The Force

Delta Moon in Berlin

For more than two weeks now we’ve been surrounded by people speaking German, a language no one in the band understands. We’ve been getting along okay. Many Germans, especially in the west, speak English. We’ve picked up enough words to read a menu or pay in a store, and we learn a little more every day.

At breakfast today Darren said, “I wake up in the morning with German voices in my head. I can’t understand any of it, but they just keep going. Is that happening to you, too?”

As a matter of fact, yes. My mind keeps playing with German consonants, vowels and rhythms, even when I’m thinking in English.

After a show a few nights ago, I was standing with a glass of wine in my hand and nothing on my mind. Beside me our agent, Klaus Steigmeier, and another man were talking in German. Suddenly I realized that, without worrying about vocabulary or tenses or declensions or anything like that, I was following their conversation perfectly.

I said, “I think I understand what you’re saying.”

Klaus said, “What are we talking about?”

I said, “Mechanical men on clocks.”

“Yes!” he said. “That’s right.”

Of course, this is not to say that I suddenly understand German, let alone speak it. Not even close. Yet in a moment of relaxation I did far better than when I’ve focused and tried to force things.

The mind is an amazing thing. Maybe if I can just get out of my own way I’ll learn to use it better.

Maybe the force is with us after all.


4 replies
  1. Linda Clark
    Linda Clark says:

    What an interesting story, Tom! We’ll expect to hear you speaking some German when you come home.

    It reminds of the time I had been taking 3rd year French and one night I had a dream in that language. When I woke up I remembered speaking some words we hadn’t studied in our vocabulary. I looked them up in a French dictionary, and there they were. I guess I had seen or heard them before and they were tucked away in a brain cell somewhere even though I didn’t realize I knew them. The brain is an amazing thing.

    I hope you’re enjoying your tour and that it’s a success. There’s a lot to see in Germany. If Cathy stays with her current job, she’ll have the chance in a few years to go on a company-paid trip (with her family) to the company’s headquarters in Munich. She’s looking forward to it.

    Take care, have fun, and take plenty of pictures.


  2. Anna
    Anna says:

    Fabulous story. I’d like to think I have these little mechanical germans in my head who help me get places on time and help me keep my bathroom clean. I think they love southern blues too – gott sei dank!

  3. Hans
    Hans says:

    I have seen you last Friday in the Bluesgarage – what a remarkable concert! I live about 150 kilometers away from Isernhagen, which is more than 90 miles. But your gig was worth it any single kilometer. Thank you very much for coming to the Bluesgarage – probably one of the best clubs between here and everywhere.


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