The things that make you disappear into experience are random things. Or, to place it in Sartre’s terms, since I really should be writing about Sartre and not the other things swirling in my mind, some things hit so hard and fast they drop us from the reflective into the non-reflective, me-in-the-world. Like the red stained wood and Elliot Bay ferry images of Seattle’s Best Coffee.
It’s funny; Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t really make me homesick. It makes me laugh, because the closest they’ve been to Seattle is some alternative world Seattle where you go north on 99 from Queen Anne to get to Downtown. There are occasionally things I recognize, like flyers for the 5 Spot, but it’s so obviously a fictional place I feel no greater affinity for it than I do any other place I’ve never been.
But for just a moment, the pure, non-reflective experience of this Seattle’s Best had me both wondering where I was and experiencing Seattle, and missing Seattle. I miss the sharp smell of the saltwater air, the breezes racing up streets, playing hide and seek with you as you run through the Downtown grid, the misty dripping of the weather, the campus, the people. I miss going to wine bars with friends, meeting up for coffee or movies, the occasional night dancing, sitting in my cramped living room with the cats, doing shots to Stargate, birthday parties… I miss the life I had.
Isn’t it weird, when we slip into experiential being, and forget where we are? I had that a lot last weekend in Denver — I was around everyone I see here in Albany, and inside, so it was hard to remember that I was actually in Denver and not simply at a long affair at home. Stepping up to the Seattle’s Best counter, looking at the ferry/Public Market picture, I had that same sort of experiential dissonance, where for a moment, I knew I was in Seattle, and if I turned around and walked outside, it would be damp, grey, cold, and familiar. The moment I moved to reflective self, to saying “I am thinking I’m in Seattle”, I was of course able to say “no, idiot, I’m standing in Albany thinking I’m thinking I’m in Seattle” (which I suppose leaps from the first to second reflective state), but there is still a sharp jarring between the non-reflective and reflective. I feel I’m in one place, while I know I’m in another.
I wonder if any of the phenomenologists have an answer for that?