It’s really the small things that make you realize how much you miss things, or people, or situations. For me, I’m almost always hit with homesickness or general missings of Seattle in two specific situations: when I’m terribly excited over some academic idea, and when I’m sick.
The first is simply because I’ve yet to really find anyone locally that I can happily babble academically to and with; no happy hours full of Deleuze here. (And yes, I realize that idea actually physically causes most people pain – I’ll just fall back on “weird undergrad” and leave it there, eh?) There’s no shorthand, either – no being able to run rapidly through the shared code of specific interdisciplinary study; I can’t just say “wonder” and have everyone know precisely what I mean. (Even having a teaching lecture wrapped around the subject doesn’t do me much good without the props, and most people don’t care enough to learn it, haven’t read Greenblatt, and etc and so forth.) I don’t know – I think so many people are accustomed to a shared basis of knowledge in their academic life that it’s hard to know what to do with someone who doesn’t have it; goes both ways, too, as I’m missing as much as I have.
The second is much more prosaic, and was something that sucked when I was first divorced, until I (slowly) learned to lean on and accept help from my close friends. But it’s terribly hard to live on your own and have a chronic, debilitating illness. When I was in Seattle, there were a host of people who’d come help me with tasks I simply cannot do, be it scrubbing dishes, carrying laundry up and down stairs, or lifting heavy items. My parents would come up every few weeks and bring me fresh, sliced, frozen veggies and grated cheeses and all sorts of things so that I could easily make healthy dinners without much work (chopping or cleaning), and I… I guess I just had a safety net of people who felt I offered enough in whatever to be willing to help me with things that I simply cannot do.
It’s funny, because it was such a difficult thing to accept, at first – and then just became a part of my life. And now I live in a place that hasn’t been truly clean since I’ve lived here, because it’s just something I am physically incapable of doing.
Of course, I think about it right now not because of any great angst about the piles of laundry on my floor, but because I’m sick. And being alone and having to still get up to cook and clean and do all the normal life things when you’re sick is just a miserable thing. (So yes, in other words, I am just wallowing and feeling sorry for myself because instead of being able to ask a spouse to fill the cat water fountain or a friend to make me a few days worth of mazto ball soup, I have to do it all myself, and my throat and ears hurt, I’m coughing and sneezing, and have a fever, and all I want to do is lay in bed and be miserable. Instead, however, I’ve to go take care of the monsters, so…)