It was with fear, second thoughts and one day before the deadline that I submitted a piece to Listen To Your Mother for the Kansas City show in May.
My inner dialog leading up to that point waffled between "it's time to do something that scares the hell out of you" to "you are out of your mind if you think you can pull this off". The latter needed a daily punch in the face.
A few weeks later I got an email inviting me for an audition.
I was at work when I found out and wanted to shout it from my cube, but let's just say that my blog and upper management have met and the less I talk about it at work the better. But I've got a phone and I texted and emailed my significant others on the down low with my news.
I worked on edits and practicing right up to and including that day. Eye contact, baby, I told myself. Eye contact and ditch the shaky voice you usually reserve for your very limited public speaking because it scares you so much you'd rather get extensive dental work than do that.
Oh wait, I have had several weeks of extensive dental work.
I woke that morning at 3:30 a.m. and never went back to sleep. The audition was at 6:00 p.m. so I had a long day of working myself into a tizzy. Instead, I finished painting the downstairs bedroom. Every hour I'd stop and recite my piece. I googled tips for public speaking and made mental notes. I talked to my brother who said, "Remember what Dad always said. Take your time. Don't rush. You'll be fine."
Oh, yeah, Dad. He was a great public speaker. Channel Dad.
I arrived at the appointed time, met the Church Lady who was ushering auditioners through the process and completed the paperwork. I went to the bathroom. I sipped water to quench my parched throat and then I started talking to the kindly Church Lady.
I talked about this long, cold winter, global warming, drought, dissipating snow as opposed to slowly melting snow, where Mark works and getting a grant these days. I asked her how long she'd been at that church, how long was she volunteering that night, was she volunteering on Saturday.
She was not volunteering on Saturday and so I asked her if she had other plans, does she like to make a big breakfast on Saturday morning, was she a bacon and eggs or waffle kind of person. The price of bacon lately, I said. Aye carumba. I asked her if she'd been to Listen To Your Mother last year. She had. I tried to recall every piece I heard and asked her which one was her favorite.
Remember, I said, how there were all kinds of kids down there for prom and parking was so bad. It was awful. The parking lots. No spaces in the parking lots.
This took place over ten minutes and then I was called in. All those jittery nerves I had got dumped on that poor woman and I went in and read my piece without any of the shaky shakes I normally have when I am required to read anything I've written.
I texted my sister afterwards and told her how it went. How Church Lady got the full force assault of Chatty Kathy.
"Word vomit," my sister texted back. "It's what we do."
All. The. Time.
Somewhere in Kansas City is an innocent bystander still trying to wipe global warming and dissipating snow off the front of her shirt. Oh, and the lack of parking spaces that Saturday night in May. Can't forget those.