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Lineman meaning

(posted by mary t on September 6, 2002 at 23:22:39)


I have a feeling it's more simple than it first appears. Let's take a look at the lyrics, courtesy of

I am a lineman for the county and I drive the main road
Searchin' in the sun for another overload.
I hear you singing in the wires, I can hear you in the whine
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line.

You know I need a small vacation, but it don't look like rain.
And if it snows that stretch down south will never stand the strain.
And I need you more than want you, * and I want you for all time.
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line.

Ok, he's a lineman for the county, meaning he fixes the telephone wires for a living (he's not a football player). He's lonesome and thinking about his woman who is far away, they've had their problems but they still love each other. He's pining away all alone out there on the road and apparently wires whine (I think this part is probably poetic rather than based on actual observation, but who knows?) which reminds him of her voice (also hopefully symbolic as opposed to literal). He needs a small vacation but can't get away until there is bad weather, but if it snows he'll have a lot to do since the stretch down south won't be able to stand the strain. This is an indication that the song takes place in late fall or early winter.

In short, he is stuck in a tough job with little time off to spend with his honey. A problem. I think it's basically a working man's ballad of the lonely life on the road, yearning for the companionship of his lover so far away and chosing to imagine her in the metaphor of the telephone wires, these inanimate objects that carry so much emotion across time and space, connecting people far away. Hope that helps!


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