The Realities of Traveling the World

I stand in line at airport security in Portland, watching the priority boarders pass us up like hot girls in a VIP line at the club.  Ah, the feeling of inferiority in the morning.  Reminds me of high school.  I can hear the guy behind me reading a sign: “Wow, so 12 year-olds don’t have to take their shoes off? I had no idea!”  What, were you born yesterday dude?  What are you thinking, that we go back in time and be 12 again so we don’t have to take our shoes off?  As if that’s an option.  Shut up.  Man, I’m grumpy today. 

We split into two lines for two different conveyor belts for our luggage.  I always end up in the extra slow line… The one with the family that’s flying for the first time and tries to walk through with a can of hairspray in their pocket or tries to smuggle a jug of milk in their bag and then act like they didn’t know it was less than three ounces. I always make it through airport security just as my flight is starting to board, leaving me a matter of seconds to consider getting food for my flight.  Not having food on a long flight is torture, where you actually debate ordering the plane-trash sandwich… A roll that tastes like high altitudes, with cheese that has passed through hundreds of time zones, mustard to mask the other tastes, and cold cuts made with nitrites from the 1800s.  And what’s worst is that I can’t express my disgust with airplane food on stage without sounding like a hack.  So I just have to sit with it, and ask only myself about the deal with airplane food.

I look at the lines for breakfast, and know that I will miss my flight waiting for eggs, so I run to the coffee stand, get an oatmeal and a muffin.  I only have two hands which I need for luggage, so I put the top on the oatmeal and put it in my backpack.  I get to the gate, they call my boarding group, I walk to the line, where then a lady passenger waiting to board approaches, “Sir, you have something leaking from your bag and its dripping all over you!”  As if it was an emergency that effected the safety of the other passengers. Look out for the Quaker Oats bomber, folks! I run to the bathroom and clean the oatmeal out of my bag, my outfit, and my hands in less than three minutes, and run back to the gate.  The guy scanning tickets says, “Sir, your bag is too big, you have to check that.”  Dude, I’ve been flying on planes almost every day for the past few weeks, with this same bag.  It fits.  I was just on a United flight the other day.  You have to believe me.

He doesn’t, and has me measure it in their bag size measuring thing, which is way inaccurate.  They make it extra small so you feel like an idiot when you put your bag in and it just sits on top, refusing to slide into the slot, in defiance to both gravity and you.  The other passengers look at you and shake their heads, thinking “That greedy f*ck!  Trying to take his whole life on this plane and use up our precious carry-on space!  We must eliminate him- wait, AND he’s Middle Eastern!?…”

I stomp the bag into the stupid hole, and it finally sinks in.  I take a few moments struggling to pull it back out, then I dust myself off and walk right past everyone semi-victoriously to board the plane.  I guess I’m really just upset that I have to fly to Ohio today. I want to go home!  I’ve been on the road for two weeks; I was already in Ohio last week and it was freezing and dry.  My skin gets chapped and my hair gets frizzy. It’s painful… My least favorite weather.  I just spent two amazing days in Portland, where there’s no snow plus no drought– exactly like back home in Cali.  Except Portland is so fresh, it reminds you that there just might be hope for the environment.  But now I have to go to frozen Dayton, Ohio for just one night only to fly back to the desert of LA tomorrow.  It makes no sense that this gig wasn’t scheduled for last week when I was in the Midwest,  but alas: this is how the college bookings work.  You take what you get offered.  

I slip my bag in the compartment above my seat with ease.  There’s nearly twice the room in the real compartment than there was in their fake baggage size tester at the gate.  Idiots.  I stare at the built-in TV screen in front of me, scrolling through the options of good things to watch, all of them costing good money.  I’m not going to pay for this stuff.  You do know TV is free right?  What a waste of resources.  To build these mini TVs in every seat, expecting that we are dumb enough to pay for it.  I look next to me and a guy is sliding his credit card to watch something.  No man!  We can’t let them win!  I want to slap his hand. Ugh.  I’m going to take a nap. 

