This week we’re jumping all the way from Bleed American into Surviving with “Delivery”.
In this week’s episode I tell you about a recurring dream I had when I was a kid which, I could explain but…. it’s really best to listen to the episode. As always, I cap off the episode with my cover of “Delivery” followed by the bands original recording of the same; Like a palette cleanser at the end of a big meal, it should settle you in for a relaxing evening.
Listen now on Spotify!
Or read on below for the official transcript
I used to have this recurring dream when I was little. I’d have it so often there’s no way I’d be able to tell you just how many times I had it in total.
It was the same sequence of events every single time.
I’d be startled awake by a loud noise that would send me jolting upright in my bed.
My room looked exactly as it was back then and my eyes would veer straight to the door.
At that moment, through the door, which was always wide open already, would come two shadow-like figures.
They’d be dressed in all black like ninjas. One would roll in and settle on one knee, resting his elbow on it and holding up an object that I could never make out.
The other would run in with them and they’d both stop just inside the doorway, facing me.
I’d be too afraid to move and it would turn out that the objects in their hands were weapons, so I wasn’t so quick to jump back at them.
I’d then get a view of the next room over where one of the… let’s just go ahead and keep calling them ninjas. When I used to tell this story I always called them ninjas even though it seemed somehow more ridiculous.
So these ninjas the next room over then peered into a baby’s crib. And this is the point of the dream where eventually I’d start to realize, within the dream, that it was a dream.
We didn’t have a baby’s crib in our house. I was the baby of the family and at the time I started having these dreams I was well-beyond toddler-hood or whatever you call that age around 5 years old or so.
I watched, horrified, as one of the ninjas bent over the crib and pulled a baby out of the crib.
And then, with those other two ninjas still kneeling firmly within the doorway, I jumped out of bed, smashing into them, knocking them flat and I’d run into the next room.
And then I aggressively ran to the ninja in the next room and grabbed the baby from them.
We were now firmly in the climax of the dream. There was no music, but if there was it would be full of loud orchestral crashes as I struggled to make my way past the now 3-ninjas, down the hall, down the stairs, with a crying baby.
Instead of running out the front door which was right at the bottom of the stairs, I’d always run to the right into the kitchen instead.
Every time I did this.
In the kitchen would be another ninja but, no fight or anything would happen. I’d be surprised to see them, every time, and the way they looked at me I’d feel I had no choice but to give up the baby.
This type of ordeal was well above my paygrade.
My memory of that exchange is hazy; I’m not sure I ever really did give them the baby but that scene always just seemed to abruptly end and then I’d find myself a few feet over frantically dialing some numbers on the house phone.
The same phone we really had.
These type of real-life details always made navigating my dreams all that more tricky and confusing.
Now it was just me and the phone.
I’d be anxious the whole time even though there was no real perceivable threat around me.
I could hear the ninjas breaking things and causing commotion on the floor above me. It would seem, they’d never make it down the stairs, but in that moment of the dream I didn’t know that.
Finally someone would answer the phone and I could almost see them on the other end.
I’d rush through my emergency. “There are people in the house! This house! The one I’m calling from!”
And my first-person perspective would then shift to a second view where I could see my own little scared face talking into the phone receiver.
And then the strangest thing would happen.
A single gun shot.
And the perspective would change again.
I was no longer looking at myself or at what was around me – I was inside the coil of the phone.
I was a bullet.
Speeding through, spinning, winding through each coil, making my way to the other end of the phone.
Which end was it going?
Towards me? From me?
I could never tell.
I dropped the phone and it smacked against a marble countertop
Behind me, finally having made their way downstairs from a direction that made no logical sense in the scope of my family home, the ninja’s were approaching upon me again.
I turned toward the front door, fumbled with the handle like some sort of absolute idiot who no longer knew how doors worked, and in the last moment before my potential capture, ran out the door without any shoes on and into the street in front of my house, panting.
The perspective would change again and I’d see my face look back towards the house before making the decision to keep running.
And then I’d wake up.
This happened sometimes every night.
Sometimes it would be weeks between them.
But it was always the same dream in exactly this way.
The more it’d happen, I’d start to get a little better about recognizing when it was happening.
Almost boredly thinking to myself as the ninjas flew through the doorway of my bedroom, “These guys again?”
Until one night, the sequence of events changed slightly.
I knew how this one played out and it didn’t make sense to go through the same thing again and again and again and again.
