föstudagur, desember 12, 2008


I cannot any longer remember how many times I have seen Christmas come and go there. It is not possible that it is very many, but still it takes only a snippet of internet-mediated TV news -- human interest about some neighborhood association at each other's throats about the seasonal stench of Þorláksmessuskata -- to send me into a fit of nostalgia.

Nostalgia was once regarded as a physical ailment, the sort of illness that gets written up in the Merck Manual. The final stage, according to some, was characterized by bleeding gums, sunken eyes, and the opening of wounds long healed -- in other words: scurvy. Science has progressed, and the two syndromes have been disentangled from each other; scurvy is merely a deficiency of vitamin C.

This leaves open the question of what nostalgia is. Perhaps it is both a miasmatic disease and a deficiency. That it, maybe it is the lack of certain smells floating on the air that brings it on. Here there is no whiff of gamey tallow, no elasmobranchitic ammonia, and no hot palm oil ærosol. The bits of evening news I watch the following morning are not accompanied by any olfactory closed-captioning. I may have to search for some form of supplement not available in the pharmacy aisle.

1 ummæli:

Nik sagði...

What if one has nostalgia for things that have never been? What's that called?

Clearly I am suffering from nostalgia, but also from it's counterpart..... sehnsucht, perhaps? My German is not so good.

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