Once I passed the Pickleteria I knew that I had gone too far. After backtracking, I saw the sign for “Waistcoat, Want Not,” which I had missed the first time due to the obscuring graffito: “In Williamsburg, we say Ààwesk…ôt!” (Only a few stray horsehair fibers stuck in the graffitist’s paint marred the otherwise impeccable hand lettering.) As instructed, I knocked once, then twice, then three, and then five times. A peephole slid open in the door and a skeptical eye studied me.
“Fabian invited me,” I said. This was met by silence. “Ambrose,” I tried. “I meant to say that Ambrose invited me.” After a long moment there came what sounded like a resigned sigh, the peephole shut, and the door opened. An extraordinarily dapper young woman escorted me up a narrow flight of stairs.
At the top I spotted my never-dependable friend Fabian. “Nice monocle!” I offered.
“You made it!” he said. “That’s great! I’m sure you’ll have a good time!” I made some non-committal sound as I surveyed the expansive loft and the milling crowd of indescribably hip young people.
“This doesn’t look like most computer clubs I’ve been to,” I said.
“Oh, well, it’s Aulde Timey Nighte,” said Fabian, somehow pronouncing the alternate spellings. “Everyone’s supposed to bring something from the early days of computing.”
“Oh?” I asked, “What did you bring?” Fabian didn’t say anything. “Oh, come on, dude! Not cool!” I protested when I caught on.
“That’s good!” said Fabian, “Keep talking in that charming patois! It seems very authentic! Hey, Cheryl, this is my friend Larry. He programmed PDP-8s!”