Wednesday, March 02, 2005

British Hobbies

Somewhere before, I posted a brief sentence or two about a plan to visit each tube stop along each line of the London Underground and be photographed at each. Evidently, this obsessive desire to see all of something related to transportation is a very British thing.

Take trainspotting, for example. In this hobby, people go to rail yards and write down the numbers of the trains they see. There are also some subspecialties in trainspotting: some people focus on engines rather than the cars, others freight trains rather than passenger trains…you get the idea.

“What?!” you ask. “You mean to tell me that otherwise sane individuals spend their free time watching train and writing the numbers down into little notebooks. And that’s it?”

Well, yes.

But that’s not all. There’s also planespotting. It’s like trainspotting, but with planes. Some people even organize trips to other countries to watch the planes land and take off there. Just recently, there was a show on the telly about a real group of British planespotters who, about four years ago, were arrested in Greece and charged with spying because they were writing the planes’ numbers into their notebooks.

And, since I know that this question was at the tip of your tongue, there’s also busspotting. (I’m not sure if that’s how you spell it…not surprisingly, the spellcheck doesn’t recognize it. But, following the pattern of trainspotting and planespotting, it’s natural to end up with busspotting. Still, that ‘ss’ part really bothers me.)

There are also people who travel around to each and every football (soccer) stadium and watch matches there. But that’s just plain weird.

So, how far off would it be to go TubeStationSpotting? I mean really? I’m in England. Odd hobbies seem to be appreciated here. And the tube stations are inside. It’s not like I have to go hang out at the airport. I’m not sure if that counts as spotting, though, since I would be actually visiting them and not just spotting them. But that’s really a minor detail.

Plus, if I get arrested for spying, they might make a TV movie out if the whole thing.

And isn’t that what any self-respecting TubeStationSpotter really after?

You know: Fame, fortune, a pile of pictures taken next to tube stop signs, a starring role in a movie.


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