6.7.21 Do you even karaoke, Bruh?
The only thing more cheerful than ranchera music is a grown man singing along with ranchera music.
A few months ago my family went to our friends’ house to stay for awhile, just to change things up lockdown-style. The confluence of both our 4-person families in one house felt like a days-long party. While we were staying with them, a couple of their kids’ friends also came over to do their zoom school classes together or just goof off like teenagers do. Add to this the sound of landscapers in the neighborhood, and we found ourselves surrounded by more people than we had been in months! I was so happy. And not only happy, but very aware of my happiness at the time. So I would sit on the couch and soak up the sounds around me: people chattering about things, a TV on somewhere, large children guffawing about things on their phones. And then there was the music coming from outside. The happiest of all the sounds I could hear was a person singing along to the radio as he worked. He wasn’t belting it out and he wasn’t humming quietly to himself. He was singing along and it was downright effervescent.
Things have changed in the months since then and we now have a much better handle on the coronavirus situation so my family isn’t restricted to only hanging out with a few people at a time. What’s more, I learned that the virus does not spread from casual contact outdoors. Bring on the tennis playing! It is a stinkin’ miracle! Scientists around the world went to work and figured this out in record time and I wish I could french kiss every one of them — with their explicit consent of course.
At first the shift back into socializing felt foreign. Right? We have gotten used to some things and it feels a little scary to do the things we haven’t done in over a year, and on top of that to trust strangers to not get us sick. But back up for a second. Am I trusting other people? Or am I trusting the vaccine? If the vaccine has entered my body and taught my cells how to make a protein to fight the virus, then I can stop being concerned about being at a large gathering, or whether the strangers around me have the virus or not. Whether or not someone wears a mask or sneezes in my face, my body will fight off covid-19. As a result, I have started going to parties. Lots and lots of parties.
If that’s not your jam, I understand. It feels more comfortable to stay home. It’s always easier to do what you are used to.
Speaking of new and scary things to do, I’ve been working on writing the proposal for my party book for months now and it’s not as fun as writing the book itself. Also, I’m really skeptical and scared to send the proposal to actual professionals for their opinions. Through the process I’m learning a lot and am enjoying the discipline of writing for 90 minutes every weekday in a group. It would be easier to not do this proposal, to skip right to self-publishing (which I may end up doing in the end). But I know that putting a lot of effort into something often leads to otherwise impossible outcomes. I’m working on this proposal to step toward this outcome that feels impossible — publishing a book. Most days when I’m writing I feel like an amateur singer who is just doing karaoke with a zero percent chance of becoming a rock star.
Even though I don’t sing karaoke, I still love to go. Something about people who can’t sing singing anyway is really fun. For a few minutes they get to live out their rockstar fantasies, an integral part of which is an audience. I’m pretty content to fill the role of audience for them, or maybe back-up dancer. I have to be very drunk to sing out loud, alone in public, and I’ve only ever gotten drunk enough to sing karaoke twice. I like to tell my friends, “If I ever get up there and sing karaoke take me home right away because I’m about to pass out.”
I suppose my true rockstar fantasy is to be a writer, or to have 10k twitter followers so more people will laugh at my jokes. And for that, you are the integral part, my reading audience!
Thank you for humoring me and my writing karaoke.
Real Life Karaoke
On the tennis court last week I saw 2 young sisters with brightly colored leggings and t-shirts taking a joint lesson. While one would hit the balls with her cute, aqua racket her sister would run around the court and vice versa. Both girls were around 6–8 years old and both sang out loud as they ran around picking up balls. One did some cartwheels and the other incorporated hair tosses into her ball pick-up to add to the pageantry of her singing. It was just about the sweetest thing I have seen on a tennis court.
When you hear someone singing to themself in public a smile pulls at your cheeks, no matter what you think of their voice or their choice of song. Why is singing so endearing? It’s a natural act and spreads joy to the maximum. Don’t you think? How old are we when we stop singing out loud in public? Maybe it correlates with when we stop wearing brightly patterned leggings. Is it something we can go back to? Lots of adults amble around with headphones on, so why aren’t more of them singing? I wonder.
I’m going to try it. These days of returning to parties and socializing have been an incredible boon to my mood. I know some of you are not fans of big parties and small talk with strangers. But I REALLY, REALLY AM. If there was ever a time to sing along in public, for me it’s now while gratitude and relief are pouring out of me. I’m going to start in my own house and then work my way to your house where I will sing/scream Whitney Houston songs at you and your family.
If you are feeling post-vaccination trepidation about going to a big party or having dinner inside with strangers, maybe you can warm up your adventure muscle by singing out loud with me. If you are an over-35-lover-of-drama, this is a perfect sing along playlist: 80s Ballads!!
Originally published at https://shannondriskill.substack.com.