Familiar Strangers In My Head

March 31, 2010

For a good thirty years, I didn’t dream.

Well, that’s not actually true because we all dream, but, for thirty years, I rarely remembered my dreams.

I dreamed plenty up until I was five or six, so I was familiar with the concept, but I wasn’t aware of my participation.

One friend expressed concern that this quirk in my nocturnal wiring might indicate that I was a sociopath.

I thought it was the insomnia.

These days, I sleep better and, on occasion, I will have a dream that lives on past its use date. This morning, I woke from a dream in which I was wandering a ridiculously crowded shopping mall with Pizza, one of our cats, perched on my shoulders.

Paloma was shopping for a sweater and I was navigating the crowd, searching for a soft pretzel place.

I would rather not be in a mall and – knowing Pizza as I do – I suspect she wouldn’t be very happy, either.

On the other hand, both of us would enjoy a soft pretzel, so, you know, that part was a keeper.

But, as I wandered through that mall, skittish pet on my shoulders, there were faces that looked familiar but not as people I know (as far as I know) from this side of sleep.

There was a woman who almost ran us down outside the Orange Julius. She had a fur coat, large sunglasses, and channeled Anne Bancroft.

I think that she appeared in a dream months ago as a Waffle House waitress.

There was a nervous fellow standing outside a drug store. He was dressed like he worked in Mission Control Center for NASA in the early ’70s and sported a moustache that would have made Rollie Fingers weep.

I think he might have been a fellow patron in the Waffle House dream.

I now suspect that my subconscious has a stable of character actors and is using them as extras in my dreams.

Here is a quartet of stranger songs (mostly because nothing else seemed to fit)…

Heather Nova – Talking To Strangers
from Live From The Milky Way

I first stumbled across Heather Nova in the ’93 with her live EP Blow and was captivated by the ethereal vocals of the singer which soar and swoop.

If you’d asked me at the time, I would have predicted big things for the singer who spent a good deal of her childhood living on a sailboat in the Carribean with her family. It didn’t happen -maybe she just got lost in the Lilith Fair shuffle – but Talking To Strangers is a wonderful introduction to Nova.

The Kinks – Strangers
from Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One

When searching for songs for this post, this track by The Kinks popped up and I couldn’t place it. Listening to it, it sounded so familiar but not. I think it must have lodged into my head from the numerous times a friend played Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One years ago.

But, I’m certainly glad that I reaquainted myself with Strangers. It’s a lovely song, written and sung by Dave Davies, and apparently about Davies’ feelings about the state of the band and his relationship with brother Ray.

Rick Springfield – Don’t Talk To Strangers
from Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet

I had no problem placing Rick Springfield’s Don’t Talk To Strangers. Radio became an integrel part of my life right around the time that the television heartthrob from Australia was everywhere with Jessie’s Girl and I’ve Done Everything For You.

The paranoid and poppy Don’t Talk To Strangers continued Springfield’s success and it was inescapable during the summer of ’82. Sure it was almost Pavlovian to dismiss the songs as lightweight and I’ve never been more than a casual, occasional fan, but I rarely skip Springfield’s songs when they pop up on shuffle.

Eurythmics – Love Is A Stranger
from Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

On the other hand, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart were immediately and obviously cool on arrival.

Sweet Dreams might have been bigger, but I’ve always liked the chilly Love Is A Stranger more (partly, I’d guess, because it didn’t get played into the ground at the time).