admission of guilt
This may come as a surprise, but there are tasks I dread other than cooking and cleaning. Stop laughing! I am no domestic goddess, yet I would rather cook or clean than starve or live in filth. Ok! Back onto the topic at hand. (what was it?)
As an extrovert, I enjoy meeting and interacting with various individuals. However, I hate large crowds where I feel like a stranger. I tend to mentally shut off and become quiet (told you it was surprising) while searching frantically for an exit strategy.
I’m not sure how this whole dichotomy works, but there it is. How do I count myself as an adventurous and sociable being yet crave quiet or the familiar? Why is it perfectly acceptable for me to be seen in public in a mermaid tail, yet worry about looking unkempt with a broken fingernail? The possibilities perplex me.
There really is a point to my rant. Recently I participated in a birthday celebration for my little sister (43 now I think?) Laura. Lately, I haven’t felt much like celebrating anything. Suffering from a foray into my own mortality, both my kids just had birthdays. Avery is now 22 and Sam is 15. What the heck happened there? Does this mean I’m getting old?
celebrating my sister’s birthday
Laura’s request was simple. She loves singing and wanted to test her pipes at a local Karaoke bar. Way back when, Laura sang quasi-professionally in a band and has always possessed a lovely voice. If you have never heard me mangle a song, it’s probably a good thing. Also loving to sing, I am aware that the good voice genes skipped me.
Growing up, my family had a Karaoke machine and used it regularly. It was quite the party when my parent’s friends would take turns screeching into the mic. Singing well was not the point. Having fun and letting loose was the big idea.
among the great unwashed
Hanging out in the cabaret lounge bar at the Cal Neva was interesting. Laura, Cate, Jayme and I got cat calls from guys with no teeth (eww). When. Adding greatly to the ambiance, the bar was smoke-filled, which lessened the other various fragrances. There was a lit stage with a decent sound system so that everyone walking on the casino floor could hear.
Choosing my first tune was easy enough. The only other time I performed Karaoke in public, I warbled Creep by Radiohead. It was awful, but became legend. I do have a reputation to uphold after all.
As my name was called, I gulped down the remains of a glass of chardonnay, and took my place onstage. As in the past, my voice was less than spectacular. Closing my eyes for a moment, I began to feel the music. Upon listening to the audience, I heard others joining in. I crooned and crowed the lyrics and poured my heart into the performance. The legend lives on.
lesson learned; own the performance and they will love you for it
For my next song I took requests from my friends on Twitter. Sandy Hubbard and Mark Bernhardt recommended I do Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. Memories flooded of my dad picking me up and swinging me joyfully to the sounds of Neil Diamond. These were good times. How could I refuse such a request?
In the time between performances, I watched intently as others made their way to the stage. There sure was a lot of talent that night. Cate and Laura both did outstanding. Like me, there were others who could hardly carry a tune. The main difference was that they stood seemingly petrified with fear, while I went out dancing and jumping around.
I owned the stage while the music played. Later, my friend Jayme commented it was an interpretive style of Karaoke I evoked. I looked out at the crowd, engaged them and they became personally involved in my performance. Is this really any different than what I do as a leader?
Truly, I am a bad singer, but I am authentic about it. Rather than being apologetic, I reveled in my lousy singing. In the end, I was a star (at least in my own mind).
When you are called onstage, what is your reaction? Do you strive for perfection and turn to stone if you cannot achieve it? Do you jump, dance, and sing given the opportunity? Please share your thoughts and stories.