Saturday morning, around 6am I was wakened by a man singing in the street. In a Latin accent thickened by drink my troubadour bellowed -there is no other verb to describe it- the following ditty.
I'm thinkin' I want my water bottle
I'm thinkin' I want my water bottle
Water bottle, water bottle.
Between renditions of this song (there appeared to be only one verse, though he did improvise some changes) he alternated -rapidly- between passionate declarations of love ("I love you, Juanito, man!") and hate ("I hate you, N****!") At some point a woman's voice entered the fray. She was much quieter, most of the time I couldn't make out what she was saying though "go home" did ring out clearly every once in a while. The troubadour took exception to this advice ("Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!") would bellow "La Policia," then return to his song.
Even though this went on for at least an hour, I was uncharacteristically relaxed, even amused by all this. Sure I wondered why Juanito wasn't returning the fellow's water bottle, seemed like that would be an easy solution to the problem, but undoubtedly there were complications I knew nothing about. Even so, I really didn't mind the disturbance too much. Partly this was because The Water Bottle Song triggered thoughts of another song, one my sister reminded me of over the holidays, The Elephant Song.
Two elephants went out to play
All on a spider's web one day
They had such, enormous fun
They called for another elephant to come
Three elephants went out to play
Maybe hearing my sister's voice singing this song (and recalling the context in which it came up) is why I was mostly amused by Water Bottle's antics. I love the surreality of this tune; I mean, elephants playing on a spider's web? "Enormous fun"? This song is genius, and fortunately for me was the one more likely to be played on the continuous loop in my head. I like it. If you're not familiar with this song, let me tell you the tune is also pretty catchy.
It does come with some dangers though. The fact that it counts UP rather than down strikes me as trouble in the making; I mean, when do you stop? Naturally thinking about this triggered thoughts of another song.
99 bottles of beer on the wall
99 bottles of beer
Take one down
Pass it around
98 bottles of beer on the wall.
This song has none of the charm or inventiveness of the Elephant Song, in my opinion, I might even prefer the Water Bottle Song over this one, but at least you know it's going to end sometime. This then reminded me (ah the associations one's brain makes at 6 in the morning) of a story a friend of mine told me. When he was ten or so, this friend was on a car trip with his parents, when he elected to sing every verse of the Bottles of Beer Song, starting from some ludicrously high number. I want to say he started with a million, but it was probably a thousand. In recounting this story, he and I both marveled at the fact that not only did his folks not choose to muzzle him, stuff him in a suitcase and put him in the trunk of the car, they DIDN'T EVEN ASK HIM TO STOP SINGING. Every single verse, he sang every single one. All the way through. Because it amused him. He thought it was funny. Entertaining even. One thousand verses of this song scrupulously rendered.
Dear sweet mother of God.
Either his parents were masters of meditation, and tuned him out, or they deserve sainthood. I suppose it's possible they were so smitten with their youngest child that they were actually entertained by his singing, but come on, how likely is that? Nobody can love their child that much.
So, thanks to the troubadour, I've had all three of these songs popping into my brain at regular intervals over the last two days. And now, probably so will you. Well, the ones you know, anyway.