard-shell Samsonite briefcase, with those spring-loaded locks that were the source of the familiar sound.

And it struck me how old-fashioned it looked in his hand. I ruminated that the world has moved to back-packs and messenger bags and laptop cases, and that this leather-coated one-time staple of the corporate warrior has become an anachronism.

Which, big deal, right? But this next realization I mostly owe to Nicholas Bate, a remarkable business blogger who has a regular bit on stuff that has changed over time (I emailed him the idea of doing one on the briefcase, so if you see it on his blog it's not because one of us is stealing from the other). What hit me was that up to the "CLA-CLACK" moment I had no conscious idea that briefcases were obsolete. Until I was confronted with this relic of the past, I was completely unaware that anything had changed.

So of course now I'm wondering, what else has changed, that I'm unaware of, and will remain unaware of until my next time traveling episode?

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