I wake up with half of a functioning neck as we begin our descent into Chicago.  The pilot comes on, “We’re an hour early!”  Nice.  So this whole time you are telling me we can make four hour flights in just three hours?  Why couldn’t I have just slept in an hour more then?  We land and then the pilot says, “Well, looks like our gate wont be ready for another 45 minutes.”  Wow, what a great use of time.  At least my phone has service now.  I turn it on, and get a message from Southwest:  “Your flight tomorrow from Dayton to LAX has been cancelled.  To request a refund, call…”  You kidding me?  So now I’m going to be stuck in the place where I don’t even want to be in the first place? They call it Ohio, because you first greet it and then realize it’s a disappointment. ‘Oh, hi! Oh.” 

I exit the plane into the Chicago O’Hare airport, walking from Terminal B all the way to F to get to my connecting flight.  Really?  Why not just have United in one terminal.  I pass by seven Starbucks on the way, that’s how far the walk is.  Right as I get to my gate, they announce, “The flight to Dayton is being pushed back 2 hours, because the crew is in Lexington.”  The crew?  Never heard this one before.  The crew?! Find a f@*king replacement crew.  How hard is it to hand out peanuts on an hour-long flight?!  I have to be at my gig in two hours.  The two hour delay will make me an hour late for my own show.  The school will have to cancel, and I’m out a grand, plus this wasted money on travel, because the crew is in Lexington?  WHERE THE FUCK IS LEXINGTON???!  See that guy eating pizza over there, ask him to be the crew.  I’ll be the crew!  Please.  PLEASE.

I go up to the lady at the kiosk.  “Can I get on another flight, to Columbus? I have a gig to make.”  She says, “Sorry, all flights are closed.  We have no crew.  They are in Lex…”  -ington, right.   I hate you.  I walk over to the charging area where the business-y travelers sit, all figuring out how to cope with the delays.   I plug in my phone and listen to the guy next to me talk all cocky to someone on the phone about how his tire business in Virginia is taking over the world.  It’s always the guy who is doing the most insignificant thing who talks like he’s the messiah of business.   I call the three contacts I have at the school in Ohio, and none of them pick up.  I call my agent, and she doesn’t pick up, so I leave a message.  I start doing the math in my head.  If this show is gonna get cancelled now that I am late, me going to Dayton is a trap, since I’ll be stuck there tomorrow, because my return flight is cancelled.  What I need to do is get Southwest to put me on a flight from Chicago back home and cut my losses.  But Southwest doesn’t fly from O’Hare.  Only Midway airport.  I map it, it’s one hour away, and the last flight of the day to LAX is in..exactly 2 hours.  I would have to leave now.  I wait anxiously, listening to the king of tires yapping next to me, and news on the TV, talking about how the South is practically frozen over. Atlanta is covered in ice.  I thought they called it Hotlanta. People are abandoning their cars there because they can’t drive on the ice.  Fix that, Tire Jesus. 

My agent calls:  the school will reschedule, I can go home!  Boom.  I grab my bags as I dial Southwest, waiting for them to confirm they can get me on that flight, before I leave the gating area.  God forbid I walk out and then find out I have to go back through security and go to Dayton.  “Can I get on the 7pm to LAX?”  “Checking… Checking… One moment… Yes. It is open.”  Boom.  I speed past the TSA agents out to the taxis, hop in one and “ride” through the gridlock Chicago rush hour to get to the other airport.  I literally flew to Chicago so I could watch the sunset from a cab.  My credit card won’t swipe in the cab, so I hand the cabbie all the cash I have, $80, and run to the gates.  Yet again, I’m going through TSA, and yet again, in the slow moving line.  I now have ten minutes to make my flight, and I’m starving.  I look at all the food options, pizza, McDonalds, hot dogs, and there are lines everywhere.  Except the salad place.  Shocking, Chicago. 

I grab my salad and run to the gate, getting on right as the doors close. So nice to be flying Southwest again, where there’s a sense of humor.  United, Delta, American… So serious.  Southwest acknowledges that we could all die together on this flight so we should make the best of it.  I pass out, and wake up now with the a fully useless neck, and suddenly the plane starts shaking. Some of that really real turbulence.  Where the plane feels like it’s going to fall apart.  Where everyone is gasping, and the pilot tries to act like it’s normal, but we all know he’s just as scared as the rest of us.  My heart starts beating.  This could really be the end.  Just because I took an unnecessary flight to Chicago?  Just because that crew decided to stay in Lexington? Just because half of America is frozen? Just because I want to make money and travel the world, doing what I enjoy?  Yeah, I guess these are good enough reasons to die.  Well then: bring it.  I’m ready.  On cue, the guy in front of me farts one of the worst farts in history, a fart of pure terror, and I accept that I’m going to die to this smell.  The smell of fear and Chicago pizza.

