I had a dream. It was night and the headlights of a car illuminated a gate of a country house. It was as if I was looking at them sideways at their height, as if I were a child. I felt that feeling of security and warmth of going home with your family, a very positive feeling that was imprinted on me with that same image of the dream. The car headlights were round and chrome. There were four of them. In the middle was a V-shaped grille with a round logo on the top that always reminded me of a time when life was different, it had another, more natural rhythm. A time when when you were traveling or simply taking a ride you were untraceable and to call someone you had to look for a pay phone. It was also the most glorious period of the brand of that logo and I associate it with my childhood and a pre-digital period, with more human rhythms. It was the Alfa Romeo logo on a front panel typical of those years: Oo=V=oO.
Things change. Life is a becoming. What happens has consequences. It’s natural. The big changes in life, those that leave a mark, that cause the greatest stress and therefore require a greater readjustment of a person’s life, come sooner or later for everyone: bereavements, changes or loss of jobs, relocations, marriages and separations, births of children. They are both positive and negative stress. You are no longer the same when you become a parent, nor when you lose a loved one. As far as my life is concerned, the most beautiful and intense positive stress was the birth of my son: I discovered that you can’t describe how you feel, you only understand it when it happens to you; the feeling I describe to those who ask me is that I felt finally “complete”. So far the worst negative stress that has happened to me has been the loss of my job.
Two things made it heavier than it normally is: the struggle and sacrifices I made to get to the job I dreamed of and the critical age at which I lost it, shortly after I was 50. It was like being in no man’s land, too young to retire, too old to be hired again.
I was born and raised in Italy and obviously I have been exposed to our musical culture. I’ve been humming songs since before going to school. I also sang the musical parts, for the fun of the many uncles and aunts who buzzed around me. Then I started putting my hands on a toy keyboard and finally got to the guitar around the age of 11. Of course I played the Italian songs I listened to on the radio. But a voice inside me told me I needed something more…
I used to feel Christmas as a kid a lot. I’m not talking about the happiness of receiving gifts and phrases like “we’re all nicer to each other and merrier today”. Even then I felt that there was something special, something that I still like today. My son now keeps saying that Santa Claus doesn’t exist and that we put the presents under the tree. He’s “exposed” us a while ago, that’s normal. But my wife insists on the Santa story, she wants to keep some magic in him. And I agree, also because the “magic” of Christmas has always existed and despite the consumerism and the stereotypes, it continues to exist.
The greatest stresses a human being is exposed to during life are thought to be: the loss of a loved one, marriage and divorce, a new job or being fired, a relocation, and the birth of a child. We all have to confront ourselves with most of them sooner or later, there is no way to avoid it, that’s life. I know someone who has never changed address since he was born (when he got married he moved to another floor in the same building); he divorced eventually but he kept living in the same flat. He had lost his father too early and had to get himself a job when he was very young. Maybe he never changed home and ended up with no children to spare himself some stress.