I was a Trekkie as a child. Still am, of course. My family had no idea where this obsession had come from, but they allowed me to carry on in a sort of bewildered manner. My father carted me around to fan club meetings and Star Trek conventions and even became something of a fan himself. I recall him purchasing a Klingon/English dictionary and saying Grace in Klingon (until my mother made him stop).
I grew into a typical teenage girl. Well, I say typical. I wore a Star Trek uniform to high school. I was a science officer. I was a typical teenager in that I had a bad attitude, thought I knew everything and fought constantly with my parents. But on Friday nights, and then Sundays when they changed the schedule, my dad and I suspended all arguing and sat down together to watch The X-Files. When the episode was done we would spend an hour or so discussing it. By the next morning normal life resumed and all arguments were back on.
Life marched on, as it does, and at the age of 21 I moved all the way across the country to Los Angeles. I was a happy little nerd in my little house, surrounded by art, figurines and my prized Captain America shield. But there was one Sci-fi show that I avoided. I avoided it because it was simply too BIG. It spanned over 50 years of TV and from what I heard it was massively confusing. That show was Doctor Who.
For years I had been told that I would love Doctor Who, but I brushed this off. I didn’t have the time or the inclination to watch 50 years of old TV. I was happy in my little universe. I didn’t need to add to it. But one day I was off sick from work and I was bored. I posted on FaceBook asking for recommendations of what to watch on Netflix and was told several times to start Doctor Who. I explained my reasons for not wanting to start it and was told to simply start with the 9th Doctor (9th Doctor??) and it would explain everything. And so, with a sense of doom, I began the 2005 series of Doctor Who.
I liken becoming a Doctor Who fan to becoming a born again Christian, only instead of knocking on doors and asking if someone has heard the word of Jesus, you ask if they’ve heard the word of The Doctor. (Tip: you get a lot of strange looks). Becoming a Whovian is all consuming, you find yourself spending most of your paycheck on TARDIS everything and your new favorite color is TARDIS blue.
Unexpectedly, my dad followed me down the rabbit hole and became a massive Whovian himself. Although he, for some strange reason is more of a fan of the Daleks rather than the Doctor. He says that the Daleks are the perfect soldier (dad is retired Army), and I say they’re homicidal maniacs. We just agree to disagree.
About two years ago I decided to move to London. (Not for Doctor Who, of course). I met my now husband and have settled into a nice life here. Our flat isn’t quite as nerdy as my old place. Ok, ok, so there’s a TARDIS cookie jar and door mat. And a TARDIS mug and bowl. And an autographed picture of my favorite Doctor, Christopher Eccelston, that my husband got for me last Christmas (I knew he was a keeper). But other than that, it’s a normal flat.
A few weeks ago my parents came to London for a visit. They come from a small town in North Carolina and had never been to London. They had also never been on the tube (subway). At rush hour. Oops.
We took them everywhere, on a walk through Hampstead Heath, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Catherdral, the Tower of London and on a boat ride down the Thames — Not to mention the Sherlock Holmes Museum and Royal Air Force Museum. I swear to you, we went into every single shop in central London. My parents went nuts buying London bric-a-brac, t-shirts, biscuit tins, little models of Buckingham Palace.
The day before they left we had planned to just hang out around the flat and relax. I asked if they had seen everything that they had been looking forward to. My dad looked slightly disappointed and said that he had expected more Doctor Who things. It turns out that we had gone into every tourist shop because dad was looking for Daleks. My wonderful husband told everyone to grab their coats and took us on the tube to Tottenham Court Road station. From there we walked to Forbidden Planet, my very favorite store in London. Forbidden Planet has it all, comics, figurines, t-shirts, books. They cover every geek fandom.
Dad was able to pick up a few things, but informed the very confused cashier that they needed more Daleks. From there Ewan, my husband, took us to a quirky little shop called The Stamp Centre. I had somehow never been to this shop and it was fantastic! From the name you wouldn’t expect the amount of Doctor Who merchandise stuffed into this little place on the Strand. If you’re in London, go there! Dad was able to find several model Daleks to place on his desk at work. There are other Who shops in London, but they’re farther away so that’s a trip for another day.
Mom and dad flew back to North Carolina, both happy with their trip and their purchases. They were so happy to see me happy and healthy, and to spend time with Ewan. It was great to show them around London, and I’m happy that we were able to get dad some Doctor Who gear. After dropping them off at Heathrow, we took the tube back home to North London, with one small stop.
Did you know that there’s a TARDIS just outside the Earls Court station?