The plane stops shaking, and everyone on the plane sighs in relief.  “We made it out of the rough patch, should be clear here on out!” says the pilot.  Suddenly it’s as if all the stress I’ve felt today has left my body.  I’m still alive.  And in some convoluted way, I realize that’s why I had to fly to Chicago today. To know that I’m still alive.  Suddenly I remember my last near-death experience, which I totally forgot about.  It was in Kentucky just last month, when I almost spun out on the road.  Wait, it was in Lexington!  Where my crew is.  How did I forget about that?  There has to be some meaning to this. I just don’t know what it is…

I know that traveling can bring out the worst human side of me, but I also know that it’s a test of faith.  That traveling really should not be about the destination, but savoring the idiots you meet along the way.  Sure, today seemed like it was a waste of money and time, but it was really a roundabout way of reminding me that I’m alive, a fact that I, strangely, often forget.  And even though I spent a day doing unnecessary traveling, getting an extra dose of the worst part of my career, I really just ended up getting what I wished for.  To not have to go to Ohio.

The Last Month of my Twenties

It’s fairly human to not appreciate your youth until it’s gone. I’ve never met a five year-old who says, “Wow, I’m so thankful to be young and taken care of. This is the time of my life! Y’all other ages ain’t sh*t! High five! Get it, ’cause I’m 5?” No, the five year-old wants to be the twelve year-old, who wants to be the 18 year-old, who wants to be the 21 year-old, who is confused and puking on his/her shirt.

By the time many of us reach our mid-20s we realize we’ve burned our youth and then we start the stupid “I’m old!” speech. I admit, I’ve done it throughout my 20s, and it’s annoying to anyone older who hears it. Because the 20s are still young. In this country, at least. The median age of the world is 29– that is, about half of all people are over 29 years old. But for the US, it’s 37 (we love our oldies). Compare that with the Gaza Strip, where it’s 18, or Uganda’s 15 (yikes). So, sure, there are hundreds of countries where us 20-somethings would be dead by now, which in that sense makes us kinda old. But here in the land of social security (for now lol), you ain’t “old” until you reach 38.

I’m currently in the last month of my 20’s, a decade which I spent changing my mind about almost everything. They say you spend the 20’s figuring yourself out, though I think that’s a lifelong process. That, in fact, we never find out who we are, and at some point we just settle into a sense of pretending that we do and we create a routine accordingly, for convenience’s sake. And the 20s happen to be the time where a lot of us sift through all the options of what we could settle into. My grandpa, for instance, only eats ice cream if it’s vanilla with chocolate sauce on it. You offer him cookies ‘n cream, he slaps it out of your hand. He says it’s because he’s been like that for as long as he can remember. Though back in the day there weren’t as many flavors or styles of cold dessert. If in his 20s he had lived next door to a Yogurtland, he’d probably be more open to variety. I wonder if the old people that my generation yields in 30 years will be more open to variety in all aspects of life. We grew up in the era of globalization, where we can have anything we want at any time (given we have money), and we are told we could be anything we want to be by our parents (given they have money). Or maybe we will also choose one flavor. Cause that’s what old people do?

What I’m saying is that I think there’s a fine line between getting old and thinking you know who you are… Thinking that you’ve seen it all, that you know what you like, and that there’s no changing that. Not saying there’s anything wrong with this. Hell, it makes life more convenient. Like Nietzsche said: freedom creates anxiety. Too many options can be overwhelming. Maybe if I just ate vanilla ice cream every day, my life would be simpler, and I’d be able to appreciate the little things and be happier. But I’m still a 29 year-old sh*thead living in a time when being a sh*thead is embraced in pop culture. For example, our pop music is targeted to and created by the youth. Listen to the Top 20 (ironic that it’s 20 and not 30?) and tell me that the lyrics have been written by mature, intelligent people in their 30s and 40s, shedding wisdom and life experience. Sure, some of the music producers and writers are over 30, but they are filthy rich and have none of the responsibilities and worries of their 30-something peers. And they’re writing music at the high school level. And they probably do cocaine.

