I blame my parents for putting me in dance classes and theater at such a young age, but I truly believe that I was born to be on stage. Even if that stage is just a tiny stage at the front of a bar, or heck, the driver’s seat of my car.
I’m one of those people (some of you know all too well) who is likely to break out into song and dance anywhere. It’s not calculated. As soon as I hear a song that I like, I can’t help it. I grab the nearest item to me to use as a microphone, and I let loose, honey.
I really do think that theater camp may have a big something to do with it.You put a kid on stage and tell her to sing, then tell her it was good, (because every kid in theater camp gets a part) and after so many times, she really starts to believe it.
Don’t worry, I’ve been set straight since then. I’m a mediocre very bad singer…. (you can quit telling me now, I get the point!)
I cannot carry a tune. But that doesn’t make me love it any less. I have realized that no matter where you are, it’s all about performance. It’s the emotion you put into it. I truly believe this.
I know there are certain people who don’t appreciate my ability to entertain an audience wherever the setting may be.
My mom, for instance. If you asked her what her most embarrassing moment of her life was, she would probably go into detail about the time she took me to the fabric store. She was right in the middle of discussing comforter material with a group of older ladies, when she she heard me bust out at full volume with “the only one who could ever reach me, was the son of a preacher man” from across the store. She acted like she didn’t know me until we were safely back in the car when she scolded me and told me that there would be serious consequences if I ever did that to her again.
I now use public singing as a “friendship test” of sorts. If we’re going to be somewhere together in public, there is a good chance I will I start singing and it would be really awesome if you would join in, or at least not act like you would rather be on fire than be in my presence. You may be embarrassed at first, but there is nothing more liberating than a group sing a long at a hole in the wall restaurant in the middle of nowhere. (Right? I’m talking to you friends who went to the river! The Journey sing-along in Health camp? Hells yeah!)
I have made venues out of grocery stores, movie theaters, zoos, and gas stations. But I have found a new favorite.
Parks and trails.
Oh yes. Although they are somewhat lacking an audience, there is really nothing like belting out a song while going on a walk. I discovered it a few years ago when I didn’t have a job and had nothing better to do than to go on 6 mile walks in the middle of the day. For the most part, you’re on your own. You can have your ear buds in, and can listen to any song of your choice. The best part is, there is no noise restraint. Even I know not to exceed a certain volume when indoors.
Even more so, when your out in the wide open, you can take it a step further.
Not just a normal dance. You have to just completely let the music take you over, and what happens feels glorious. It started out as something I would do to embarrass my mother when we were on walks together, but now I just can’t help it. I’m talking about no dance that you would do under normal circumstances. I wouldn’t even like to do this type of dance (if you can even call it that) in a one mile vicinity of a mirror. What happens to my body is something truly worse than even the Muppet Babies could pull off. It’s like one of those exercises we do in improv workshops, where you just let the different parts of your body move without really thinking about it. I know I sound like a complete weirdo right now, but just try it when no one is looking, and I think you ‘ll see what I mean.
Tonight my roommates and I decided to go on a walk together. I put my ear buds in and went at my own pace. I started out belting a little Aerosmith, then switched to Death Cab, and made my rounds through Van Morrison and The Smiths. I had just started spastically moving and singing along to Mariah Carey’s “I don’t want A lot For Christmas” (It’s November this is ok now) when my roommate, Jake, tapped me on the arm to tell me he and Denny were going to take the short route and head home to start dinner.
I usually would have just kept going without a thought, except for today, for the first time in months, it was pitch black at 6:30pm (fucking daylight savings) and the path we were walking on was through a very unlit patch of woods. And there was a giant full moon, which just put me a little on edge. I probably would have just turned around with the roomies, except I couldn’t shake the memory of me eating about 17 tortilla rolls and 10 mini kit-kats at around 4 o’clock on Saturday morning, and I just couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do something to ward of that repercussion.
The following conversation occurred:
CJ: What do you mean y’all are going home?
Jake: You can come too… we just want to get a head start on the chicken…
CJ: But it’s DARK. I could get raped… or murdered!
Denny: Just keep singing and dancing the way you are now… no one would dare to come near you!
And that, friends, is exactly what I did. I sung at full volume and spastically danced my way through the woods. It all went well until I came upon a group of skateboarders, one of which I couldn’t see clearly and I thought he was charging at me. I screamed very loudly at him.
I’m not sure which was more scary. Me yelling at a skater boy to fuck off and leave me alone in an extremely high pitched yelp or my approaching them using moves and a pitch my dad couldn’t even come up with.
Either way, I plan on continuing my tour through the woods, but only once I’ve purchased some high quality pepper spray.