Madcap Choices and Life-Changing Decisions

Happy Thursday, everyone! Hope all of you are well and gearing up for another weekend. (Who came up with this 5-day work-week idea anyway?)

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reading over at Bob Mayer and Jenni Holbrook-Talty’s Write It Forward  and Kristen Lamb’s blog. For those of you who are looking to learn craft and/or get a strong sense of where the publishing world seems headed in this VERY electronic age, you might want to check either or both out. Kristen also dedicates a significant amount of blog space to social networking–an absolute necessity for success as an author in today’s extremely active and loaded market. Her most recent post about using Twitter talked about introverts vs. extroverts. (Tuesday is Twitter day, an excellent resource for those, like moi, who can’t figure out much past putting up a message.)

Before I go further, let me state today’s post is not a tutorial. Kristen’s Twintrovert vs. Twextrovert post reminded me I’d already written what you’re about to read but forgot to share it. This is simply a fun post and segue to the kind of life changes one can  make once an active decision is made. I made some conscious decisions to move from introvert to extrovert, something I believe I was all along, but had been raised and conditioned to be a low-key kind of person.

Like my mom, I’m a very sociable person. She prefers to stay under the radar but is responsive to those who draw her into conversations. I should have been born with a microphone in my hands. (Since I wasn’t, I started making my own with ping-pong balls, popsicle sticks, shoelaces and foil by the time I was old enough to figure out how to put them together in the shape of a mike. I’d tie that “wire” to the doorknob and subject my family to my song-driven show every night after dinner.) Speaking publicly makes this hammy girl very happy, especially when I have a clue about the subject matter, lol. So does singing, and may I make one comment on Christina Aguilara’s snafu during the Star-Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl? Yes, she is trained and has lived in the limelight for a very long time now. Having been called upon last minute, however, to sing the US National Anthem in public, I want to go on record saying that ‘rampart’ line is very easy to mess up–what’s a rampart anyway???

There I go again: sorry! Why don’t I go right to the ‘featured’ article, lol. Chances are, everyone can relate in some way. Let’s talk about the nuttiest, boldest—even most brazen—thing you may have done to meet someone who caught your attention. You can even refer to an incident that ended up changing your life completely, as I will, now that I’ve thought of it.

 See? That’s what I love about first-draft and falling into the ‘pantster’ category: ideas take off on their own as I type!

Here we go: Years ago a close friend and I had tickets to a Billy Joel concert and wound up at Broadway’s My One and Only that afternoon. (Oh, so lovely when I had that kind of cash to spare… and we’re moving on…) Anyway, when we got out my friend and I waited for the stars to exit. I was so intent on meeting Tommy Tune (TT) I completely missed Twiggy walking past me. (I am so dating myself here.) I was giving my friend some song and dance about how celebrities are no different than the rest of us while looking through my purse for a pen to have TT sign my program. Long story short: I yanked an eyebrow pencil out of her bag and almost slapped TT in the chest with my program once I got close enough. (Good thing the man was tall or his face might have suffered the brunt of my unintentional onslaught. Said friend gave me a good talking-to after that lovely incident. I’m clueless where that program ended up, too.)

Years later, I leave work at a second’s notice to stand in line with the groupies at Costco to meet Donny Osmond. (12/12/02 Best day ever! )

  I’m sure poor Donny had no idea what to do with this starstruck fan 🙂

I actually handed him a letter I’d written years before. (It’s in my hand and I must be telling him about it in this shot. No wonder I looked the way I did.) Nothing his wife should be upset over, just how much he’s impacted my life since my eighth year, when another girl mentioned him and I saw a show with him for the first time. (Just think, Debbie’s been married to him since 1978! How awesome a life is that?)

Nutty things to meet guys:

Was having dinner with a male friend (totally platonic, to this day) and our waiter was at least five years younger than I. He was fairly tall, had a nice build (you know, tennis type); dark hair and these amazing eyes—a greenish-blue aquamarine color my cousin described as “water”— and flirted with me the entire time I was there. With his tip I left a note: Jeff, I think you’re really cute and not too young.  I also attached my phone number.

We dated for at least three weeks. He broke up with me when I wouldn’t take the relationship places a very young guy wanted it to go. No problem.

A similar incident took place during my college days, in the parking lot. Hanging out between the rows of cars just before classes changed was the only way to get a spot. Not sure if a spot I noticed nearby should have been mine, but I ended up vying for it with some gorgeous guy in a bright-red convertible. (Might have been a higher-end vehicle, too. The details have gotten fuzzy with time.) From behind the windshield he flashed a killer smile and relinquished the spot.

