woman driving man sleeping
with a suitcase on the rack
white lines shooting by on the pavement like the sky
looking straight ahead into the black

woman driving man sleeping
there's no radio to play
sitting with a map laying crumpled on her lap
looking for the toll money to pay

man sleeping is man dreaming
in a large apartment house
walking and knocking on doors

woman driving man sleeping
passing all the other cars
searching in the black but never turning to look back
a little metal box under the stars

man sleeping is man dreaming
in a large apartment house
walking and knocking on doors

woman driving man sleeping
woman driving man sleeping

Lyrics submitted by Don Jerone

Woman Driving, Man Sleeping song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentA quick google search yielded this page: [cs.stir.ac.uk/~twi/eels/…], where there is a quote from the artist:
    "It's about being in between two things, they've left something behind and they're heading towards something else."

    The woman isn't leaving the man--it's exactly the opposite. They're heading out into the void together to start a new life. The man is dreaming about their future together (there will be plenty of doors to be knocked on, i.e. opportunities) and he's content to sleep while she chooses the path they will take.

    I think the little metal box reference is meant to show how small they feel compared to the universe (the stars). But they don't care! They are in charge of their fate. And the possibilities, like the universe, are endless.

    This reminds me of a quote from the Naked Gun: "Perhaps the love of a man and a woman doesn't amount to a hill of beans, but this is our hill, and these are our beans."

    Lovely song.
    intrepidchickenon July 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that this song is about a woman who left her husband, because he doesn't, or won't, realize who she even is, and she's dug herself into a life that doesn't satisfy her inner self at all, so she's leaving. The man is clueless and will never understand why she did it.
    pheineon June 22, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always figured that man was in the car with woman, but they never do mention WHERE he is, so Pheine may be on to something. Is he sleeping in the apartment house, or is his dream in an apartment?
    I thought the latter. The punctuation doesn't make anything any more clear.

    The music may be a large part of the song, according to the way I'm leaning. Being awake vs. subconsiousness. When it goes into the Man Dreaming chorus, the music becomes much "happier" (for lack of a better word). Compare to the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields," which has a similar theme to it, i.e. reality vs. not.

    What's the importance of dreaming of knocking on doors in an apartment building? Well, the woman's perception is that there's NOTHING, NO ONE, around. Just their car, forever rolling away into nowhere. In an apartment house, there's all kinds of people stacked right on top of each other, and apartment houses are usually in suburbs, cities-- highly populated areas.

    In our own subconsious, we're comfortable. We don't need to live out of a suitcase. We don't need a map because we know where we are and where we're going. We aren't limited to looking forward in our minds. We aren't (or shouldn't be) afraid of our pasts.

    Perhaps Pheine's thoughts and mine are interchangeable. Maybe Woman did leave Man in his apartment and he doesn't know why.

    It's rather vauge, and maybe I'm trying to pull too much out of it.

    one of my favorites on Souljacker.

    Greyshoeson February 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti always thought the man was dreaming that he was in an apartment house, but i agree with you that pheine may be right. although i did like the picture of 'woman driving man sleeping' in one car.

    if pheine is correct the large apartment house - little metal box contradiction makes more sense as well.
    innion February 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is basically about that feeling of excitement you get when driving at night and you feel tired, you get this sort of extra energy boost that makes you more aware of everything. This song is just tapping into that feeling so that you feel like that when you listen to it.

    'white lines shooting by on the pavement like the sky
    looking straight ahead into the black'

    I think it's also about journeys in general, taking a leap into the unknown and having the determination to not look back and worry about wether or not you are doing the right thing, though I like to think the man and woman are in the same car, and are simply taking turns at sleeping.
    pikmindoctoron July 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou know how it feels to be a passenger in a car, and to feel so comfortable with the person driving, and to have enough trust that they'll get you where you need to go, that you fall asleep? It's very comforting. I think this song touches on that feeling.
    ikickedagirlon December 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI used to think the Man in the car for a good while, but it is not mentioned in the song anywhere. Instead, the man wakes up and, finding his woman gone, walking and knocking on doors, looking for her. "man sleeping ... in a large apartment house" only made sense after I accepted this interpretation.

    The main picture describes the solemn feeling of the woman on a journey "a little metal box under the stars"; although E cleverly never uses the word "alone" he describes it so well. I think thinking the man is in the car is a trap he has set up deliberately in the chorus "woman driving man sleeping".

    Also "there is no radio to play" to me suggests something about the nature of running away (and not about the imposed silence of a sleeping passenger). Like she took an old car and didn't really prepare for the journey.

    To me, it makes a lot more sense if man is in bed, woman in car; each of them get's their own piece section and only in the chorus the relationship is mentioned by what each of them does.

    Anything that would be common between them (such as man searching for woman, woman taking toll money from his purse, him reading the map etc.) is very carefully avoided.
    RealRaven2000on December 20, 2011   Link

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