Used to mean: A journey to work, often driving through quiet roads, or maybe a quick walk through town.
Now means: A vicious crusade through an urban hellscape, with detours into subterranean metal canisters stuffed with people and sweat.
Used to mean: The process by which you find a new flat.
Now means: The process by which you are humiliated, broken, terrified, exploited, and then you find a new flat.
Used to mean: A book with lovely 3-D pictures.
Now means: A restaurant that is too weird to actually work, so instead is temporarily set up in the local hipster hangout until the novelty value wears off. Often actually an ad.
4. “A quick drink”
Used to mean: Going for a few drinks.
Now means: Going for all the drinks, and waking up with your shoes on, the light on, and a cactus in your bed.
Used to mean: The meal you carefully prepared in the evening.
Now means: Either what you spend too much on after a quick drink late at night, or something jammed together from random foods in the fridge because you can’t be bothered to shop.
Used to mean: No noise.
Now means: The sound-sucking vacuum that exists on the tube every morning, despite the presence of hundreds of people. There is nothing quieter. Monks visit it when they need a break from the racket at the monastery.
Used to mean: Something you might use to make fire.
Now means: A handy way to build a comprehensive list of people who don’t want to go out with you.
Used to mean: Long evenings, drinks in the garden, and the smell of fresh, warm grass.
Now means: Long evenings, drinks on the street, and the smell of fresh, warm urine.
Used to mean: £1 a pint.
Now means: £4 a pint.
Used to mean: Trees, and grass, and fresh air.
Now means: All of the above, but compressed into much smaller, inconvenient areas, filled with people, and the fresh air has been made not fresh.
Used to mean: Er…what?
Now means: A croissant mashed up with a doughnut, which is then licked by God.
Used to mean: The part of your wages that goes on having somewhere nice to live.
Now means: The part of your wages that goes on having absolutely anywhere to live, and leaves roughly enough for you to survive on stale bread for a month.
Used to mean: The part in the middle.
Now means: The part in the middle of the city that will make you hate all people.
Used to mean: A german prefix you could use to add emphasis to a word (though while sounding like a bit of a dick).
Now means: A glorious way to get home drunk, which may or may not also be destroying the London taxi industry.
15. “Working late”
Used to mean: Leaving a bit after 6 p.m.
Now means: Leaving a bit after 6 a.m.
Used to mean: Slightly slimy seafood that’s definitely not an aphrodisiac.
Now means: Magic plastic that will take you absolutely anywhere you ever want to go (up to Zone 9.) Kind of an aphrodisiac.
Used to mean: A pleasant morning drink.
Now means: Mandatory life fuel.
Used to mean: The place where you leave your money, and which fills you with dread when you go into it.
Now means: The nexus of every single tube in the city, and which fills you with dread when you’re trying to find the right fucking exit.
Used to mean: Past tense of ‘meet.’
Now means: Rogue bureaucracy in the heart of London, interpreting laws and taking names.
20. “The North”
Used to mean: Above Sheffield.
Now means: Above Zone 2.
Used to mean: What bankers work in.
Now means: What wankers work in.
Used to mean: A glorious guardian waiting to take you to heaven.
Now means: A less glorious mess of escalators taking you so far down that you actually go slightly past hell.
Used to mean: Writer.
Now means: Barman.
Used to mean: Buying something at a good price.
Now means: A hypothetical construct, only referred to using dark, ironic humour.
25. “Leicester Square”
Used to mean: Exciting hub of the capital.
Now means: Where dreams come to die.
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