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."

We need a word for the relief of arriving home after a day of travel knowing the only thing to do is fall into bed.
Proposal: Somniness - as in a kind of sleep-happiness. Usage: "This is so much somniness." Or, "I can't fight this sominess anymore."

That feeling of comfort only your pillow provides.
Proposal: Pulvinosity or pulvinosic - from the Latin, "pulvinar". Usage: "Peter sank his head deeply into the pulvinosic cushion."

Don't we need a word for your preference for the taste of your own tap water?
Proposal: Domus Aqua - instead of the house wine, think of the house water. Usage: "He drew a loud sigh after downing a large glass of domus aqua."

A word for the despair of realizing you packed a bunch of crap like a book, Bluetooth speaker, sketchbooks, dictionaries, framed photos, a collapsible stool, a folding penny farthing, an easel and watercolours that you were sure you'd use, but never did.
Proposal: Überschamfüllt - from the German for feeling the shame of overpacking. Usage: "Lifting his weekend bag over his shoulder, he was overcome by a swelling feeling of übershamfüllt."

Is there another word for when you realize you have packed perfectly for a trip?
Proposal: Verpakten - from the German for perfectly packed.

A word for the joy of seeing a pet when you walk through the door.
Proposal: pet-naissance - a portmanteau of pet-renaissance; reacquainting with a pet. Usage: "Hearing the cat from the other side of the door, they knew a pet-naissance awaited them."

A word for the desire to burn the boots you've worn for what feels like weeks, even though they may be the boots you always wear anyway.
Proposal: Schuhbrand - from the German for shoe burn. Usage: "His only thought after kicking off his shoes was schuhbrand."

A word for the desire to launder everything.
Proposal: Lavaria - from Latin to launder.

A word for the satisfaction of that first great bowel movement once you get home.
Proposal: Scheissfreude - from the German - perhaps self-explanatory.

A word for the desire to shelter in place after the trauma of airports.
Proposal: Aero-agoria - if "aerophobia" is a fear of flying and "agoraphobia" is avoiding the outside perhaps this is when airports are the source of your outside avoidance. Usage: "It's going to take me some time to get over my aero-agoria."

A word for that deep, deep sleep the first night after a trip.
Proposal: Primosomno - from the Latin for first sleep.

A word for waking in the dark on the couch after a nap you took in the afternoon.
Proposal: Confusening - a portmanteau of confused awakening.

A word for when you're looking forward to your first home-cooked meal in a week but there’s only a bottle of ketchup and a dried orange in your fridge so you give up and order takeout instead.
Proposal: regard-manger, from the French to look, "regarder" and pantry, "garde-manger" to mean to look elsewhere for food. Usage: "I just got back in town but I need to regard-manger some dinner."

A word that describes the depression of looking at an unpacked piece of luggage.
Proposal: Melaphernalia - a portmanteau to describe the melancholy of seeing your own paraphernalia.

A word for the confusion when you wake up in your own bed and you suddenly remember it’s your first day back at work.
Proposal: Confusening - I think this also applies here.

A word for the desire for solitude after being in an overly crowded, lively, gregarious and noisy city for too long. Actually, there is a word for that.
Apanthropy: a longing for solitude, an aversion to company.

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