I just got an email from an old friend, Santa Barbara poet and raconteur, Phil Stephens. At one point, Phil and I spent a lot of time in Isla Vista California, the student ghetto attached to UC Santa Barbara. Phil was reminiscing about various sexual high jinks at IV parties and the existential joy of waking up in an unknown apartment and stumbling out into an early morning Pacific fog bank.
Phil’s email put me in a nostalgic mood, and since I’m in France, that great French phrase nostalgie de la boue came into my head. It means literally “nostalgia for the mud”. The “mud” in question can stand in for anything from social slumming, as Tom Wolfe uses it, to “attraction to what is unworthy, crude or degrading” to quote Merriam-Webster. For most of us, it means sex when it’s dirty, whatever “dirty” happens to mean to the individual undergoing the fit of nostalgia.
Going back to Washington on Sunday. Tough transition from paradise to the belly of the Beast. I’ll be suffering from all sorts of nostalgia when I get home.