Dishwalla: Counting Blue Cars Meaning
Song Released: 1996
Counting Blue Cars Lyrics
I could tell by how far,
The childs shadow stretched out,
He walked with a purpose,
In his sneakers down the street,
He had many questions,
Like children often do,
Tell me all your thoughts of...
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:anonymous Sep 12th 2013 report
I often enjoy when a songwriter uses imagery to tell a story, because it leaves the interpretation up to each person who hears it, resulting in endless possible meanings, based on each listener's life experiences.
For me, I see a little boy, full of life and determination (walked with a purpose in his sneakers), and the songwriter is a first responder to this kid being struck by a car (down the street; child's shadow = blood pool). Mid-afternoon seems to refer to the realization that the boy is dying, but hanging on. The boy is conscious and asking if he is going to die and go to Heaven (Tell me all your thoughts on God; Am I very far?) Then in the ambulance, escorted by police (only blue cars), speeding through intersections (skip the cracks in the streets), the process of dying advances (late afternoon), resulting in the moment where you get better before you get worse, seeing a light from Heaven (on the way, the sun broke free of the clouds). The child knows he is dying (on my way to see her), but isn't sure how long it will be (Am I very far, now?) Then, once they reach the hospital (shoes make hard noises in this place), the boy dies (it's getting cold) and the paramedics, who did everything they could (our clothes are stained), rush the boy to surgery (pick up the pace), passing upset, confused (cross-eyed) people in the hall. The paramedics know he's gone and begin to wonder why this type of thing happens to an innocent child (we ask many questions).
Even as I write this, though, I see many other possible scenarios. That's what makes great art. It is open to interpretation.
Thank you, J.R. Richards and Dishwalla for this great work!
anonymous Aug 15th 2016 report
An older friend was walking a little boy home from school because the little boy's single Mom was working (Mom was the only parent the little child had ever known so he imagined God to be a 'Mother' figure). While walking along, the two played a simple game of who could spot the greatest number of blue cars that drove past, in the time it took to get home. The little boy was a determined little kid who enjoyed the challenge of the game. But all of a sudden, the little boy confronted his older friend with a really deep, seemingly random question.
"Tell me all your thoughts on God."
The child's question hit the older kid with a thud because he'd never really discussed 'God' with anyone before. Suddenly, the older kid was having to consider his own views about God, what life is and who we are. The impact of the child's question brought into immediate focus, the expectation that we will each meet God one day; though we don't know if it will be in 50 years, or 10 years, 1 year? Ten minutes? No one knows how long they will be here or ultimately, why they're here. The whole subject kind of stunned the older kid because he had never really considered any of this before. The randomness of the little boy's question and how it came suddenly from left field, mirrored the unexpected twists and turns of life. As the older boy pondered the deeper meaning of life, the every day "busy" routines of daily life began to seem trivial. The simplicity of that moment, and the innocence of this little child, who seemed to have very few people in his life with which to discuss the deeper questions created a watershed moment of compelling introspection that stayed with the older boy for a very long time. And it all began with a simple game of counting blue cars on their journey home - metaphorically speaking...
anonymous Nov 14th 2015 report
I feel that this is about an adult and a young child having a conversation about god.
Eventually, the adult starts to get confused and realise that there is no one clear interpretation of god (I changes to We in the second verse).
It's also possible that the child's question: am I very far now?is really innocent but the adult looks at it in a different way. This conversation somehow changes them and they become different from the people around them (hard noises, cross eyed people personally bring a feeling of not belonging).
Which leads me to my second interpretation, it's possible that they are both already dead and are walking what they think is god, but might be hell. Since heaven might not feel like they don't belong there, and it would not be cold.
These are my ideas :)
I was their muse I believe. They met me in Peoples Park Berkeley. The details. Hmm the words were spoken waiting outside a sound studio somewhere in the Bay Area . I left behind a pair of sneakers and my sleeping bag. I drew something in that ;)
I was shadowing a young kid who was in the details.
I can see the date of 1996 was years later then the original meeting in 1989 was probably because the purpose of me was that I took an honorable discharge from the USAF Academy because women weren't allowed to fly. And in 1993 the America allowed me to see that women could fly in the Air Force . And me...
I need(ed) their help.
Although I suppose one of you know one of Dishwalla now. Just laughingly ask them if they know Stephen Shea. I was trying to run from family and be a bodyguard, and a hero for America, and finding out what life was like at 22 ...
anonymous Jun 3rd 2013 report
I sort of agree with the anon who said it may be talking about a kid with a serious disease. This stuff may sound a bit morbid, but it's just speculation, because that's all we can really do. A reason for why they are refering to God as 'her", a quote for you--“Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children”-?