We live in a time where youth has more power than ever. And it’s driving all the subsequent ages into acting younger as well. The saying that “30 is the new 20” is pretty right on, and it can be further extrapolated to “60 is the new 40” to “90 is the new 60” to “120 is the new 80,” and thus “death is the new life.” Yeah, people on the other side are probably saying “death is the new life” to make themselves feel younger and more alive. But they are dead.

Meanwhile, all the 20-somethings are acting like kids again. Stats show that 40% of us move back home with our parents at least once in our 20s, with 20% of men in their 20s still living with their folks, and 10% of females (more independent? Or they found a dude’s house to crash at?). 2/3rds of us spend time living with a romantic partner– I’ve failed this one, unless you consider my relationship with my parents romantic. Sometimes it does feel that way. It’s also said that we go through an average of seven jobs in our 20s, which isn’t true for me, but it’s about the number of times I wanted to quit comedy and change careers, so it makes sense. My job is like an abusive partner that won’t let me leave.

We also go through way more romantic partners nowadays than we used to, which has pushed marriage back. In the 1970s, the U.S. median age for marriage was 22, and now it’s 27. But back then, life expectancy was 70 and now it’s 80. So we’ve traded five single young years for ten old shackled years? Sounds about right. As life expectancy continues to rise (until overpopulation and climate change begin to kill us and our children), marriage becomes a bigger commitment. Since, back in the day, you’d get married at 20, die at 40. A quick 20-year investment. Now it’s like 50+ years! Even worse if you’re healthy and have good genes. Yikes. Often people think they’ve figured out who they are, they get married, and then realize they haven’t. Hence, the prevalence of divorce. So if you are set on marrying in your 20s, you gotta figure yourself out fast (aka slut it up in the early 20s), or more realistically, find a partner who is amenable to the both of you figuring yourselves together out over the years.

I’m not saying confusion is the one mark of young people, since old people get confused too, and it’s often worse. (“Is it Monday?” “Where are my pants?” etc.) But in today’s society, younger people are given the space and permission to figure themselves out. Whereas those in their 30s, 40s, and on are told that they are grown-ass adults and need to put the pipe down. Subscribe to whatever school of thought you want, but I will say that if you are the type of person who thinks they know themselves to a T, you will continually be disproved. You don’t know sh*t. No one does. So take this essay with a grain of salt, because what do I know?

As I end my 20s in these next few weeks, I don’t feel any extra pressure to “live it up.” I have the rest of my life for that. That’s what keeps me feeling young, knowing that there’s no rush. When you create the rush, you age faster. “But by 30 I need to have a husband, kids, house, dog, 401k, and back problems!” Go for it. Die at your own rate. Like the late Aliyyah said: “Age ain’t nothin’ but a numba.” She would have turned 35 last week, and probably still looked 21. Of course, black don’t crack, but also note that brown don’t frown, yellow keeps like jello, and white… Stay out of the sun.

The moral of the story is: if you think you’re old… You are! It took me my whole 20s to realize that I’ll never be old, as long as I make a vow to keep discovering myself, and my world, at every age. And also to surround myself with people who are older than me so I feel youthful by default. Yes, that’s the key to youth, using the oldness of others to feel great. That’s why I’ll never go to Uganda. Not enough retirement communities to hang out at. But in Florida… I’m forever young.

Booed off the Stage at my Home Club

There’s a story comedians will often tell each other after a bad set, and that is the story of Dave Chappelle getting booed off the stage at the Apollo Theatre, back when he was a teen in the early 90’s. It’s a comforting story to a comic who just bombed, because Chappelle became such a huge success after what sounds like a bombing way worse than anything you or I (until recently) have experienced. Even back then Dave was funny, but he was young in comedy and this Harlem crowd was merciless. He recounts the experience as being one of the defining moments in his career, that shaped him into the comic he became later on. And thus, as a comedian, you hear this story and think, well, “Even if a crowd boo’s me off stage, I just might go on to be the next Dave Chappelle!”

Sadly though, sometimes you just get booed off stage because you…suck. The universe is trying to tell you something. I mean, it takes a lot for a crowd to boo someone off stage. The crowd is not just sitting in silence like a normal bombing; a booing takes effort, moving around, and raised voices. You really do have to anger a whole group of people all at once, which requires a special talent in itself. It’d be really interesting to have a competition, where the crowd doesn’t know, but each comedian on the show’s goal is to get the crowd to boo them offstage. I guarantee that even some of the worst comedians we know could not pull it off! Well, my friends, I pulled it off.

