Friday, May 31, 2013

Tube Stories

One of the things that I miss the most about my London adventure is living in the big city. There was always something going on and there were so many different kinds of people. I recently found the Humans of New York website, which brought me back to London and the city's people.
People watching on the Tube was probably my most favourite activity.
I once saw a young actor going over his script at rush hour; he was enunciating his highlighted lines loudly, and I could not help but watch him.
One day, while passing through Liverpool Street Station, I looked up to see a man pointing a machine gun at another man being handcuffed by the police. The handcuffed man looked like a normal tourist, and we could not figure out what was going on. My friends and I decided to leave the station as quick as we could, just as other officers were coming in.
We happened to see several people in animal onesies on the Tube, which we did not really get...
There was a time when I was with two of my friends and we were sitting on a bench, waiting for one of the last trains when a youngish man walked by, smiled at us (creepily), and then walked back to us after we had ignored him. He tried to talk to us, but my friend's "are you serious" face scared him away.
On a very long ride on the Circle Line, I was seated across a (rather strange) couple who were dressed in several layers of cloth and who each held lengths of electrical wires, coiled up. They were jokingly fighting about how much money they had made that day and I could not begin to guess what their occupations were.
I just really enjoyed seeing all types of people and it was there were countless times where I was able to see almost every single type of demographic in the same tube car. There were young children in their uniforms going to school, businessmen in designer suits and drunks. Commuting on the tube was always an adventure, and I loved each new experience.
The highlight of my Tube people watching excursions was probably when I happened to meet Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch while they were filming in a tunnel off a passage in Charing Cross station.
My friend, Vanessa, Benedict Cumberbatch, and me!
I take such pride in telling this story, but whenever I do begin telling it to someone in person, I jumble all my words up and speak too fast out of excitement of the fact that it actually happened. So here is the story:
The day before this photo was taken, we had gone to watch both of the actors film BBC Sherlock, just down the street from our University. My friend Vanessa and I ran down to the set just after our last final exam. We had a great spot to stand and we stayed for about six hours! It was so worth it. We were just across the street from the set and it was so interesting to see how they filmed a scene and tweaked things and then filmed again.
The actors were so sweet and would smile and wave at us whenever they could. I took a ton of photos of the set and actors, but I really really wanted to get photos with them, as I am a HUGE fan of the Hobbit and Sherlock. I also had a Hobbit journal which I had used to write about my London experience from the beginning (nerdalert), so I thought that it would be the coolest thing ever if I had them sign it... or at least if Martin signed it! (the Hobbit himself). But there was no chance to even ask them... they had too much to do and there were just too many fans.
The next day was our very last day in London and I was touring around the big sights with my friends, just one last time. Vanessa and I had been trying to figure out where the actors would be filming that day by checking for any hints on google or twitter, but we had no luck.
Our little group decided to split in two after we walked around Trafalgar Square. Vanessa, decided to go home and I kept walking around the city with a few other friends. I got a call from Vanessa about fifteen minutes after we had split up and she just said "They're here! I just walked by them in the Tube."
I ran back to Trafalgar Square and met Vanessa just outside the station, and we went down to see if we could see them. We walked right by them, and I'm sure that when they smiled at us, they could tell just how much we were freaking out on the inside. We were going insane on the Tube ride home.
Since it was my last day in London, it was my last chance to get my journal signed, so we decided to go back to Charing Cross a few hours later.
The actors were nowhere to be seen but we knew that they were in the tunnel because we recognized the Sherlock filming staff from the day before. We waited against the wall of the Tube passageway for about three hours and it turned out to be worth it.
Martin passed by us once, and we were too scared to say anything but "hi."
Then, I decided to pluck up enough courage to ask one of his P.A.'s if he thought that Martin and Benedict would sign my Hobbit notebook, and I held it up for him to see. He started out by saying how busy they were, but that it couldn't hurt to ask them. I think he became less annoyed at us after seeing that it was just the two of us, that we were calm and little ladies with American accents.
When Martin Freeman came back, I blurted out something and held up my notebook. He came right over to us and was literally inches away from us. We had a conversation and he signed my journal for me and for Vanessa and thanked us for waiting. I told him that we were studying in London and that it was our very last day here.
"And you're spending it inside?" he asked.
He was honestly so sweet and friendly, it made Vanessa and I the happiest girls in the world.
Unfortunately, we were unable to take a photo with him because he was in costume.
Vanessa and I think that he went back inside the tunnel and told Benedict about us because he came out right afterwards!
He smiled and waved and was friendly as well. He signed my journal for the both of us and made a comment about filming in the Tube, which made us laugh, because we had found out the day before that he normally rides in a Jaguar.
Benedict talked to us for a bit and a kind security officer that was with the crew took our photo with him.
It was an exceptional day and we skipped the rest of the way down the passage and took the tube back home to pack up everything we had accumulated over the past three months.

P.S.- The photo of Benedict Cumberbatch, Vanessa and I has been the background of my cell phone for about a month and a half and I wish that I could have thanked them better for taking the time to talk to us.

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