I’m walking down Commonwealth Avenue, rueing the day I ever signed up for four 8 a.m. classes a week, when I catch a glimpse of a girl I met in my high school modern dance class. I’d rather not go into why I ever actively chose to take a modern dance class, but I swear it’s her. She has the same medium-length blonde hair, same yoga pants tucked into fur-lined Uggs — there’s no way it could be anyone but her (ha).
And even though I’m pretty sure the last time I saw her post a photo on Facebook, she was taking her studies very seriously at some school in Colorado, I’m positive I’ve just seen her walk past me. I do a double take, just to realize the girl I thought I recognized is actually a random person I’ve never seen before. Just a moment before, her face had turned into one I’d seen hundreds of times. Once I looked back, it was just another person I didn’t know — which is most people when you’re a freshman at a college thousands of miles away from your hometown.
Was it just exhaustion after a riveting night of reading the history of the Middle East in 1917? That’s what I assumed, until I walked into my philosophy class and came face-to-face with the guy who sat next to me in World History sophomore year. That is, until I re-focused and realized there was only a slight resemblance between the two. Weird, right?
This has been happening to me all week. It’s like one of those old cartoons, where one of the characters, usually with bulging eyes and a tongue hanging out from the side of his mouth begins to see the faces of every person who walks by turn into huge slabs of meat.
Well, kind of.
If I follow that train of logic, does this phenomenon mean I miss people from my hometown? Even the guy who was always cheating off of me in World History, or the girl whose favorite form of Modern Dance was Zumba? Am I. . . homesick?
I don’t think so. More realistically, it’s not that I miss these people who I was never even friends with when I saw them every day. I miss the feeling of recognizing the majority of people I see in my daily life. So, to cope, my brain occasionally turns the unrecognized faces on the street into vaguely familiar people from a random assortment of memories.
See? I’ve found a way to rationalize this so I don’t seem completely crazy.
As exciting as new experiences are, sometimes it’s necessary to fall back on something — or someone — familiar to you. But next time I feel myself longing for something I recognize, entering a state of temporary insanity, I think I’ll just try calling my parents instead.
Jessica Depies is a freshman in the College of Communication studying journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.