It’s the night after Christmas, and all through the house…no one laughs, not even their spouse. I’m returning to comedy after 2 nights off, which is the most I’ve taken since my 10 day hiatus right after my 1,000 days. I’m the kind of comedian who gets rusty real fast. Even between nights, I rust. If I take a full week off of comedy I’m like a junkyard, ready to trash the whole show and give them tetanus. Why, I’m not sure. But I know it has something to do with me being very antisocial. Whereas some comedians spend their off-time yap yap yapping, I prefer to bask in my own silence. Less noise coming out of me, the better. I often go through whole days without talking to anyone, and so when I hit the stage it’s like I’m coming out of a cave and learning words again. Suddenly, there’s a group of people in front of me expecting me to be some sort of ambassador of communication, and yet they’ve been talking more than me all day! I’ll stutter and jumble words, looking like I just started comedy for the first time. My brain will freeze and I start worrying that people will demand their money back. This is how I feel every time I return to comedy after a night or two off. It’s an icky feeling. And that’s why I did 1,000 days in a row, just to not feel that way for a while.

Maybe I should just start talking during the day? … Naaaaa.

So here I am, at Tommy T’s in Pleasanton, the stage that raised me in my early years, where I learned the art of stage presence, and how to simultaneously get a weird mix of a suburban and urban crowd on my side without being able to use my full vocabulary of words I learned at Berkeley. This is the club that’s closest to my parent’s house in Fremont, the club that called me up to perform every week when I was less than a year in and nobody knew who I was, the first place to headline me on a weekend, and the place where I won a $5,000 competition between 100 comics just less than a year ago. What I’m saying is, I know this stage. If there’s any stage I know, it’s Tommy T’s Pleasanton. I know what pleases them, and also what prickles their pickles (make them angry). I’d never had to resort to using the latter…before this night.

I’m the feature act tonight, and I notice from the opening sets that the crowd is not being very responsive to the comedians. But if anyone shouldn’t bomb, it’s the feature act, since it’s the prime middle spot, where the crowd is warm and not anxious to leave yet. So I go up thinking, “I got this.” Famous last words of a comedian before he/she bombs.

I get on stage and start doing jokes, not my best ones, and my delivery is rusty, but still I feel that I deserve more laughs than what I am yielding. I notice there’s a lot of chatter from a few of the tables. So I talk to them to get them to quiet down. But they don’t. Then I go into a joke about crack and ask if anyone there has ever done crack before, which is a rhetorical question that usually just gets a laugh, but this time, two young women raised their hands, and it was sincere. They really do crack, and one was very proud of it. “Hell yea I do crack!” she exclaimed as she raised her hand. Then, the table next to them started calling them crackheads and laughing, and then a war broke out between the tables, which started to result in an altercation, but then the pissed off members just left. So now the room is now divided, the right hates the left, and the left hates the right. Meanwhile I’m on stage doing a horrible rusty job of choosing the right jokes to keep the rest of the crowd engaged. I start talking to the table in the front that is listening, and it’s this guys first comedy show ever. I say ‘Give it up for this guy, it’s his first show!’ and no one claps. Jeez, this crowd does not want to be controlled.

I continue with jokes, getting a few laughs, but there are tables still talking over me. Finally, I snap, and say, “You know what, let’s get civilized here so I can tell my jokes and you guys can shut up and listen, because we are effectively ruining the show right now, you all by talking, and me by letting it happen” (or something like that). After I say this, I can sense their anger just boiling up. I go on with a few more jokes, and now they are laughing even less, because they, collectively, don’t like me. They already didn’t want to like me, and then when I suggest that they shut up, they liked me less. Except one table in the back is laughing. I say, ‘You guys are the best!’ which makes the rest of the crowd even more hostile because what I said seemed backhanded, even though I was really just trying to bond with the only part of the crowd that likes me.

