I thought it might be interesting to share one of my favorite methods for passing time on long car trips: making up stories about characters named after towns and villages on the road map.
This works best in England, I've found, because where else are you going to come across Rushton Spencer, Fenny Bentley, Dole's Ash, Dead Maids, Kidderminster, Shepton Mallet, or Bury St. Edmunds? (Hands off Rushton Spencer, by the way, I've got dibs on him. He's the sort of ACTOR who wears dressing-gowns to dinner and pours unsatisfactory port over the sommelier's head.)
The trick to this game is not to look for funky names, but just let yourself enjoy the wonderful richness and weirdness of local naming conventions. In England you'll find a whole series of villages along and named for the same river (Winterborne Whitechurch, Winterborne Stickland, and Winterborne Kingston, for example, or the Deverills); over here you can find the classic Intercourse, Mud, and Bird in Hand, but if you look closer there are old names still hanging around even in this city that could offer some creative inspiration. Eudowood, for example. There was once a TB hospital called Eudowood; there's Ladew, and Oella, and Linthicum, which sounds like something you rub on to ward off colds, and the euphonious Padonia, and so on and so forth. There are names everywhere out there, and it's way more fun than it sounds to make up characters to fit them. Some of the characters stick around.
So long, it's been good to know you...
4 years ago