Another Time, Another Place (Megan’s Game)

Farmer's Market, San Luis Obispo

This is another petit perception activity, to practice your talents at acute observation. It’s also a great way to pass the time for free if you’re out in town. It was taught to me by Megan Jeffrey, who now lurks over at the Den of the Press Platypus, occasionally emerging on Twitter as well. It goes like this:

While you’re out and about, take a quick look at some of the people around you. Pick one, and try to determine what other place and time that person would best fit in, and what they were doing there. For instance:

(a tough guy who looks like he’d slit your throat as soon as look at you) “Port Royal, 1693. Before the earthquake. Buccaneer, probably full pirate by now.”

(a glamorous woman) “Hollywood, 1935. Starlet, just about to break in.”

(a hipster) “Chicago suburbs, 1986. Works in a record store, will always work in a record store.”

Take as short of a glance as you need to get a snapshot of the person, something to work with, and make snap judgments. This makes an excellent opening to the Faces exercise I described in Petit Perception. But it’s also great fun by itself. How often do you let yourself jump to conclusions?

Also, as you can guess, this is awesome if you have a second (or third or fourth!) person to play with. Megan and I played it in front of Boo-Boo Records and Phoenix Books in San Luis Obispo, one Farmer’s Market long ago when we had to wait around but had no money to wait around with. I seem to remember we had someone else with us, probably one of Megan’s friends. We had a grand old time pointing people out with our chins and debating each other’s placements.

So, if any of your friends wave and ask why you’re writing little words (or the alphabet) backwards, or wonder why you closed your eyes when you walked in, invite them to come play Megan’s game with you.


About R. Jean Mathieu

They say he speaks five languages, was conceived on a chess board, and once seduced a tong boss' daughter and lived to tell the tale. All we know is, he's called Roscoe. You can find more scurrilous lies at and buy his books at View all posts by R. Jean Mathieu

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