Before this past week, I had never sung karaoke before. I'm not a person with a bucket list but if I were, singing karaoke would definitely have made the top ten. It really shouldn't have been so hard, but the only times I had ever actually been somewhere with karaoke, there had been large crowds of people who all knew each other, as well as Dave and me. My theory was that you either needed to have a group of supporters to sing with you or else, perhaps, copious amounts of alcohol. I had neither.
Wednesday and Saturday nights were karaoke nights at the resort we stayed at. Wednesday, my mom and I went and put our feet in the hot tub, listening as people embarrassed themselves with their songs or else revealed stunning voices. I tell the truth: my heart pounded in my chest. Fear and anticipation.
I went over to the dj and asked him if he had a playlist. He had a computer loaded with 32,000 songs -- what did I want? Um.....I didn't know. It was hard to think with that thumping in my ears and the sounds of other people warbling.
I went back to the dj with two ideas. He didn't have either one. He told me I was cute, being so timid and eager at the same time. We danced behind a singer.
Finally I came up with an idea, and put my name on their receipt book playlist. They called my name and I persuaded my mother to stand behind me for moral support as I sang Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams are Made of This.
I don't have a terrible voice. It's decent. I get compliments in the right crowd. This crowd clapped enthusiastically for me, but my honest assessment was that karaoke is a learned skill and that choosing the right song is key. My song was a bit low for me. Still, I felt euphoric enough to plan to venture back on Saturday night.
I lay awake one night trying to think of a really good song to sing.
Saturday was a cold, cold Florida day -- and then the sun went down. Dave, my mom and I ventured over to the pool for 80s trivia -- what was the name of Angela's son on Who's the Boss? Name all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- before the karaoke started.
I was far less nervous and far less excited, but I put my name on the roster. Just before it was my turn to sing, two guys came over and asked if this was a competition. The dj said no but I said sure.
My song was Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings while his was Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline. My kids submerged themselves in the hot tub, facing the other direction, pretending not to know me, while I did myself more proud than I had a few nights before.
Enough so that after Mr. Diamond finished with a flourish, his friend came over to ask me if I would be willing to sing a duet with him. We looked through the playlist's search function for duets and settled on the Dirty Dancing song, I've Had the Time of My Life.
By the time it was our turn, Mr. Diamond was calling out to the crowd like an experienced lounge singer and I was having fun, while shivering in the cold. Our voices actually blended beautifully when we could figure out who was supposed to sing when and when we were to sing together. And then we gave up trying and just had fun singing.
I joined my parents afterwards at the bar where there were heat lamps doing their best and listened to an older woman belt out a jazz standard. Then I heard my name called again. I hadn't put it down on the list but it was me.
It was my closing act, the end of the week. I asked for Madonna's La Isla Bonita and rocked the house -- or at least my own house.
You might even say I had the time of my life.