This beautiful weather and so-close-to-done-with-school taste in the air has been haunting me since Monday. When I step outside at 11:30 pm, the warm night greets me and the smells of summer vacation comes wafting. (Summer vacation, of course, smelling like fresh cut lawns and dry grass cooling and night blooming jasmine). Whenever I experience it, I have this ache in my heart, a sense of longing… but I don’t even know to what I can attribute these pangs of nostalgia.
The most ridiculous part (or most interesting, to put a positive spin on it) is that I have come to realize I am remembering something that I don’t think is real. Apparently I am not the first person to come across this idea.
Nostalgia for what we have lost is more bearable than nostalgia for what we have never had…. -Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
Braff (again) also illustrates what we’re talking about
Andrew Largeman: You know that point in your life when you realize that the house that you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? All of the sudden even though you have some place where you can put your stuff that idea of home is gone.
Sam: I still feel at home in my house.
Andrew Largeman: You’ll see when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s just gone. And you can never get it back. It’s like you get homesick for a place that doesn’t exist.
I will misquote unspoken novel by Bank again
“What was so great about the past?” I demanded, preparing to cite women voting and civil rights as counter-examples to what my grandmother was going to say.
She thought for a moment.
“The lamplighter used to carry a little stool around with him,” she said finally.
I patted her arm. I understood.
I think I am taking the last weeks of spring quarter of college of four years and mashing them up into a memory of something only wonderful. Here is what didn’t make the cut:
- anything high school or earlier
- sweating in unconditioned rooms
- inedible dorm food
- shitty, extraordinarily painful break ups
- dread over lack of job freshman year
- sophomore year mild depression
- 20 unit hell my junior year, including
- -the hardest class I ever took
- -40 page proposal for my honors thesis
- dread over lack of job senior year
Here is what I do remember:
- Giddy, head over heels brand new crush thinking of you every waking moment
- Waving my hands in the air like I just don’t care
- Getting accepted for archaeology digs
- The relief of finishing
- The prospect of a fresh new summer of experiences
At the end of junior year, my RA gave me her old couch. I had to be out of the building by noon, so I pushed it to the sidewalk. A tall and strong navy hopeful ex owed me a favor and was going to drive it across campus to where Bang would keep it over the summer and put it in her room for me. It must have been at least 90 degrees because I was wearing shorts, a tank top and flip flops, which are not really moving clothes. Bang and I sat on the couch, waiting for him to pull up in his Explorer Sport. It was too hot to talk, so we sat in the silence of an empty campus and thought. I had finished my work, I was off to Sicily for an amazing archaeological experience, I had a whole extra year to decide what to do with myself before graduation (the faintest glimmer in the far distance). We lounged on a broken-in loveseat in the shade of an emerald green sapling , without a care in the world other than moving a piece of furniture.
I think that’s what I miss most.