Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bad dress rehersal

So today is the day that I've been dreading for the last month. The first program in a series called Eclectic Eats that I planned and organized with my buddy, Paul, who is a logistical genius and a worrier nonpareil. I don't bother worrying anymore. Paul is doing enough for the both of us to last the next two years.

And the day starts off with a wallop. It's raining like a mutha. Clem goes tearing downstairs to see if the basement is leaking. Again. My cat pees on my newly acquired vintage cardigan sweater AND the clothes I was going to wear to work. I miss my bus. I forget to do my makeup. I forget to apply my de-frizz. I forget that I only have my beat-up babyish maryjanes in my desk at work and I can't wear those with bare legs which means I have to put on the spare pair of stockings I keep in my desk and the elastic is shot and where the hell am I supposed to put my underwear since I can't wear it now?! (Male people from work may not read that last line). I stuff it in my left Chuck Taylor.

I have a plethora of email to read since I didn't make it into work yesterday (hit a deer on my way back from Emporia. Do. Not. Ask.) When I do read it I learn that poor Paul is going into battle, yet AGAIN, with everyone under the sun about the room set up.

The sound guy is being "artistic" which demands a whole new set up. We spend the afternoon having multiple meetings about the set up, the food, the sound, the video, the centerpieces, and the promotional materials for the Young Friends of the Library. I discover my color printer isn't working and I can't make the copies I need. I forgot to arrange for centerpieces and cobble something together at the last minute. The soundnvideo guy is late and a bit of a squirrel. A nice squirrel, but a squirrel all the same.

I finally give up and go with it, deciding that the event is going to happen no matter what. Paul insists on wearing out his shoe leather by wearing a small trench in the floor. I tug on my stockings and we both wonder where the speaker-chefs are and at that moment, my phone vibrates. Which dislodges my stockings. This is getting embarrassing. And now it's show time.

When we open the doors, we have ten people in a room set up for 120. One of our speakers is late and my microphone won't work. Our CEO shows up and Paul and I start to get nervous that we are about to bomb; the flop sweat breaks out. The music isn't on and we can't find the CDs.

And then, everything comes together. The last speaker shows up in a crowd of about 90 other people. The music is playing under the crowd buzz. My microphone gets juiced, I make a joke about sound checks, and Paul's boss grins at me from the back of the room. I'm doing it right.

Paul gives me a thumbs up and a "you rock" wink and I'm off to the races introducing the speakers, handing off the mike, moving through the crowd and greeting the attendees. All I can think about is getting to the back of the room and getting my own drink.

Paul's boss follows me outside and tells me, "We're done. This is perfect. The CEO is thrilled. We can have anything we want in the morning. You two have done excellent work. Post mortem on Thursday. Be there."

And all Paul and I want is a place to sit and breathe and clink glasses. We'll think about the great performance tomorrow.

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