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.