I thought I’d be half crazed when I got up on stage to sing karaoke on Friday night.
I figured that I’d wobble my way up to the stage on knees turned to water, with a burning, crimson face, and a sweaty brow. Taking the microphone from its stand would signal my adrenaline to start pumping overtime, and faced with the crowd in the bar….
I’d choke, squeak like a chipmunk on acid – and either throw up, or faint.
Funny thing? None of this happened!
I must be nuts.
Yeah, I was nervous… er… scared out of my wits is actually a better descriptive, there. I’ve had a fear of the spotlight for so long that I’ve forgotten where it all started. I remember being terrified of giving book reports in high school, anxiously biting my nails before singing for concerts, and having to pretend to be “crowd blind” during my senior high school play. (I was actually the lead of that play, and don’t even remember SEEING the crowd, much less whether I was any good, or flubbed my lines!)
When I get up in front of a group of people to teach Wicca, or to officiate at a wedding or other ceremony – I’m perfectly fine. I think that’s because I’ve devoted so much time to explaining my faith to other people who don’t know anything about it, or students who want to learn more about it, that I don’t think about them all staring. It’s just me, talking about what I know in my heart and head… simple, right? Right.
That’s a whole other kettle of insanity.
I love to sing. I know that I have a fair voice, I made it into the choir at my college, and even got to sing at their yearly Christmas concert that was televised on PBS every year. I wouldn’t have passed the audition if the director didn’t think I had some kind of talent for it, so I’m comfortable there.
But. Singing karaoke. Up on a stage, in front of friends, co-workers, and drunken strangers – that’s different.
What if I got booed? What if they threw their drinks at me? What if I got so nervous that my voice simply cracked, and I couldn’t hit the notes due to my performance anxiety?
BEADS! OOH! Pretty, shiny toy to take my mind off my fading sanity! YAY!
Anyway, after much debate, contemplation, and flipping through the sticky pages of the song book (I didn’t ask, I don’t want to know) trying to find a song that I actually knew most of the words to… and much needling from my gal pals from work…
I settled on “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon!
This song was one of the theme songs that my best friend and I adopted as our very special own. For years I thought he was singing “I can call you Benny”, instead of “Betty”, as google lyrics tells me it really is! So, I was Benny, and my best friend was Al.
One of the gals from work agreed to go up on stage with me, so I would have a partner in crime if, indeed, we really got tossed out of the bar for flunking the karaoke singers’ plausability test.
And? Get to the good stuff already, right?
I couldn’t hear myself singing.
The microphone was on, I know it was. The little light shone on it, telling me it was working – but the bar was just so loud, and all the speakers were facing out toward the crowd, so I – plain and simple – couldn’t hear my own voice.
I know that others could hear me, because I could see my co-workers clapping and whistling while I sang, a couple even dancing. One of them – a young gal who’s a hoot and a half, hopped up on stage during the instrumental part of the song and really got her groove on!
It was a blast! I laughed so hard afterwards that I accidentally pulled the detachable cord off the microphone, and didn’t realize it till I found it dangling in my hand! I quickly reattached it, and went back to singing as the words started bouncing across the screen again.
And when the song was done, I raced back to my seat, bid the other ladies good night, and took off – hoping to beat the enraged crowd to my vehicle before they could set it ablaze in the hopes that I would never sing in public again.
I must be nuts.