Missing the Mud – Part Une

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.

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One comment on “Missing the Mud – Part Une

  1. Phil Stephens on said:

    Larry, aside from your misspelling my last name, I certainly agree with you on this intense “mud nostalgia” feeling.

    In the hours since I sent you the email[s] regarding the Isla Vista experiences [which took place in December 1967] I have been overcome with the strangest sort of overwhelming happy sadness. How suddenly the “sexual revolution” arrived! How innocent everyone was! How mature we all thought we were!

    Whatever happened to all the participants in those glorious highjinks? I can remember their names and faces…but most of them long ago disappeared into the woodwork.

    The “going to school” aspect of college was so eye-opening in those days too.

    We not only TOOK Philosophy and Political Science, we TALKED Philosophy and Political Science. And we got drunk. And stoned. And laid. And woke up in one-size-fits-all Isla Vista apartments on cold mornings, pulling up our pants as ground fog crawled through the door.

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