Song written and performed by Van Morrison
I drove down that street of broken dreams in downtown Youngstown, dodging cracks and holes, praying to save my old Honda’s suspension. Maybe the beating was the vengeance of an old GM community on such a car.
The parking lot was behind the building, close to the entrance. I always thought it was a little strange that they didn’t have a door facing the street, as if that might make it too easy to get in or out. Depending on the season, parking spaces could be at a premium and I don’t recall if it was a holiday or not.
At the front desk, the regular folk signed the visitor log, but they had stopped perceiving me as a visitor, which felt easier most of the time if it hadn’t felt like a little more responsibility. My parents lived on the top floor and the elevators ran slow.
That gave plenty of opportunity to get to know the people waiting with you. All the guests nodded and smiled, but kept their peace. Many of the folks who lived there were happy to see an unfamiliar visage and started a conversation. For whatever reason, I had a few minutes quiet contemplation while I waited that day.
And I started hearing Crazy Face inside my head
About the time the elevator doors opened, they slid apart to the final words, “I got it from Jesse James”. I half expected Van Morrison to step forth, but he did not.
We never really think about the soundtrack playing in other people’s heads unless we’re engaging in heinous stereotyping. In those situations, music becomes another joke lopped in with the food that they must eat and the car that they must drive.
I imagine that the internal soundtrack is mostly situational for everyone. The tunes are influenced by movie soundtracks and whatever we heard the last time that we were in a similar situation.
Or, like me, you played a given recording over and over in order to prepare for a situation. My wife might suspect (and now knows) that I listened to Van Morrison’s His Band and Street Choir on heavy repeat for a couple hours before the night that I proposed. Nothing about it became our song and I didn’t carry a boombox with me for the occasion.
But the songs stay with me to this day, popping up at the strangest moments.
All right, the fact that I occasionally start hearing I’ve Been Working on the drive home from work at the end of the week is probably not too out there. Yet, I don’t know how the other people in line at the bank feel when I start humming Call Me Up in Dreamland. They’re probably just grateful that it’s not Pretty Boy Floyd.
What’s it all about?
You’ve Got to Check This Out is a blog series about music, words, and all sorts of artistic matters. It started with an explanation. 74 more to go.
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