Dis.com.bob.u.late / verb; To upset, confuse, disconcert, or frustrate.
Vocabulary.com says, “It is a fun, fancy word for ‘confuse.’ Then, they used it in this sentence: If something has put you in a state where you don’t know up from down and you can’t spell your own name, you may be discombobulated.”
Or, to quote Jeff Foxworthy, “You may be a redneck… ” but, I digress.
When the word was first used circa 1820-1835, it was a fanciful alliteration of discompose or discomfort.
Although I t’s popularity is in the top 40% of words, the only person I’ve ever heard use the term was my mother. Until recently.
When I went to our Sister’s Reunion two weeks ago I flew into Mitchell airport in Milwaukee, WI. which boasts the world’s only recombobulation areas, one on each of it’s three concourses. Yep, just three concourses. Everything you can need and want, in an easy to navigate airport. I love MKE, it’s calm and civilized, and it reminds me of Austin’s Mueller Airport back in the 80’s.
Since I flew TSA pre-checked, I didn’t have to suffer the usual indignities of long lines and strip-searches, and only put my purse through the x-ray machine. Looking up at the end of the inspection I noticed a large sign that said RECOMBOBULATION AREA above the hallway leading to the terminals, and laughed out loud. The guard looked at me quizzically, and I pointed to the sign, “That’s really funny!” He looked at the sign, then back to me, his expression changing not one iota. I figured it’d be a bad idea to encourage him to “lighten up,” so I kept my thought to myself and moved on.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were recombobulation areas all over town? I envision little places with tiny gardens and water features where you could pull over after driving on MoPac or I-35…
Maybe that need to recombobulate is exactly what has driven the success of Starbucks, and the plethora of coffee shops everywhere. Maybe that’s exactly what bars and cocktail lounges have been providing for us since Prohibition ended!
Next time you find yourself craving alone time with your cappuccino, or making arrangements to meet friends at a local watering-hole, or to ‘paint, while drinking,’ know that there’s a higher purpose at play: you’re recombobulating!