Friday, May 03, 2024

I'm Obmutescent 

I don’t have words to describe the spectacular event of the eclipse we recently witnessed. There are so many ways of describing the eeriness of the light quality, the sheer awe of seeing the corona and diamond ring effect, and the humbling realization of the wondrous dance of the cosmos but nothing that encapsulates the joy, wonder, and humility one feels at that precise moment. Now that Grammarly has replaced my Strunk & White The Elements of Style I find I struggle even more to find the right words. As robust as the English language is, we've never really had any rules for inventing new words, which might explain why English is so eccentric and weird. We mash existing words together in portmanteaus such as breakfast and lunch to make "brunch", or we borrow from the French to have words such as bureaucracy or entrepreneur. We even look to both the Danes and the French to describe that cozy warm feeling of hygge or àpres-ski and even though we may think of Germans as being unpoetic, we love terms like schadenfreude when we find ourselves enjoying the downfall of others. It seems particularly in English that we'd rather write essays, poems, novels or op-ed columns about things that are really common experiences like the ones we have when we travel. Perhaps we should take a page from the books of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) or Douglas Adams and invent words as needed.

Like a word for the high expectation of going to a museum paired with the despair after finding it has been closed for renovations.
Proposal: Acropoly - from the Acropolis in Athens, a site of ruins.

Or a word for the joy and satisfaction when you finally find a nice restaurant followed by the lull of waiting for your order to arrive.
Proposal: Mealacuna, from "meal" + "lacuna" (an unfilled space from the Latin, "lacus" or lake.).

I think I need a word for the difference between my happiness at going to my dream bookshop only to realize that everyone else thinks it’s just a very regular bookshop.
Proposal: Bibliomojo - like library vibes, you might claim to others who look bored, "You're jamming bibliomojo, man."

There definitely should be a word for the anxiety of catching the one bus that will take you somewhere you have to be but once you are on board, you're entirely unsure if it’s going in the right direction.
Proposal: Autoxiety - autobus anxiety portmanteau, applicable to any automotive travel. Usage: "This on-ramp is giving me major autoxiety!"

A word for the butt-clenching refusal to use the onsite toilets at a music festival.
Proposal: porta-not.
Usage: "This $50 Coachella burger isn't agreeing with my stomach right now."
Friend: "The porta-potties are just over there."
Me: "Port-not."
Read more »

Labels: , , ,