Thursday, June 9, 2011
At First I Was Afraid, I Was Petrified...
I am still shaking from lunch.
It wasn't the food, it had nothing to do with a near-death experience. Nope.
I sang karaoke in front of 1000 people I work with, in broad daylight. Stone cold sober.
Now, anyone who knows me, knows karaoke is pretty much my favorite pastime. I live to go to some seedy dive bar and belt out whatever I can with my friends. I have no shame at all. I have sung at people's wedding's. I used to perform in high school. I've been singing my whole life.
Let's back up. Like Ricky Ricardo says "Lemme 'splain..."
I freakin love my job. No really. Say what you will about "Big Business", but P&G has been an amazing company to work for (obviously when I was laid off it wasn't good, but they did do everything in their power at the time to keep me, and look a year later I am back). It's a place where morale is generally high.
I work in Boston, the Gillette division of P&G, but it's one of the biggest companies in the world nonetheless.
Every month there is something going on. Something to celebrate people who work here, something that's a treat for employees. Even when we do our yearly charity event for United Way (which I have helped out with for 3 years) we thank the employees by letting them get to have pictures and autographs with members of the New England Patriots (who obviously play at "Gillette" Stadium)
They did a lot for Black History month, showcasing heritage, offering different fun activities and little trivia cards on the tables in the Cafe. They just recently celebrated Asian Heritage Month (which I can honestly say I never knew existed before, but hey) and they taught people how to make origami, hosted Bollywood Dancing classes after hours and had great food offered. We even had an entire day dedicated to the Royal Wedding, just for fun.
June is Gay Pride month, so naturally, we are having our very own Gillette Idol.
Now, my work self and my outside work self are two totally different people.
At work I am professional. (STOP laughing) I don't generally crack inappropriate sarcastic jokes like I do with my friends from my "real" life. I do my job, and I actually do it well. (I have awards and happy things written about me to prove it)
So back to the karaoke.
The prize for this contest is a 4 pack of Patriots tickets, to ANY game of your choosing, in the Gillette Corporate Suite. Um, are you kidding me?!?!
So, since the one friend I have from real life who works with me (You know who you are, humpf) was working from home today, I had no real backbone. I didn't have my daily posse I lunch with for moral support. I sat with a couple people I vaguely know from my floor, a former intern who is now full time (so he's a kid) and couple other people I know mostly from passing and from emailing about meetings. Yeah, we're obviously close.
Somehow, they were able to talk me into doing this. I had intended on passing this week. Took some real arm twisting. (insert eye roll here)
I sat and listened first. Took a good while for the seedy DJ to get someone to muster up the guts to be first. I had to eye my competition, there are Patriots tickets involved here!! Soon after the first brave soul got through her attempt at a Madonna song, a couple other people went up.
I decided (in all my apparent cockiness) that I should maybe do it. I thought, "Self, you know you can sing better than the people who sang already, so at least you've got that". (I wasn't trying to be mean in my inner monologue, but if you've ever done karaoke, you know there are some people who put up song after song who just well, maybe shouldn't) But then I thought "Self, what if someone sings better than you after? What if you screw up? You have to see these people EVERY day"
I could literally no longer eat. This was kind of a big deal. This wasn't a couple of drinks with friends and "hahaha sing this!" No. This was 1. for Patriots tickets and 2. in front of a crap ton of people I worked with.
So I finally bit the bullet. I walked up to the DJ and asked if he had a certain song. Nope. Asked after another. Nope. "But I can get what you want for next week, but why don't you pick something else to sing now?". Crap.
So I did it. I put in my selection of what he had that I could sing (his book last updated in 2008, very up to speed) and when he eventually called my name I sheepishly made my way to the front of our ENTIRE dining area, which is set up like a restaurant.
Oh yeah, I had no place to hide.
Now, I know I can sing. I am not exactly Whitney Houston or anything (pre-crack obviously) but I am a far cry from William Hung. So I took a few breaths and the DJ asked if I was nervous, oh yeah. He said it INTO the microphone. To which I replied "This is work" and sort of giggled. Mentioned it being possibly awkward, got a few laughs in and tried to ready myself.
Que music and off I went.
Now the song, I nailed. I know I did. It's one that's been in my karaoke "rotation" for a while. Not an easy song to sing per say, and shows range for those who actually give a rats ass about musicality. Anyway, I hit all the notes, people started clapping MID song I was doing well.
However, the memo did not make it from my brain to my knees because I started to shake. Like seizure like. My voice however didn't waiver (thankfully). I tried shifting my weight from one foot to the other. Just made the other knee buckle worse. I felt like I looked like a jackass.
I have done solo's in high school concerts, I auditioned for American Idol in front of 20,000 other people in an arena PLUS producers and the like and didn't bat an eyelash. I sing karaoke on weekends in public all the damn time.
This was work, this was different.
When I was done, there was loud applause and wooting and what not. I sort of just meekly made my way to where I was sitting and sat for a second. Drank a few sips of water, and still continued to shake.
As I left the Cafe (and not fast enough mind you) I had people telling me how great I did and all that jazz (haha I made a musical reference in a gay Pride post by complete accident, yay). One of the people from the company running it (My company not DJ company) came up to me and was all happy and raving.
Like "Oh Honey you were fabulous!" kind and that made me feel a little better. The Gays on a whole are hard to impress.
I better win those damn tickets is all I have to say, because I now have to feel this for the next few Thursdays and it's going to be torture.