This song finds Carpenter reflecting on one of the most upsetting days she had to endure after divorcing her husband, contractor Timmy Smith. "That was a moment-by-moment replay of having to clean out my former spouse's things from my house," she explained to Billboard magazine. "I think anyone who has ever had to do that will testify that it's pretty harrowing to do that. It was a very difficult day. Writing this song and reliving every moment. The repeating line is 'These are your instructions,' and the reality is that there are no instruction manuals for getting through something like this. You just have to steel yourself, and be as strong as you possibly can."
In Gary Numan's "Cars," the message is that cars lead to a mechanical society devoid of personal interaction. This didn't stop automakers from using it in commercials. Both Nissan and Oldsmobile have used it in ads.