Differences in urban transport


spn actress alona tal shows the fans her death scene makeup at boscon

Let’s get this out of the way first: Pot, meet kettle.

I feel weird writing this, but I wanted to get it out of my head.

I was reading a Johnlock fan fic where the author’s note said: “This is my first Sherlock fan fic, not beta’d or brit-picked. I’m American, but I spent two weeks in London and I used to write Harry Potter fan fic, so I think my use of British spelling, words and phrases is spot-on.”

It honestly made me giggle.

If only because I found several really obvious errors.


The first person to admit I WANT my fan fic brit-picked before I post it online.

I’m never going to pretend I’m an expert on London. I’m never going to pretend that I’m an expert on British stuff in general. Even though - based on the author’s assertion that two weeks makes her an expert - I’m wicked knowledgeable because I’ve spent over a month in my favorite international city. (Over several years, but a month is a month, right?)

Yep. I’m going to take the MASSIVE amounts of all things London I’ve amassed and I’m going to start brit-picking other people’s fic.

Because leaning on Google, watching massive amounts of BBC America, whatever British movies I can find on Netflix, and watching Sherlock almost every single day (Shut up. It’s research!), gives me as much knowledge on all things British as someone who has lived there their entire life.

As Gordon Ramsey is so fond of saying, “Fuck me.”

Anyhoo - to get to my point…

I have a coffee mug I bought during one of my trips that features a portion of the London Underground map. I don’t use it often because I’m afraid of breaking it, but it came in handy the other day. As I was drinking my coffee, I looked at the mug instead of hopping on Google to figure out how to get from Baker Street to Covent Garden via the subway system. (Yes, I know they almost always take a cab, but was for a case, and a resource is a resource. I double checked it against Google and then deleted the scene. That’s how I roll. An hour of research and then it gets chucked in the bin.)

I have noticed that I’m starting to use British phrases and words now. I’m a little concerned because it makes me feel like a bit of a poseur. (Does anyone even use that word anymore?!) But I’m learning as much as I can to make it authentic and it’s going to happen. Just like picking up the Boston accent again. (I suppose they *could* do a case in Boston, but it doesn’t feel right.)

I can’t stay on track this morning. HA! Get it? Train tracks. I promise. I will get there. Eventually.

(Unrelated (Possibly related?): I’m a little manic this morning. You can almost always tell in my writing because I get all parenthetical. (Like this).)


Where was I? Oh yeah, making fun of the British ‘expert’.

As I was looking at the Piccadilly Line on the Tube map, it dawned on me that in all my travels in London, I’ve never once heard it called the “Blue Line”. (Of course, according to the Tube’s website, it looks like there are THREE blue lines.) Also, it’s the “Tube”. Not a subway. Not a trolley.

Here in Boston - another subway system that I have a vast knowledge of because of my frequent trips up and down the Green Line - we call our version the “T”. I’m assuming that it comes from the name: The Massachusetts Bay TRANSIT Authority. (It used to be known as the MTA. I’m not sure where or when the B was added and I’m too lazy to look it up.) Older generations have called it a trolley, but I haven’t heard that in years. Possibly, most of that generation is gone by now and it didn’t stick.

Also, in case you didn’t notice, I called it the “Green Line.” (The only trains that are named are the commuter rails and those are named by termination point: Newburyport, Haverhill, etc.) To further confuse things, there are a B train, a C train, a D train and an E train on the Green Line. You want to go to Boston University? You take the B train. You want to go to the Pru? You take the E (Take any train to Copley). You want to get back to North Station? Any train will do. You want to get to Harvard Square in Cambridge from the commuter rail? You get off at North Station, hop on any of the Green Line trains, go to Park Street, and change to the Red Line. There you have a choice of Alewife, Mattapan or Braintree. (You want to go to Alewife, BTW.) The Aquarium? Take the Green Line to Gov’mnt Center, change to the Blue Line. (Thankfully, the Blue Line doesn’t split. Neither does the Orange Line.) Like most trains, too, there’s an inbound and an outbound. You can almost always tell the tourists - and those of use who get lost frequently (it’s a skill!) - because they go the wrong way when left to their own devices.

I’d like to point out here, in case it isn’t obvious, that my knowledge of the T is way more extensive than my knowledge of the Tube. Maybe because I’ve spent YEARS riding up and down the Green Line? I’m not going to pretend that I know the Tube inside and out after a month in London (spread out, again, over several years) when I spent the majority of that time on foot.

So… to recap: two weeks doesn’t make you an expert. Writing Harry Potter fan fic for years doesn’t make you an expert. The only thing that makes you an expert is time and experience.

And I have neither.

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