Yes, the David Bowie song. Never much cared for Bowie. And the message in the song … well, it’s OK (and covered elsewhere). I’m not even focusing on that; just the opening chords of piano and lush strings, leading into the introductory groove. That somehow conjures up the image of approaching the Berkeley-Carteret Hotel from the northwest after eluding my parents on that Sunday that I didn’t want to go home. And then, finding myself inside the hotel, and then running into my mother in the hotel’s lounge. The very MOR-like chord changes in the verses sound very conversational … my mother telling me it’s time to go home. But no, I tell her … something has changed in me, and I can never be that kid you want me to go home to be.
But go home I did, changes or no. When I got up from my bed that Sunday afternoon … after bawling my eyes out to the tune of “How Much I Feel” … I was changed. Not in a way my parents wanted me to. Oh no. I changed … my way. Look out, you rock’n’rollers. Pretty soon you’re gonna get older. (Maybe “Changes” should go on that album of covers that I wanted to record … I’m not passionate about the song, per se, but it does tell the story.)
That Sunday night I went to sleep and had a dream. I was the negotiator for the United States at a conference regarding nuclear arms. The Soviets were playing hardball, and I played ball just as hard. The Soviets did not like what I had to say, so they packed up and left the conference … and within minutes, their superiors back in the USSR pushed their buttons. The US was hit by Russian nukes, and I was the one blamed for it. The weight of the end of the world was on my shoulders. Those few survivors that saw me turned away from me, and no matter how hard I tried to explain, they still rejected me. And that’s how I woke up. Not too long later I related this dream to two of my friends, who tried to help me find some sort of meaning to it. But none came.
Maybe I was trying to find the meaning of the cataclysmic events of Thanksgiving 1978. Not a war, no loss of life, to be sure. But still—something that changed my life dramatically, and the people who had been around me all this time suddenly became people I could not relate to. And they could not relate to me either.
What can I tell you …
Strange fascination, fascinating me.
Changes are taking the pace I’m going through.
Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.
Where the change took place.
This was originally written on September 9, 2011.