So now, my show is almost in complete silence, so I just take a break to reshuffle my thoughts, and sigh it out. My brain freezes…. Crickets…You can hear me breathing. And then I say, ‘Well guys, I’ve got about another 10 minutes up here.” Suddenly crowd explodes with a massive “BOO!”. Here we go! It was as if they turned to each other like ‘Holy shit! 10 more minutes of this guy??! No way! We can’t let this happen! We need to boo him off” I was shocked by how the boo came out of nowhere, from complete silence, and furthermore that they were able to coordinate the boo so well with each other, when previously they seemed like a crowd that was not capable of working together to do anything. It was certain they all wanted me off. Part of me is saddened by this deliberate insult to my art, but the other part is surprisingly happy that I emitted a definite reaction from them for once. And now the purpose of this set is at least starting to have meaning.

So now I got a crowd of 100 booing at me, and of course, when all is falling apart, the club gives me the light. I could just get off now. But your boy likes to do his time, and I kinda want to punish this crowd some more. I keep moving forward with jokes, and now it’s like fighting a hail storm. I remember once watching a clip of comedian Bill Burr, where a crowd in Philly was booing him, but he kept going, and ripped on them for his remaining time. I’m not the type to rip on people, so I just keep doing my jokes. I have one guy and his girl laughing in the back and everyone else in silence or boo’s. I look at the guy in the front whose first comedy show it is, and he’s one of the crowd members booing the hardest! Really man? You have no frame of reference, this is your first show! Now I’m really feeling like a piece of sh*t. But I keep going. Now I’m doing jokes that I know they specifically won’t like. Higher brow, jokes about linguistics and religion. I start using words that I know most of them don’t understand, like ‘paradox’. I can feel the hate boiling. People are looking at me like I’m the Satan of comedy who has come to destroy the art form they once knew.

“I’ve got a few more jokes guys”, I say, and the crowd explodes again with an atomic ‘BOOOO!” Well, at least I’m unifying the crowd on something. A crowd that was once fighting each other is now in full harmony with their communal hatred for Sammy Obeid!

So I start going into sex jokes, stuff they would actually like, and it’s all still falling flat to their joke protest. That’s how much they hate me now, that they are hating jokes that they know deep down in their soul that they find funny. And I can sense, after a few of these jokes that they would like, they are starting to realize that I do have value to them, yet we’ve committed so hard to our enmity that we continue to play the game. Well, let’s play then!

“Last joke guys” BOOOOOOO.

Now part of me is feeling bad that I’m doing this at a home club of mine, so I say, “Okay, there’s two things I want you to take home tonight. 1) Keep coming back to Tommy T’s and supporting live comedy. And 2) go fuck yourselves.” The crowd is in shambles, full of “Oh no he didn’t!” and “Get this guy off!” I close with one of my best sex jokes, normally my strongest joke at Tommy T’s, it’s so right for this crowd that it actually has a lot of them laughing against their own will. I can tell the laughs hurt them. It was like I sprayed them with bullets, and then I walk off stage, and I’ve never seen a crowd so excited and rejoicing for my exit.

Walking off stage like that I felt all of embarrassed, failed, yet accomplished, and liberated. I stood my ground and didn’t surrender to them or tell them they were great when they weren’t. I don’t think I could have handled this experience a year ago or before. It would have crushed me. But even if I bomb now, I”m still the guy who did 1,000 days of comedy. I”ve been through worse.

And I didn’t let this experience stop me. I picked myself up and came back to Tommy T’s the next 3 nights in a row and did well on every show. Complete 180. Since the weekend shows at Tommy T’s are normally hot. A few nights later, I”m headlining the Crow’s Nest in Santa Cruz, and a guy and a girl come up after and say, ‘We saw you at Tommy T’s last week’. I was like, “uh-oh, what show?” They said, “The bad one, but we were the couple at the table in the back laughing” I said “You guys! You laughed when no one else did!” They say, “Yea we thought you were so funny that night that we looked you up and came out to this show to see you do a longer set. We’d also like to buy a CD.” I gave them a CD for free, signed with a big heart. Even at my worst, they were fans. And way to not follow the lead of the others that night. That’s what I like to know, that my fans are leaders, not followers or crackheads.

I won’t say that my getting booed of the stage in front of a hundred Pleasantonians was as horrifying of an experience as it was for the young Chappelle in front of thousands of Harlemmers, but I will say that it felt like a defining moment for me as well. One where I learned that I have power over people’s emotions in ways that I didn’t even know I did. And one where I learned that I could take a booing and shrug it off, because I have enough faith in myself as a performer. And I also learned that even when one bombs, there still may be future fans in the room 🙂

Either that or I completely failed to hear the universe trying to tell me to quit.