I think maybe the disease was probably something like cancer, the child's mother had it, and people with a history of cancer and similar diseases in their family have a higher risk of getting the disease themselves... He keeps on saying "I'm on my way to see her" and "Am I very far now", so the first, in my mind, sort of cements this theory; the second may be how close he is to seeing her, and I honestly can't help but ask if he has anything left, because of how he seems to anticipate what I feel is his death. Also, maybe it's the child asking if he's close to heaven... "It's getting cold, picked up the pace", wow, um... I think this has a double meaning, he's picking up the pace, to get home because it's getting cold/late... and maybe that the world is growing colder, and he has less than before, and things are getting emptier because he knows... Maybe he's a child, or maybe he feels like one. CHildren ask so many questions that are so simple, but sound so wise and beyond their years sometimes, which may be what is being represented when he the child asks for himto tell all his thoughts on God...
"Tell me all your thoughts on God." ^
"'Cause I would really like to meet her"- I think he's anticipating death
"And ask her why we're who we are"- I think this also counts in the "childish and simple, but wise beyond years" part
"'Cause I am on my way to see her"-sort of cements the fact that he's dying
"am I very far now, am I very far now?"- i sort of agree that these are saying "We're not very far now" instead of "Am I...", which means that they are dying... This song, it's honestly very beautiful. It always gives me that bittersweet, melancholic type of chills. I've always thought and felt that it meant something sad and depressing, yet also happy at the same time(when the child dies of the terminal illness, he dies[duh], which is sad, but he is also no longer suffering...), but I've never thought on it this much..... Please pardon any typing, grammar, or spelling errors; I'm not going to proof-read the comment/interpretation like I normally do, mainly because I'm tired and don't wish to deal with it right now...XP
anonymous Aug 28th 2012 report
My first impression of the song was that it was about a young child doing and thinking of the here and now and enjoying seeing things that as we get older are not new to us now like "stretched out shadow"; viewing the majesty of the "the sun broke free from the clouds"; "counting only blue cars"; "skip the cracks, in the street"; "how our shoes make hard noises in this place"; noticing "clothes are stained"; maybe seeing emptiness as "we pass many, crossed-eyed people". I think the chorus then represents a young child with a serious/fatal disease who is wise beyond his or her age and feeling there is or are questions to ask and be answered. I believe the song ends with "We're not very far now" instead of asking "Are we very far now". I could be wrong but I've listened to it dozens of times learning the lyrics. Deep to me.
anonymous Jul 9th 2012 report
I think this song is about a father taking his son to meet his mother for the first time who died giving birth to him. It sounds like they are in a cemetery (how our shoes make loud noises in this place). And "god" is a reference to the child's mother. Since mother is god in the eyes of a child.
anonymous Mar 23rd 2012 report
Okay, this song is simple yet vague. No one's posted a comment for it yet, so please elaborate on this if you have a better interpretation. My idea of its message is elementary at best, which may or may not be the actual theme behind this song.
So it opens up "Must have been mid-afternoon". To me, this could be referring to a time in the artist's life- later and well-seasoned, but still far from the end. He happens upon a 'child'. This could quite literally be someone of youth, or in a deeper sense someone the same age as the artist but unlike the artist(stay with me here) they are enlightened and humbled before their purpose or their God mentioned in the next lines, and so compared to a child, meek and ignorant.
Please note that in no way am I trying to accuse followers of God or purpose meek and ignorant; and, I may be getting a little philosophical here, but would the bliss of a child's ignorance not be the same as the bliss in pursuit of knowledge or enlightenment? And would this pursuit of purpose and "many questions" not be anything but enlightened when compared with the by-standing artist?
And so we're brought to the second verse, where it is now "late-afternoon"- the artist is older; however, the "sun breaking free of the clouds" could indicate his own enlightenment and becoming a 'child'.
As far as the chorus goes, I've got no really deep interpretation other than its the walk of their purpose. Their purpose is only to get closer to understanding their purpose, their enlightenment is simply knowing to look for it.
The last verse, for the purpose of this theme, would undoubtedly mean The End. Both the artist and his new-found friend are nearing the end of their journey, possibly deat i.e."It's getting cold picked-up the pace"
Either way there are numerous lines that I honestly have no clue what to think of: "We count only blue cars", I know its the name of the song, but I really have no idea what its significance might be. "Skipping cracks in the street", yea idk. I'm also not quite sure why they refer to God as "her", I'm not sexist but I've always been under the impression that God was probably male.
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