How can you be nostalgic for a place you’ve never visited? How can you crave the air you know is filled with mist on spring mornings, or taste the freezing rain of the winter? What does it mean to know somewhere so personally but not at all?
I’m nostalgic for the idea of Seattle. I grew up in the pacific northwest in California, and it’s something special. The air tastes better there, always. I fell in love with the trees and the foggy mornings were something I craved. I attached so quickly to the idea of Seattle about 2 years ago for a passive, stupid reason. It was spring of junior year in high school, and everyone had started to binge watch Grey’s Anatomy. That binge watch became special to me because I didn’t just watch it to be in on the conversations in class- I didn’t start until some people were on season 3 or so, it became special because I watched with my mother.
My mom and I have a very close bond regarding TV and that is, that she and I watch almost everything together. We have since I started watching serious TV, and then realizing it was my career field. My mom actually began Grey’s when it started airing, I remember growing up and seeing our Tivo and then DVR fill up with Grey’s and Private Practice. She went back to work around the same time as season 8 started and gave up after the finale. So when I approached her and said I was going to binge, she decided to join me and said let’s get caught up. It was harmless and we didn’t know what was going to happen in just 3 months after we started to watch.
There were so many moments, and for me personally I can easily place myself into a situation or environment and feel it around me after I’m touched by a show or movie, and so while the weather back home got like a typical Seattle day I feel as if it influenced my viewing. There is something so attractive about the environment put forward by the show, that it can not exist anywhere else. Somehow Seattle gets these nasty traumas but they aren’t in some busy city setting like LA, and time moves slowly. The first two seasons of Grey’s were the same year. The ferry boats which live on in infamy, although they exist in other cities are so intricately connected to Seattle itself. The idea of a cozy little hospital named Seattle Grace, just inside the city where these messy interns were starting the journey of a life time. It’s inseparable.
There’s a feeling of absolute home that I feel every time I throw on an older episode. I can breathe in the misty air they’re simulating, or the powerful storms that correlate to the emotions stirring at the time. It’s timeless, like a rainy day with a good book and a cup of tea. You know everyone but there’s a vast wilderness you don’t know- be it about people, medicine, or the wild forest where the trailer lives. It’s the chills that crawl up and down your spine each time Chasing Cars plays and you just know, everything’s falling apart but you cheer on because if the show has proved time and time again, it’s that the sun always rises. – Of course it rises behind rain filled clouds.
and god how I miss it so. I miss the stormy skies, running through the flooding parking lot to avoid your ex, slapping on of hello kitty band-aids, and rumbling storms of syphilis outbreaks. There is no denying that I don’t feel these things once I’ve caught up. The nostalgia is gone. I can’t entirely place why. I know my technical reasons because they changed sets, and lights, and the over intensity of HD sometimes can take it away as well. But there’s also the changing of the years. Like I said I was a child when Grey’s started, I was in first grade I believe? I’m an adult now. So something that always will slightly freak me out is how closely attached to Chasing Cars and How to save a life, I was when I was like 10 and to understand the pop culture history surrounding it now is such a interesting thing.
So I guess it’s when I watch older episodes, I see or hear things from my childhood really. I’m sure that I walked in on episodes my parents watched when I was younger as well. So I can see myself age as the pagers become Iphones and the charts become IPads. Maybe I don’t like that I’m aging. But I know one thing for sure that I will never grow out of Seattle mists.
I won’t ever let go of the fresh feeling of rain watering the trees, making mud out of the grass, and the taste of the water in the air. Just as I won’t let go of the stories, friends, the music, or the life lessons I listen to. I’m nostalgic for a city created in my head of a feeling that can never be replicated, nor destroyed only strengthened.