All through class I thought about him. A gentleman: I had to meet him. After class, being the shy quiet type I was determined to stop being, I scouted the lot for his car and found it. Left my phone number with this note: Fine car. Fine driver.  We went out at least once, spoke on the phone at least twice and I met him at the college’s student cafeteria along with a friend of his. Saw him in the student lounge once more (I’d already smelled things growing funky) and he tried to hook me up with his friend. The friend was probably nicer than Rich, but uh, no thank you. Not Joanna’s game.

Life-changing via an unusual segue?

I started my second—or third—year of college working part-time at a local discount department store. (This one was NOT the inspiration for PharmSmart; just a total dead-end workplace. Most of the workers were girls my age–no Billy Jay types anywhere!)

Because I was shy and pretty much kept to myself I rarely dated—forget catching anyone’s interest. Guys my age—at least the ones I liked—didn’t see me as the ask-her-out type. In the back of my mind though, I was always hoping I’d meet someone—I suppose that romance-thing is inbred from the womb. FOR VARIOUS REASONS, THAT STORE WAS SO NOT THE PLACE.

During my career at said store, a local airline company showed at my college, to recruit matriculated students to make phone reservations. The pay was at least a $1.25 above minimum wage at the time. The position allowed employees to work their hours around their school schedules and offered a decent amount of hours.

What better way to meet people—especially guys—who were education-minded like myself? I took their test and got the job.

Loved it from the beginning though it took me a while before I actually started socializing. We were quite a few workers spread across a tiered, auditorium-like set-up of cubicles. There was enough downtime to do homework or read. (Of course, Little-Miss-Student/Booklover sat in the front row or two by herself and did both. I was getting thoroughly annoyed with this behavior and decided to take some baby steps.)

One: I sat next to this sort-of cute blond-haired, brown-eyed guy (Alex) who had the best arms. He was friendly enough and I had fun hanging out with him. He’d lean close and smell good and flirt a little, but got fired real quick once our manager learned he was making personal phone calls on the company’s equipment. The same was true of Bob, this big, cuddly-bear type complete with the smooth mustache and beard I can always fall for. (If I remember correctly, both had great voices, too.)

Two: So there I was, alone in the first row of seats again, reading my books while other people were having fun way up in the balcony-like seats. (Okay, so I was unknowingly cultivating my writer’s roots with all the love stories I was reading but, at the time, who knew?) Frustrated again with my solitude in the midst of so many, I scanned the rows (there’s the occupational therapist talking) and spotted an empty seat literally surrounded by five guys having a grand-ole time goofing around with each other between calls.

Yep. That’s the seat I took, my life-changing move. I only remember Julio and Gary’s names out of that crowd but they made me one of the gang like, instantly. Never dated any of them but never sat alone again either, and little by little, I started to shed the shell.

So here I am today, having made a very conscious choice toward shifing my own character arc, I guess. Care to share some of your stories? Keep ’em family friendly and step up to the comment box. (I’ll be there, of course, holding the mike! :))

A quick final note: PL Parker, another writer and online friend will be kind enough to host me at her brand new blog this upcoming Saturday (2/26)! Let’s show some love and support by stopping in to visit her new virtual venture home on the web!

Thanks to all and have a great day,


6 thoughts on “Madcap Choices and Life-Changing Decisions

  1. Hi Joanna…

    Great post…..thanks for sharing….I feel inspired!! One time when I went to a book signing of Julie Andrews. I waited in line for a long time, which gave me time to think of all these things I was going to say! I wanted to talk about her career, how much she inspired me, all the movies I’ve seen, the broadway shows, etc. What is the only thing I said??? “I loved you and the captain in the garden scene!” LOL!



    1. So happy to have you both stop by, ladies!

      Christine, it’s so easy to go brain-dead when we get face-to-face with someone we’ve admired for so long. (I’m sure I’d forget every Spanish word I’d ever learned if I ever ran into Rafa Nadal, lol.)

      And Maeve, finding that extroverted time takes practice, and lots of it. This post’s original title was ‘Standing Up for Yourself’–then it took off in another direction. I’ll do a w/u about that soon, I think. For me, it was part of the changing-my-ways deal.

      Thanks again!


    1. Nah. Once Alex got fired (I can still see the guy’s arms, lol) things got boring all alone in the first row–even with all the books Joanna is wont to read!


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