And so after the ninjas barreled into my room and I swiftly got rid of them, I peered into the next room as the third ninja held up the baby.
And I continued down the hall.
I ran down the stairs.
There was still a commotion going on, and I still ran to that phone.
A gun shot.
I followed the bullet.
I was the bullet.
It made its way to the end of the receiver and the entire dream went black.
Was I dead?
Or did I kill somebody?
The picture would return and I’d be outside on the street again.
And this time when I looked back at the house, the entire house was on fire.
I was the only one that had made it out.
And the dream ends this time not with me running away but with me watching it burn.
And I know what you’re thinking, but no, that wasn’t the last time that I had that dream.
I’d have it a few more times after that.
And at least one other time, I’d peer into the next room and decide to leave the baby.
And the house would be engulfed in flames once more.
I don’t remember when I stopped having this dream but I do remember at various points in my young life thinking about it and wondering where it had gone.
Why have the same dream over and over and over again just for it to disappear from your consciousness and seemingly never return?
And I could never figure out what it meant. I tried, but no version of things that I could come up with led to anything logical or reasonable.
But it would seem at least, that abandoning the baby would continue to have disastrous consequences, so I’d better stop doing that.
A lot of my dreams were like this – an epic battle followed by flight.
Or sometimes there’d be no battle, I’d just be running away from something that was chasing me.
Which is to say I’d never seem to land myself in a dream where I was exactly where I wanted to be.
I always had to get away.
This… attitude followed me through my childhood and into my teens.
And I’m talking about reality now.
Despite being wholly awake, I’d always have the anxious feeling like I shouldn’t be where I am.
There was no one chasing me, but I always had to get away.
So I spent a lot of my youth thinking about where I wanted to be. Where could I go that would make me… not feel this way.
Where could I go that wouldn’t make me feel like I wanted to run away.
When the Surviving album came out I’d listen to it every single day on my train ride into work.
I used to wake up at about 4AM, take my dog for a quick walk, and then walk myself to the Go Train station before settling in for what was about a 40minute ride into Toronto.
Every day, the same schedule. The same trains.
I’d listen to that album in that time but I’d often listen twice to Delivery.
I think it’s the most infectious song on the record.
Like a soother, it’s calming. It made the boredom of the ride into work disappear and it would give me space and time to think about things that otherwise the busyness of my life outside this commute didn’t afford me.
About where I could go or what I could do, or what my life would look like, in the version of the world where I didn’t feel like I wanted to run away.
And as the snow began to coat the railway that winter I knew it’d be a long road ahead.
There might even be ferry crossings. I’ve always wanted to take one – a proper one, like the one that takes you from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Newfoundland on the east coast of Canada.
So I started thinking again about how to get there, physically. What could I do to realize that dream, that dream that had me running towards instead of away?
And it must have been the hundredth or so spin through Delivery before I’d realize the mistake I was making again.
I would never find that feeling in a place.
I would never be satisfied with being in just one space.
I’d never be able to just wait.
I don’t have that kind of patience and what patience I did have only led me right back to this same feeling that I’d spent so long trying to escape.
And finally I had to come to terms with the fact that I’d never be able to find what I was looking for in a world that wasn’t built for me.
Because the place I wanted to be… it didn’t exist here.
The world as it exists today puts limitations on all of us and actively works to stifle our potential. That’s not how I understood it when I was younger but it is how I understand it now.
But standing around waiting for things to change isn’t going to do you any good.
So if the place you want to be doesn’t exist from where you stand, then you must have to create it yourself.
And somewhere, someone out there, is waiting for what you have to offer them.
The thing you have to be willing to accept then before you start is that, you, or they, might never find it. Or once they see it, they might decide it’s not exactly the way they imagined it.
So make sure you enjoy what you can from the sights along the way because that’s the only part of this entire thing that’s guaranteed.
Today’s cover feature is, of course, “Delivery”.
My first stab at this track didn’t go well at all. I rushed through it, worried more about getting it done in a short amount of time instead of giving it the attention I felt it deserved.
Because these covers, to me, are a lot like that baby in the crib. If I neglect even just one of them, the entire set goes up in flames and I will be left to watch it burn down from the safety of the street.
I’m much more pleased with this reissue I put out months after the first. I’ll play that one for you now and then we’ll cap off today’s episode with Jimmy Eat World’s original recording of the same.
See ya at the same time next week.