Today three people approached me with wide grins and asked if I was the lady from YouTube. I confirmed my identity. They had come to a home show to tour tiny houses. It stands to reason that tiny house groupies would have found one or more of my videos.
But lest I become too enamored of my fifteen minutes of fame, I reminded myself of the first time that I appeared on television. I had been asked to address the merits of a lawsuit in which I served as local counsel for an unpopular entity. One of the lawyers from the other side entered the studio and settled into the nearby chair. I supposed we were to be pitted against each other, and squared my shoulders.
Someone came and fluffed a bit of powder on my nose. Someone else adjusted my suit jacket. At 40, I looked the best that I ever had. I wore my most expensive clothes, and my secretary had done my make-up. I knew my stuff. I had outlined my talk ahead of time. I could do this.
The news team came out, smiling, snapping fingers. “Don’t forget, this is live,” someone said. We chuckled. Old pros. We ate judges for lunch. We could do this. We snarled a little, then laughed to show we could be friendly adversaries.
“In three, two, one — ”
I looked down. And froze.
No one had told me that the desk had an embedded monitor. The sight of my own face startled me. I didn’t hear the lead, the cue, or the prompt. I stuttered to life three minutes later, and spoke my piece — feebly, out of sync, but I disgorged it. Nobody laughed. I righted myself and made it through the last few seconds. I shook someone’s hand and stumbled to the parking lot. I jerked my scarf from around my neck and tossed it on the floor, started the engine, and pulled away. I could feel the beet-red stain on my cheeks.
I shook scores of hands today. I handed out postcards and fliers. I gestured broadly to the model home which I had volunteered to show. I did a few Vanna White impersonations, and asked people about the land on which they thought they might park a tiny house. And yes, I conceded, with modest half-closed eyes, that I was, in fact, the YouTube lady.
But I didn’t let it go to my head. I just enjoyed it, along with the cold lemonade that a kind gentleman brought me late in the day. The world’s funny that way. One day you’re staring at the wide orbs of your terrified eyes on a television screen, and the next day twenty years have flown by and you’re living in an RV park and tiny house resort on the banks of the San Joaquin with nothing more important to do than water your dwarf lime tree. And glad to do it, too.
It’s the twenty-eighth day of the fifty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.