When the hustle and bustle of the modern world has a stranglehold on our sanity, we are quick to look for an escape maneuver. Between the demands placed on us from all angles, the constant task of making ends meet, and the humdrum of our daily routines, we long for something different to speed up or slow down the tick-tock of the invisible metronome. This is why we jump out of airplanes on purpose, take trips to faraway places, lose ourselves in books and movies, and find other creative ways to exercise the right side of our brains.
Along with this instinctive desire for escape, we often long for the days of the past, for a time when life seemed simple and had fewer complications. Perhaps we covet the lifestyle of our parents’ generation or the days of our youth, the days before global warming, STD’s, and high fructose corn syrup. We are nostalgic by nature which is why vintage clothing has always been (and always will be) so popular, why we buy classic cars, watch black and white movies, and collect antiques. This is why we smile when we see a girl ride by on a 3-speed Raleigh bicycle, carrying flowers or groceries in the wicker basket, why we indulge in cheeseburgers and malts at silver roadside diners, and why we love the intangible feel of old grainy photographs. This is why Mad Men is one of the hottest shows on TV today, and why Frank Sinatra songs will always make us want to slow dance with our partner. While we can’t wait to see what the future holds, we will always keep one foot in the past.
I often think it would be great if for just one week, or even one day, we could all stop typing, stop texting, stop Twittering, and stop e-mailing. Instead, write a letter, have a formal dinner party, go on a picnic, read the newspaper, and discuss things over coffee. It appears that I’m not alone in my thinking, as last week hundreds of dreamers, escapists, and exhibitionists descended upon the Textile Museum for the second PM at the TM, an event called MOD MADNESS. Presented in partnership with The Pink Line Project, well-dressed attendees were treated to interactive gallery tours by WE ARE SCIENCE, DYI silk screening by the Washington Printmakers Gallery and Kristina Bilonick, and live jazz by the Pete Muldoon Quartet. I was there with my camera and for three short hours, the metronome stopped.