Monday, August 17, 2009

See You At the Fair!

Several weeks ago, a friend of mine approached me about heading to his hometown in East Tennessee to be a judge at the county fair show. While I was trying to decide if I wanted to make the trip, Bobby Jo called me with a hint of desperation in her voice, and I couldn’t say no. This adventure screamed hilarity, and I couldn’t resist. And let me say…it did not disappoint.

My roommate and I set off for Jamestown, TN, and arrived at the Fentress County Fair with much anticipation. As we walked to our special table, set 2 feet back from the white lattice lining the stage, I quickly realized flip flops were NOT a good idea. As I picked sawdust out of my toes, one considerate cowboy pointed out: ‘ya shoulda worn boots.’ Thank you, kind sir.

Before the festivities kicked off, I gave the MC a short blurb about myself to share with the crowd. I told her I was a marketing manager at a record label. In 30 minute intervals, she proudly told the crowd I was a marketing major for the remainder of the night. Credibility gone. Why do I need credibility at this small town fair? Outsiders are like celebrities in this town. I didn’t want to disappoint.

The show started off simply enough. One contestant in category one. Winner. However, category two got a little more tricky. TWO contestants. Or so we thought… Apparently little Ellie got lost and missed her chance to shine onstage. Actually, she was probably looking for her shoes. She apparently didn’t find them since she went onstage barefoot. Can’t say we didn’t try. We paused the show for 10 minutes to wait for her. But don’t worry, we let her perform during a set change later on.

Since our table was only 2 feet in front of the stage, we had a great view. So great a view, in fact, that I’m pretty sure the contestants could see my scorecard. I actually got paranoid and covered it with my hand. Some were so bold as to stare deep into my eyes when they sang. I kept my sunglasses on after dark. Unfortunately, my sunglasses did not block out the view of Elvis’ boxer briefs. Points lost for costume choice. White is not a good idea, Elvis.

While the judges were tabulating scores after each category, the MC entertained us with lists of what was to come at the fair. My personal favorite comment of the night was: ‘The Walking Horse competition is coming up on Thursday. This is always a good time if you have a horse and like to watch it.’

And in case you missed it, the winners of last years ‘Fairest of the Fair’ contest presented the ribbons and prizes in all categories. She only announced it 9 times, and I wanted to make sure you knew.

Oh the rest of the show was pretty standard. You had your dropped mics, your wrong music cues, your bug flying up a dress, jean dresses worn over jeans. Trinity Savage sang ‘Red High Heels’, and I actually flinched when she kicked her foot. I was pretty sure that red high heel was going to smack me in the face. I let her win because I feared for what she might do to me AFTER the show with that stiletto.

All in all, a normal night at the fair.

Would I do it again, you might ask? Well, it made the list of Top Five Most Fun Things I’ve Ever Done. Oh, and I actually got paid.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Office Etiquette

I’ve just about hit the two year anniversary of being a full time employee, fresh out of college, and I’ve observed many things about office protocol during these past couple years.

Let me start off by saying that sitting at the receptionist desk (even when you’re not the receptionist), is a GREAT way to be initiated into a new office culture. From there, you can observe body language, ‘overhear’ conversations (hey, if they didn’t want me to hear, wouldn’t they close their door?!?), and just gain a basic understanding of the normal goings on in the building. This is very important and crucial for launching a successful career.

However, my presence there also put many people in awkward situations. People in the offices close to my desk HAD to pass by to get to the restroom. But should they say hi every time they pass by? Should they ignore me? Should they tap my desk in acknowledgement of my presence? And what happens if they have to use the restroom twice in one hour? How embarrassing!! Should they make up an excuse for why they’re walking by again? People should not have to suffer in silence, pondering these questions in their offices. They should be able to walk freely about without someone observing there every move.

For this reason, I was upgraded to a cubicle about six months ago. But suddenly the tables have turned. Let me explain…

Now my cubicle is right across the hall from the main kitchen on our floor. The kitchen also serves as the copy/printer/fax room, so it sees a lot of traffic on any given day. I’ve realized there is an assumption among employees that if you sit near this room, you must be the keeper of all things contained in the room.

No, sir, I do not know if there are any more forks, or if they are being ordered soon. No, ma’am, I do not know if we have any more printer paper. I do not know how to make double sided copies, or send a fax. I do not know if we have more Coke, or who left smelly food in the fridge. And I also don’t know why the toaster oven was removed, or who nearly burned down the kitchen using it.

And just in case you were about to ask, I don’t know anything about the CD cabinets behind the kitchen. I knew you were about to ask.

Actually…the truth is…I DO know all the answers to those questions. And since I’m a sucker, I will answer all of them, and assist you in any way I can. With a smile on my face.

I’m getting a curtain to put on my cubicle door.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tweet, Tweet

I joined the ranks and started Twittering this week, and I have to say, I'm not a fan yet. Actually, I started almost a year ago, and after two tweets of 'Figuring this Twitter thing out' and 'STILL figuring this Twitter thing out,' I gave up and moved on.

I'm giving it another go now though. I haven't figured it out yet, but I decided my followers might remove me if I keep telling them that. So I've moved on to bigger and better tweets like 'I like Ramen noodles' and 'watching heads bob'.

This morning I heard a little blurb about Twitter on NPR from this guy who thinks people who Twitter are hypocrites because they are broadcasting their lives to the world, but are against Uncle Sam tapping our phones. I think the guy is a little cooky, but I did think his point about privacy was valid/funny.

One thing I DO enjoy about Twitter is the play by play account that people feel their readers need to know. 'I am driving to work.' 'I am at work.' 'I am heading to my lunch meeting.' 'I am leaving my lunch meeting.' Might as well say 'I am Twittering...I am still Twittering...yup...writing a tweet right now...and I'll be back in five minutes to update you on the exciting events that are sure to transpire since you last heard from me.'

Tell me this...should I be worried when they (who shall remain nameless) don't tweet for say 30 minutes? Should I call to make sure they're alright?

Like I said, I'm still trying to figure it out.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Nashville Bug

I love Nashville. For every jaded music industry person you'll meet here, you'll also find 3 starry-eyed musicians moving to Nashville to pursue their dreams.

I wonder how many struggling musicians have moved to Nashville over the years in hopes of having a career in music. What's the percent that have succeeded? How many went home empty-handed? And what is success anyway?

It's sad that so many don't make it, but does it really matter? Isn't the journey itself more important than the destination? What a great privilege to look back on your life when you're 75 and be able to say 'at least I gave it a shot, and had an adventure.'

Today I spoke with a girl who recently moved to Nashville with her musician husband, and she reflected on how amazing it is that no one blinks an eye here when she says she's married to a musician. She also said there's inspiration everywhere in Nashville; and I have to agree.

I have a friend who also works in the industry, and he expressed his frustration
with all the musicians trying to make it in this Nashville. Yes, I too get sick of people trying to pawn their demo's off on me when I say I work at a record label. But there's still something intriguing about someone pursuing their dreams. I applaud those people who won't take no for an answer (within reason, of course...we all have our limits.)

So all you musicians out there who are trying to 'make it big': keep plugging away. Just don't call me at the office...