Saturday, January 12, 2013

Blogging with a "V"

Yes. OH YES. Why, it's... a multi-media blog post! 

Last night I picked up a friend and we drove forty-some minutes through the misty night up to a monthly Game Night at the home of friends in Silver Spring. Believe it or not, I was the DD. I volunteered to stay sober and drive both ways. For one thing, my friend told me he'd had a rough day and wanted to drink at the party; for another, I could stand to earn some "drunk karma" points from the universe, to at least begin to make up for all the times that friends and strangers have in some way taken care of me, be it offering me their guest room for the night or holding back my hair while I puke.

There's more from last night than I can or should go into here. It will probably make its way, in some obfuscated form, into short fiction. I'll scramble the facts, throw reader-friends off-guard, use only the hard inner kernel of emotional truth and protect all of the pesky identifying details. 

Something I can tell you: On the way over to the house in Silver Spring, I had meant to only drink Coke, or water, or whatever that wasn't alcohol. I was good at first. I poured myself a glass of Coke. I looked on in yearning at two female pals standing in the kitchen talking and swirling their sophisticated-looking glasses of wine. When my carpool pal offered me a bottle of the beer he had brought, I declined. "Who wants Apple Pie Shots?" someone called at one point during the evening. "I do, I do!" people said. I do, do! I thought but didn't say.

But then the guy I'd given a ride to encouraged me to have a little something to drink, perhaps just a beer, so I did. And then I had another. Plus a teensy sip of the Apple Pie Shot stuff, cider mixed with Everclear that someone had brought in an unlabeled plastic jug with a date scrawled on it. Overall, no big deal; I was just a little irked that I hadn't been able to summon up or maintain the ironclad self-discipline of an ascetic.

I really only mention what I did last night because at some point during the party I said something dopey that made everyone in the room laugh, and then a friend hollered out that he hadn't ever heard my voice before. (An exaggeration; this friend is someone I mostly only "Facebook know," but we have exchanged maybe two or three words before in person. Maybe even four.) The friend whom I'd driven to the house spoke up in my defense, said something about all the Facebook and blog posts that I write. Then the first friend said the thing was that he couldn't hear my posts in my voice, the way he could, for example, hear Morgan Freeman's voice saying "titty sprinkles." 

So tonight I quickly recorded a couple of dorky laptop-webcam videos of myself attempting to read things I have written in as natural a voice as I could muster. For some reason, even though I was just as shy as a kid as I am now, in elementary school I kept being given all these speaking and emcee-ish roles at school assemblies. When teachers had us read aloud, they always praised my speaking voice, on up even into high school. In seventh grade, my junior-high drama teacher adored me and told me, in this vaguely conspiratorial and you-should-feel-honored tone, that she had approved me to be in her elite Advanced Drama class in eighth grade. But at some point, I lost it. Any time I read something out loud, I became too self-conscious, sounded stilted. I am pretty sure I've got a bad case of vocal fry. I sound like that in these. 

But, if you like, here are two videos. Which means I have come out from behind these anonymous black Helvetica letters to show you my face as well. You get to peek into my room/home office at the townhouse I share with my boyfriend, my housemate, and her beagle and cat. There is a giant red Buddha whom you can occasionally glimpse, sitting high atop a bookshelf behind my head. I'm an atheist, not a Buddhist, but I bought the jolly guy at a garden store at some point in high school, simply thinking he would be an amusingly ironic addition to my bedroom, and somehow I still have him. 

In the first video, I'm merely reading aloud some Facebook post I wrote tonight about walking down to a nearby lake in the fog with my boyfriend. In the second, in which the reading aloud goes a bit more smoothly, I'm reading the top of my first-ever post on here. In both, I'm a neurotic mess, taking two or three minutes to launch into reading you something, second-guessing my every thought and action and ad-lib utterance. I laugh nervously and self-deprecate. But hey, there you go. That's me, pretty much. 

Titty sprinkles.

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