When I am in France or Italy (okay, okay, that's a total of three occasions, but I'm willing to draw a conclusion from them) and attempting to speak the language, I find that it stirs up my brain in weird ways, making me unable to remember the simplest English words and effortlessly produce many of the 50-cent variety.
It seems the stress and anxiety of the past few weeks (months) has done something similar to my musical brain. I lay in bed last night with about eight bars of wordless melody running repeatedly through my head. I could tell they were the end of a verse, but could not remember the chorus. I tried picturing the CDs in our collection, and then the albums, and I thought about artists, and genres, and finally it came to me: Billy Joel's "Downeaster Alexa." A song that is not in our collection, and a song I am pretty sure I have not heard since I saw the Brown Derbies perform it twelve years ago.