Last week was my first return to the Sunnyvale karaoke studio after last year's jubilant discovery of how to sing.
Standing in the karaoke room with Sha-mayn (middle), who sings like a pop star, and one of the engineers on her team:
I ordered a classic chinese song 明明白白我的心 ("Obvious is my heart"). I stood up from the bulky couch and walked over to the corner. Tom taught me that standing up allows deeper breathing, which is essential for singing.
Instrumentals swelled through the room. The karaoke screen displayed the first lyric, preceded by four vertical bars. Each bar became awash in purple, then the first word. I opened my mouth.
After the song finished, as I sat down glumly, I said into the microphone, "I'll say the things you're thinking, so that you don't have to say them. [in higher-pitched voice] It wasn't that bad, at least you tried! You have courage just for giving it a shot. We're here to have a good time anyway -- no one minds. None of us are professional singers anyway..."
My friends hunched over laughing, stealing a quick glance at me and then turning back to the karaoke screen.
Once again, I have returned to the land of people who cannot sing.
Lamenting to my brother a couple days later:
Me: I did the steps you taught me, even the standing up. It didn't work! I wish I'd taken a singing class like you did. By the way, what grade did you end up getting?
Tom: It wasn't graded. It was pass/fail only. The syllabus said, "If you can breathe, you can learn to sing, and you'll pass this class."
Me: Oh. ... Tom, my singing was so bad! I even tried a second song --
Tom: I failed the course.