My Junk Drawer Memory® has a note in it that says that the ancient Romans would always write letters in the past tense on the theory that any information in them would be in the past by the time the letter reached the recipient.
I think your Junk Drawer Memory might have a flaw: the letters written by ancient Romans that I have read (Pliny, Cicero, the usual suspects) are predominantly written in the past tense because the events that they recount tend to have already happened at the time of writing, let alone the time of reading.
It seems much worse than just a Gricean violation. The statement "I did X (in order) to do Y" is talking not just about doing X and then doing Y, but also about the purpose of doing X. I doubt that any part of her intention in living from 1983 till now was actually to utter that question.
@Faldone: I'm not sure your JDM is actually wrong about that. For example, Pliny does show marked tendencies to use the present tense in conditional clauses where we would expect the future, the perfect indicative in cum clauses where we would expect the present subjunctive, and the perfect subjunctive in quasi clauses where we would expect the present subjunctive. The overall effect is to create a sense of action displaced to the past. I don't know whether that is a stylistic quirk of Pliny's or a generic convention.
I agree with majolo: I can only read the infinitival clause as purposive, I can't see any ambiguity, so the speaker is saying something literally false. It would be different if the sentence was slightly adjusted to a (?)Yiddishism: I travelled here from the year 1983, only to . . .?
Isn't she allowed to have a sub-goal? Presumably her main goals since her journey started have been something like "live a long life", "avoid pain", etc (okay, maybe in 1983 these were subconscious goals). And clearly the next goal on her list in achieving all this is to find out whether there are any bagels left.
Okay, my tongue is partly in my cheek, but the wording of the comic doesn't seem intuitively off to me.
Unlike most Quantity violations we know and love, I find it neat that this might be classed as a violation of the *second* half of Grice's Maxim — Don't be overly informative without reason — given that it's true but completely predictable.