Let's see...Southern California experienced hail, ice and snow in places as odd as Malibu Beach this week. And now the weather is gloriously clear, warm and sunny. So the weather was about as odd and funky as my week.
Take last night for instance...Please! (Ba dum bum!) I'd like to take it back if I could. It was my first less than fun open-mike experience at Border's Books in Canoga Park. Until last night I was having so much fun reading.
In September, I read "Eat It, It Won't Hurt You," true and frightening frugal tales of living with my father, the cheapest man I've ever known; a man who got our family held at gun point when he refused to pay for the "ridiculously" priced gas in Belgium, after filling his tank.
The next month I read, "Craving Normal," tales of feeling less than normal as I ate my father-made lunches - of wheat on cheddar and browned apple slices - in transparent produce bags, while most kids had Twinkies and Wonderbread sandwiches in real lunch boxes. Those kids wore cardigans, while I came to school in lederhosen and an embroidered sheepskin coat...and other humilating childhood experiences of growing up with parents who said "Far oooouuuut" way too often.
And for the holidays I read, "One Twisted Christmas" about the December of 1967 when my father horrified our suburban neighborhood by placing Santa on his back on top of our roof, with a toy gun in his hand pointed at his head.
People loved those tales. They loved them so much that Matt, the open-mike organizer, asked me to read first last night, and even introduced me as the California Writing Club's "Own Michele Miles." Nobody's called me their own before. I walked up to the microphone with my shoulders back. And then my ego quickly deflated.
I read "Like a Rolling tomato," my experiences of feeling like an alien in a corporate job. I read about the culture of jargon-filled memos, mandatory nylons and ties, angry and cliquey female co-workers who preyed upon anyone with an inkling of joy. And how I managed to leave so I could spend time with my daughter, start my own business and once again have a life free of cubicles and corporate manuals. I escaped like the cherry tomato I plucked from the deli platter that rolled out of my fingers, toward a CEO who droned on during a meeting about financial projections, as I fell asleep.
I was sure this was a story others could relate to, could chuckle at, and maybe find an inkling of inspiration...no such luck. As I read, I could tell by the quiet of the audience (which was larger than usual due to the announcement in the Daily News) that this story wasn't working. I couldn't read fast enough. I just wanted to get back to my seat and away from the microphone. The only thing I was thankful for is that my husband didn't come to see me. It was horrible.
"Nah. It was probably better than you thought," my husband said, trying to make me feel better.
"Uhhhh...no. I'm pretty sure I stunk up the joint. Especially after I saw what the older woman in a pouffy circa 1958 hair-do seated in front of me wrote in her note book: "Michelle...tomato...not interesting to me."
Yep, it was a funky week in many ways - the weather was odd, and my open-mike night was worse. But, hey, that's in the past, right? The sun's shining now and I'll just learn from my mistakes and persevere. Arrrrgghhhh...I'm trying my hardest to be positive, but I'm even annoying myself.