Following up on yesterday’s musings about lyric-writers doing very heavy drugs while writing certain songs, what about when something sounds good in song but is impossible in real life? To whit, “Starting over.”
I’ve got to say I have no idea what that means. It’s always used in terms of a romantic couple “starting over” after they’ve reached an impasse, but how?
One of the attributes of human beings is this nifty little thing called memory. It’s rather amazing, actually. When I interact with people, I have become habituated to their mannerisms because I remember the other times I’ve interacted with them. That’s why the nice ladies at the bus stop wince whenever I start to talk: because they remember that I tend to say stupid things at great length.
Within a romantic couple, they’ve become habituated to one another and used to behaving in a certain way to each other. Things have become deadlocked and now, as the song says, they can “start over.”
How would they do that? Literally come up to each other at the library and say, “Hey, do you come here often? My name is Joe”?
We don’t forget as easily as we’d like, even if we come to an understanding, even if we’ve forgiven. We carry our past forward and in many cases the past is written in our present.
Couples say they do get a new start sometimes, but in reality what they’ve done is re-energized their relationship while carrying forward the things they learned from the relationship’s near-failure. (Retrouvaille is a good program for achieving that.) But those same tendencies will still be there. We can’t “start over” and pretend the bad stuff never happened or else it’ll happen all over again, probably worse than before.
This isn’t a case of lyricists smoking the good drugs. It’s more a case of wish fulfillment: how many of us wish we had an “undo” button for our lives?
We don’t want a fresh start, though, no matter what we say. What we want is to keep the experience and lose the hurt. Regain the enthusiasm but retain the caution. But that doesn’t scan as well as “start all over again,” so I guess we’re stuck for now.