What’s In a Name? Misheard Lyrics On the Camino.

A fellow pilgrim snapped this photo of Christine pointing out Venus to me, as we watched the sun set over the wheat fields of the Meseta plateau, or as we call it– the Bread Pan. Two weeks of round the clock contact can make or break a friendship, luckily for us it has been the former and we now know and accept each other in all of our imperfect glory. 

We spend most of our days singing, belting and humming. Sometimes it’s a chorus of a Beatles song at dawn, paling into silence along with the stars once we realize the chorus is all we actually know. Occasionally Christine puts up with a rendition of Gangsta’s Paradise, and unfortunately I do know all of the words to that gem. Ever so often we will manage to go through a song in its entirety, like Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You  though this is also unfortunate for the pilgrim whose broken body won’t carry him out of earshot fast enough. We have sang everything from Gershwin to Rihanna in varying degrees of off key-ness and it has been oh so fun.

One of my favorite things about C is her complete inability to properly identify the names of musicians, actresses, or songs while still enthusiastically conjuring up what she must suspect are completely wrong identities for all three. Luckily, I have become an expert at deciphering the actual person or lyric or song title so that when she says “Trombone Guy” she means “Piano Man.”

The other day when we were trying to think of a Michael Jackson song to sing she beamed and said “Annie Get Your Gun!” Not so much the name of a song by the King of Pop as the name of a Wild West themed musical from the 1940s.

“You mean Billie Jean?”


That actually happened. I know, it’s amazing. Both, that she confused an 80s classic with a mid-century one and that I was able to figure it out. Allow me to demonstrate the workings of one sun stroked  pilgrim’s mind.

First, C though of Jeanie instead of Jean. Jeanie became Janie and that brought her to Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got a Gun.” Because Christine loves musicals more than she loves Aerosmith and Mr. Jackson combined, the word gun triggered the memory of show tunes and sharp shooting Annie and yet another gleeful, completely inaccurate title. To know her is to love her. 

It’s wonderful to be able to read someone that well, and in just two weeks no less, because really our friendship, though promising was still in its infancy before we came here. That gift, the gift of timetraveling to sisterhood via unapologetic musical butchering is one I’ve only ever found while hobbling my way to Santiago. 

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