Sunday, June 22, 2014

Year of the Cat

Well, after roughly a year, I finally figured it out.

In all the posts in which I describe the musical note B (or H), its major/minor chords, and all the stuff, or baggage, that comes with it for me, I mention or reference a song I heard at Wal-Mart that made the note extremely obvious to me in that way.

It was something I would hear while doing picks. That task is a quiet, mildly tedious one. You're by yourself in a narrow aisle formed by tall shelves (we refer to them as bins) with a scan gun, reading the labels on dozens of boxes; upon finding the right one, you scan it and take the box out to put on a cart to be taken to the floor. Almost always, that box (or pack) is under other items and it's just a demanding, tedious, yet individual task. I'm always absent-mindedly listening to the music. Over the past couple of summers, I'd often spend my alone time doing the picks wondering about how far my feelings went for a person who worked out in the McDonalds, someone from high school. Last summer, it would flit through my mind and then I'd hear this bit of music and instantly see her personality and face.

I figured it out as B through experimenting with it on my keyboard, and took note of it, and would go on to realize that other songs I already knew that made me see the same person used the same note at the same moment. But I never figured out the actual song. It was so frustrating because it's a quiet song and I'd never notice it until that actual part played, and that's the last verse. After that, you get instrumental until it just fades away. Every single time. It's funny that I could never name the song that inspired this whole self-discovery or reflection.

Tonight was the night I finally realized it was on before that part, and I ended up getting up on top of a stacked pallet with my phone held up to the loudspeaker in the ceiling to at least capture a lyric or two by recording a video. I tried having my mother listen to it first; she decided it was someone named Gerry Rafferty. I looked him up; I couldn't find it, and instead found 'Baker Street' (that slightly annoying song with the long saxophone verse, which also played in Wal-Mart for a time). When I tried writing what I thought I heard down, the result was Al Stewart, and his song 'Year of the Cat.'
Bingo.

Rafferty and Stewart aren't that far off. I listened to a few of Rafferty's songs and his voice and music aren't that different. They come from the same time-period and they've both from Scotland.

I looked it up in terms of information and read the lyrics. What I read and what I heard told me that it was about a tourist who apparently spontaneously gets together with a woman and then misses his bus and misplaces his ticket. The country isn't named. I wonder where? I'd say Yugoslavia (as it was at the time) but that's just my own bias. For some reason I actually feel like I'd want to go there someday. I mean Serbia when I say that.

The exact part of the song I've been referencing, though, is about 4:49 minutes in. Particularly when he sings the word "rhythm." There are other parts of the song where the same B is played, but this is the most obvious (and the part I always heard or noticed) because his voice harmonizes with that note perfectly. Or his voice is simply also in B. "But the drum beat strains of the night remain in the rhythm of the newborn day."

Listening to it now, loud and clear and not at work, I get a sort of welcome feeling when I hear that exact bit. I see the same face and feel a little wistful. There's definitely some yearning there. Warmth, and simple notions of right and good. I shouldn't put personality into it because it's much more likely that it's how I feel and see what it is (or who it is) I see. And this started my whole crusade with B and who it puts in front of me.

The reality of everything in this is that the personality I see is purported. It's not her personality or their personality or whatever; it's what I see, it's what I want to see, what I envision in that person. What I feel, and what my mind develops. Everyone has a perception of other people. If you like someone, you're going to see their normal traits, and rainbows and gold will shine out of them to you. You build a version of them in your mind that you want to see. This "B" girl - and the 'In The City' girl - and any others - are simply just romanticized, exaggerated, imaginary characters that my mind has created based on their very normal temperaments and personality traits, all of which I find attractive. They didn't ask to be part of my synesthetic landscape and depth, they probably have no clue or interest in it, they didn't even really do anything for my benefit. They just knew me, and existed as they naturally are.

Anyway. It's like a birthday treat for me that I finally figured this song out (my birthday is today). 'Year of the Cat.' The original B, at least in terms of my noticing it. What a note/chord/scale. What people - people who are simply who they are, whether exaggerated in my synesthesia or not, which is just awesome. Thanks for being there.

Justin C.

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