Divided By A Common Language

That’s because the average town in Britishland has clearly-defined boundaries, where Town Planning forbids any kind of development outside those limits.

Here in the Land Of Da Free, our towns sprawl all over the fucking place, and (e.g. in Plano) you can drive around all day, not see a business of any kind, and still technically be “in town”.

The Germans, of course, have it down pat.  If you take the Ausfahrt  off the Autobahn  to, say, Stuttgart, you just follow the signs which say Zentrum  and you’ll end up in the main business center of town.

Which, by the way, the Brits with their love of inscrutable acronyms refer to as the “CBD” (central business district), only they don’t always use street signs to direct you there.  You get downtown by guesswork and luck.  Don’t ever stop and ask for directions, because the local yokels think it’s great fun to send you into a series of one-way streets and cul-de-sacs  (which is what signs do say, and not “dead ends”) until you wish Hitler had got the job done and flattened the place, back during the Slight Disturbances Of The Early Forties.

Not that I’m bitter about it, or anything.  When you finally get there, it’s all worth it.

…right up until you try to find parking.


  1. Just to confuse the issue further, when I was a young ‘un and told mom or dad I was “going uptown” that meant I was heading a few blocks away to our little town’s business district to get comic books, some ice cream or some such thing. But if I said I wanted to “go downtown” they’d ask who with, and when, and what for, because it meant I needed a ride to the train station to catch a train up to Chicago’s loop.

    1. That’s how it was for me growing up, too. Uptown was the main business/shopping center of our town, and Downtown was way downtown in the big city. Anyplace else, was referred to by exact destination, i.e. the Museum, or the Stadium, or specific store names.

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