Lost in Dreams of Adulthood

The gym I currently belong to is the 10th Ave Athletic Club in the YWCA in downtown Portland. I joined it because I love Nicole, the morning yoga teacher. Now, I just love the gym in general. The people there are nice, everyone is there to do their own thing, not to look pretty or meet a potential mate. It is a perfect gym, except for one thing—day after day, the music that plays throughout the gym is from the 80s
I grew up in the 80s. I was five when the decade began and 15 when it ended, so music from those years brings me straight back to my childhood and adolescence. Hearing this mishmash of music: leftover disco, metal, pop, new wave and rap inevitably calls up very vivid memories.
It’s 1988. I’m 13 and in that period where school doesn’t really take up much of my time and I am too young to have a job. I’m not so much into sports and so most of my spare time is spent with Adam Curry and the top 20 video countdown and MTV viewing in general. This might have been the year when I watched all 10 hours of the top 100 video countdown. Hearing some songs now, nearly 20 (!) years later, I can clearly recall their videos.
“Lost in You” Rod Stewart. Not one of his better known songs, but boy, did it make an impression on never-been-kissed me. The song: Rod Stewart sings of pining for his unnamed woman, who he has been separated from for unknown reasons. The setting: Rod is working as a bartender in a strip joint, looking sad and unsatisfied. There may have been inter-cutting to the unnamed woman he was pining for. She may have been writhing on the bed. I’m sure there was some writhing, it was a staple of 80’s videos. All I know about writhing, I learned from MTV.
The lyrics still transport me. They were so adult, and I was old enough to understand what he was singing about; I just hadn’t experienced it.
Hey baby
You’ve been on my mind tonight
I’m so lonely
I just had to sit down and write
I spent all yesterday
Trying to figure out what I’m gonna say
A letter from the heart
is so hard to start baby
How’s your mama, how’s the weather
How’s that son of mine, yeah
Rod not only misses unnamed woman, he also has a child with her and is working hard to write a letter. No boy had ever written me a letter from the heart at that point, but it sounded great. I also liked how he started the letter. It is so polite to ask how her mother is first! Thinking about the video now, did the bartending job in the strip joint pay that much more than wherever his family was? Did they not have strip joints in the town?
Hey baby
Been a long time since we made love
I’m stone cold, the bed’s hard
and the work is tough
I’m never gonna leave you again
This job ain’t worth the pain
No money in the world
ain’t worth being away from you
Ooh baby I don’t sleep
without you by my side, listen
Still to this day, I love the line, “I’m stone cold, the bed’s hard and the work is tough.” Here Rod questions his commitment to his bartender/strip joint career. But then, the lyrics that I really pined for someone to feel about me:
I’m in love with you woman
It’s a common known natural fact
And I’ve found what I’m looking for
And it’s so much more than that
I’m lost in you, I’m lost in you
So much of these adult themes sound so exotic at 14: the casual mention of making love, the “common known natural fact” that he is in love with her. Next we find out that in the past, Rod needed some saving:
Hey baby
you don’t know what you’ve done for me
I’m so happy
as any man can deserve to be
I was living in a life of sin
God knows what a mess I was in
So glad you found me
I ain’t getting any younger
Hey baby I just hope
it ain’t all a dream

I guess things were worse before. I particularly love the line about “I ain’t getting any younger” At the time this song came out, he was sort of an elder statesman of rock. Twenty years later, he is officially old. I’m not sure he’s caught on to that though.
I miss your laughing eyes
I miss our baby crying
I wanna lay you out
and kiss you all over
I’m coming home real soon
Be ready cause when I do
I’m gonna make love to you
Like fifteen men.
My adolescent self liked that bartending/strip joint Rod missed normal people things like “laughing eyes” and babies crying. The making love like 15 men? I couldn’t imagine what that would be like, but I loved to sing along, with feeling.
I think was the thing about being an adolescent. So many adult things sounded so great to me. They also seemed so very far away. How romantic; life forcing a separation. Would this exciting event ever happen to me? When I actually experienced it, it wasn’t so great at all. It was boring and lonely and there was a lot of pining. I don’t think I thought of this song once.
I’ve been mulling “Lost in you” for a few days, and My favorite TV columnist, Peter Ames Carlin, also deconstructed a song this morning in his column. (go here)

One thought on “Lost in Dreams of Adulthood”

  1. I was trying to remember if I am familiar with this song, but I don’t think so. During that time, if it wasn’t top 40, I probably didn’t know about it! How would I even know about “She was a fast machine…” if it weren’t for you and Cindy. Its funny though, I feel that very same way about the Tori Amos album, Little Earthquakes (which cam out in 1992 – so doesn’t quite fit this post). I should listen to it again to see what my perspective on it is now. I can even tell you which boy that the album helped me to comepletly pine and be depressed over. But wait, it was 1992 – so you probably know which boy it was. Hmm…I better get that tape out right away (oh no, I dated myself again…) -Sara

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *