Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.
– Barbara Kingsolver
This is my advice to myself as I prepare for RWA13.
I have had interesting times at conventions in the past. I’ve gone to Virology Conventions, AIDs & Cancer Research conventions, many many many MacWorld Conventions, Graphic and Web Design Conventions and I’ve tagged along to other conventions with friends. The thought of another convention makes me want to crawl under my bed and hide. Fortunately, I am riding and rooming with a woman whose perky-tude levels register on the richter scale! So, thanks to Jeni, I hope all will balance out.
I have been practicing my pitch with my dogs, they are no help. I am not the type of person who can memorize well, it’ll trip me up. I was the one who was thrilled that the exam was essay and not a multiple choice. I know that I just need to know the material and explain it in my own words. Although, even that has been tripping me up.
I can’t get past my introduction: “Hi, I’m Chris Naugle” whoops, no I’m not! I got married two years ago to the guy I’d been living with for thirteen years. I am not quite sure why I keep marrying German Capricorns but since loving them is so easy, I’ll just call myself “Cris” and avoid babbling about my new name.
The other thing I know about me is that if it can happen, it will happen to me! I have had things happen to me that still boggle my mind years later! I have to face it, stupid things happen to me. Lat me share a few and maybe it will feed the prankster coyote and he’ll leave me alone next week!
Once during a job interview, I fell on the office manager. She was leading me down a flight of stairs to show me the lab, when my heel caught on a hole in the carpet and I fell forward. I hit her and she went down with me on top of her. For those who know me now, erase that mental image! I was a size 0 at the time, lucky for her! I was still offered the job. But, I turned it down; not out of embarrassment, but because the job of personal technician to a retired doctor who wanted to do fertility research, included coming in early to accept, record and process semen samples. That aspect of the job was weighing heavy on my mind, which is why I missed the little hole in the carpet.
Another time, we had to move our lab furniture into the hall to allow new equipment to be installed. Late for a meeting I shimmied between a desk and chalk board, which is why my black sweater had two chalk circles on the tips of my boobs when I walked into a full conference room of people who never let me forget. Lucky for me it was the 80’s and I didn’t end up in an email that went viral.
I have sat in and on things. People have arrived at my house for dinner in time to rescue me from under a pantry that decided to squash me like a bug. I once was learning Japanese and due to my New England accent, instead of saying Good-bye to a large group of uptight Japanese scientists, I called out a word that was a male erogenous zone. They wouldn’t speak to me for weeks! Chinese was worse, but I won’t go into that here.
Another time, I left the Boston convention center after Bill Gates announce the love for Apple in 1996. A reporter asked me what I thought. I thought my feet hurt, maybe I should have bought stock instead of a new computer, and that I was hungry. But, I said: “It was bound to happen.” That quote haunted me online for about ten years. I’d Google my name and it was still appearing as local Boston Graphic Designer, eagerly embraced the news with her thrilled response: “It was bound to happen.” Anyone who knows me, knows it should have said, bitchy Boston designer sarcastically snapped: “Get out of my face. I need to catch a train. It was bound to happen.”
Another time I joined a friend on the roof of a building at NIH to sneak a cigarette. No one told us Reagan was visiting, only about twenty secret service agents saw us and I ended up hiding in a microscope room while the building was thoroughly (but not thoroughly enough) searched by an army of police and federal agents. Of course, that was the day I chose to wear my favorite lemon yellow shirtdress. My evil boss was suspicious about my sudden desire to read a few thousand slides and why I was also wearing a lab coat. I’m glad she never found out, she would have happily reported me.
So, while everyone is nervous about what they are wearing or how perfect their pitch, I am wondering what new level of humiliation or injury awaits me. (I fall down a lot) There is a saying, that God created people because he loves stories. I am quite sure I am on God’s Comedy Channel. Last week, a church sign asked, “Did you make God smile this week?” I only shook my head, I am sure I had him guffawing. After all, last week was the week I… oh, never mind.
All of this is on my mind tonight because I just sent a picture of my tongue to Jeni Burns and to my husband in Florida to show them the pool of blood dripping of the end. So anyway, that little piece of foil that you pull off the little yogurt cup? Don’t lick it! It’s sharp. It will cut your tongue. But, if you do, don’t worry, it heals fast, stopped bleeding as I texted both people who showed appreciated levels of concern.
Those who know me, fully expect me to win a Darwin Award one day! Sadly, I suspect I shall win that award, but I’d rather win a RITA or the lottery!
So, say a little prayer for me and if I’m lucky I won’t have anything to say but “I made it out alive.”