Countdown – watching the clock on my computer.  10:59 a.m.  My left hand was poised just above the “GO LIVE” button I was set to push at exactly 11:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time.  Aaaaaand – GO!

 I tapped the button and waited to see the 3 second countdown. And then I realized the countdown had never occurred.  I punched the Go Live button again. Nada. CRAP!! And no live shot from the camera. Just blackness. Uh-oh.  My ind raced. What do I do? What if I AM live and there just wasn’t a countdown? Or worse, What if I AM live and the computer’s camera is picking me up and sending my image to the over 400 hundred people I invited to watch my first LIVE FACEBOOK EVENT for my book, Were Not Sixteen Anymore and it’s just the selfie screen shot that isn’t working?

Flashback: High School senior year. Music contest. Playing a flute solo.  I felt my cheeks burn with embarrassment and confusion. I had memorized that thing inside and out. Could play it in my dreams. But suddenly in the middle of stanza, my mind went blank, my fingers stopped, and I was suddenly transported out of my body looking at this horrified girl who was beseechingly looking at the front row of seats. Five or six of my girlfriends sat there – and as if they were members of a synchronized nodding team, all of their heads dropped down as they stared miserably at their laps.  I was feeling the same horror and embarrassment now.  But hey! That was 50 years ago. Keep calm. Act cool. Cry later.

“I’m not sure I’m live, but if I am, please excuse me for just a second while I double-check,” I said smoothly into the camera.  I’m dead. I’m dead. I’m dead.

I grabbed my cell phone and emailed my IT/Social Media and fellow author from Colorado. “HELP! NOT GOING LIVE” I wrote. Then cursed myself for not getting his phone number to quickly call him.

Suddenly, my selfie image popped up and I breathed a sigh of relief. He must have remotely fixed whatever the problem had been.  I’m alive!!

I glanced at my image in the camera. Makeup not smeared. Nothing stuck in my teeth. Must remember to keep my chin up so I don’t look like I have a turkey wattle for a neck. Geesh – it’s true! Cameras really do add ten pounds to you. I hope it’s the camera anyway. SHOWTIME!

I quickly adjusted my attention to the tiny hole at the top of my laptop that is the camera and apologized. And since I was filming on May 5th, I threw in a “Hola! Happy Cinco de Mayo!” Man, could I have used a real margarita!! But I began talking – just like I would to a group of my friends. I had a wonderful time.

In all the practices I’d done beforehand, all the notes I’d typed up, all the information I’d researched – they all came together in what I felt was a smooth, interesting. and entertaining talk!  Wow! I’m gonna have to do more of these live FB events, I thought. All too soon, my half-hour was up.  I thanked everyone, signed off, and shut down my computer. For all of maybe 30 seconds, I basked in self-congratulatory bliss. I’d handled an emergency, lived through a first-in-my-lifetime event and did a pretty darned good job!

I checked my phone for emails. Here’s one from John – maybe congratulating me. And one from my publisher. I smiled as I opened the first one. I quit smiling. GASP!! Faster than I can grab the last Reece’s Peanut Butter and Chocolate Easter Egg Dave and I spot, my self-esteem plummeted.  There was John’s message.  He’d responded back asking for my phone number – at the time the camera came on, so I didn’t see it.  I also didn’t see his follow-up message ten minutes later that “At this point, I think we’ll just reschedule. I’ll post something about it on the WriteLife page. We’ll talk later about what went wrong.”

Oh, man! What DID go wrong? Ope, EVERYTHING!! What had I done wrong?

Then I opened up my publisher’s email. It was a general one to the public informing them that due to a “technical glitch,” my talk would be rescheduled. I digested this information for a second, then with my shoulders slumped and head hanging, made my way upstairs from my basement office to seek comfort.

I mumbled what happened to my husband who opened his arms to give me a bear hug. I shuffled past him, threw open a kitchen cupboard, and yelled, “Where’s the CHOCOLATE?”

Well, long story short: Decided this was a good thing. Make lemonade out of lemons, right? If at first you don’t succeed, etc., right? I could practice longer. I got a personal training session with John. I tweaked my speech, looked up some funny memes about online dating, ran my printer/copier out of ink, bought another ad for Facebook, and re-invited my 400 Facebook friends for the following week to watch.

Only THIS time, I called John 15 minutes before it started. Takin’ NO chances this time. So, 10:59 on May 12, counting down….Aaaaaand – yup. You guessed it. No live feed. Called John. He had me try several different things, and finally, we discovered there was a browser problem. By that time I was sniffling, and waves of humiliation and despair were washing over me. John reassured me it was an easy fix. (I didn’t ask him what the heck Foxfire is – or maybe it box fire, or firefox or box – I don’t know!) And we could reschedule for a third time. Tearfully, I said “maybe,” thanked him and hung up.

This time I took the bear hug. So Tuesday, May 12 drug on. I felt drained. Defeated. But today…well, it’s a new day. I’m going to pull on my big girl panties and go outside and garden. In the peace and quiet. And put away my speech and my pictures of my actual dates that I was going to show that I had written about in my book. And I tossed the memes I’d printed off. I even messed up my home office that I’d cleaned just for the occasion. (It did kinda feel good!)

Maybe someday, when I’m sure if the public saw that Becky Andersen was going to be live and I could be sure they wouldn’t say, “Didn’t she try that once or many times before?” and when this pandemic is over and I can have either a personal computer geek or kids around me young enough to know how to operate this stupid computer and live feed, I might beg for another audience.

Or…maybe I might in a week or two, try, try, TRY again.

I need to stock up on chocolate first. 

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