CIP School in the Phils.


on August 5, 2012

Travelling with the Doctor, you change in all sorts of ways. You get a bit older, a bit sadder, a bit thinner from all the running about you do. You get a bit brighter, in more ways than one, and you get a bit deeper than you ever thought you’d be. But of all the ways you change, your vocabulary is what changes most.


First and most obviously, the word ‘bored’ does not exist anymore. You’re never bored when you’re with the Doctor. If you even say the word ‘bored’, the Doctor will just give you that look of quiet hurt and reproach, and you’ll be left stumbling over your words trying to find some way to apologize.

If ‘bored’ is erased from your vocabulary, you can be certain that other words will crowd in to take its place. Some of the words don’t make sense and you swear he made them up on the spot, like ‘transgenic hyperstabilizer’ or ‘alpha-wave stem volume’ or ‘dimensional transwarp eddy’. Some of the words don’t make sense together, like ‘crash land’ and ‘fun’… no it wasn’t, Doctor. And some of the words either need no translation or the TARDIS decides they might be harmful to sensitive human ears, so you wisely decide not to get too curious as to why your ears are afire.

And then there are the names. So many names! Planet names, species names, names for the little glowy blue rocks and the fuzzy gray food that the Doctor insists upon trying (he spit it out, just so you know). Names that you can’t even begin to pronounce, like X’ary!zor and Ssskuithan. Names that make you want to laugh and names that make you want to scratch your head. Names that are so long that even the Doctor can’t remember anything beyond the first 200 syllables of their abbreviations. And names that feel like home, like Luna Colony 57’s New Europe. The people there had orange skin, but at least the name was familiar.

But most interestingly of all is the way that seemingly commonplace words take on entirely new meanings. You find that there are a thousand ways to say the word ‘run’, and what they mean. You learn which one means “We just woke up the monster; what fun! Let’s get out of here,” and which one means “We just woke up the monster; oh CRAP! Now we’re in trouble,” and which one means, “Look, it’s snowing! Race you to that tree.”

You learn that what you thought was ‘wonder’ was really just a shadow of the real thing, and ‘awesome’ and ‘amazing’ cannot be used so glibly as you used them before. But you also learn that what you thought was ‘fear’ was petty and laughable, and that your definition of ‘pain’ seems childish compared with what’s really out there. ‘Anger’ and ‘sorrow’ are far deeper and fiercer than you ever imagined, but to counter that, so are ‘joy’ and ‘hope’. And ‘life’… oh, ‘life’. You learn so much about that.

You learn so many things when you travel with the Doctor. You learn that it’s a really bad idea to wear pink on the planet Igo XII. You learn that you should never use Bisheb-made lifts unless you want to be incapacitated with nausea for the next day and a half (and have the Doctor falling over laughing at you on top of it all). You learn which setting on the sonic screwdriver can create glass from sand, and which makes it change back again. But most important of all, you learn a whole new vocabulary, and with that vocabulary, you gain an understanding of yourself and the universe that you never could have had back home.

And you will never, ever use the word ‘bored’.


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