John K. Samson has written some lonely songs, and while they all tend to dally with an existentialism-at-arms-length (he'd probably hate that), they do tend to typify his unique perspective, and rarely reflect the more common romantic tropes. This song is a miserable happy medium - my heart has been broken, so what does that make me?
I'd been thinking about his academia-oriented songs, when I heard this song mentioning an 'ampersand.' Knowing his knowledge of literature and his expertise with language, I looked up the lyrics, finding a story - and then, looking at the comments, I found an explanation.
"So, I'm the first one in again,
With the quiet and the window growing snow,
When I hear the furnace rouse itself
From its slumber, somehow suddenly I know,
As my eye stops on one curled up in my lesson plan
That I'm just your little ampersand.
When your voice springs from the intercom
With announcements, and reminders, and a prayer,
I remember how you made me feel,
I was funny, I was thoughtful, I was rare,
But like the jokes about my figure
Kids think that I don't understand
I know I'm just your little ampersand
After Christmas holiday
You never asked to drive me home again
Sometimes in the staff room I
Catch your eye with "why'd it have to end,"
But I know from how you worry at your wedding band
That I'm just your little ampersand
At the last conjunction after every other and
I was just your little ampersand"
From songmeanings.com user HellionChild:
"When playing this live John said it's about an elementary school teacher who falls in love with her principal. After writing it he wondered what inspired him and then realized it was the Simpsons. Edna Crabapple and Principal Skinner. Only this is set in small-town Manitoba, Canada."