Yesterday afternoon the sound of “Greensleeves” drifted through the open door of the shop. It wasn’t the instrumental version, with its memories of school music lessons and a youthful Henry VIII, but the tinny ice cream van version. According to the Wikipedia entry for Greensleeves, it’s probably not by Henry VIII, and it is a common earworm.
Where do I go from here?
I could discuss Henry VIII. I could talk about the psychology of ice cream van music. Or I could tell you that when I was working in Africa a letter arrived from my mother telling me my cousin had been killed on his motorcycle I had Linda Ronstadt’s Blue Bayou playing at the time.
Every time I hear the song it takes me back to that letter. Everytime I think of that letter, the song starts in my head. And every time the subject of earworms crops up the whole thing starts going round in my head. It doesn’t happen often, but like now, when it crops up the whole thing starts again.
Forty years have passed since it happened and though the image is fresh in my mind, it’s simply there and no longer evokes any emotion. This might be natural, or it may be I’m just not very sensitive.
It’s the same with the car accident flashbacks. After a lifetime of driving I’ve been in a few accidents and near misses as driver or passenger. With one exception, which happened nearly 30 years ago, they’ve not really made much of a mental impression on me.
One of them caused flashbacks. I don’t know why, but for a while I was getting two or three a week. They gradually declined over the first year until it was one or two a year, then none for a couple of years. However, when they did come they were quite disturbing. The last one was about five years ago and it woke me up with a feeling of panic just as I was drifting off to sleep.
Since then I’ve rarely thought of it and it no longer bothers me when I do. It’s now just a memory.
I suppose this is how we are meant to be – you can’t worry about everything in life or you’d break down.
Well, that’s been quite a journey – from ice cream vans to road traffic accidents. All I meant to say was that after two fire engines and a police car it was nice to hear an ice cream van.