This past week, I did my first volunteer presentation for AARP on Health Care Reform. The audience was a group in Robbinsville. I was looking forward to doing this presentation from the time I attended a speaker's orientation a few months ago. From the moment I walked in the building with my stuff and no one seemed to be expecting me, I was right back to the bar years, when I'd show up with my stuff (i.e. my guitar) and no one seemed to be expecting me. My deja vu experience did not end there.
* When I met the woman who had contacted AARP for a speaker, she told me most of the people didn't know I was going to speak. Back to the bar years: In 90% + of the places I played, few people knew there would be live music on nights I'd show up. Later, the same woman told me I was to begin speaking after "line dancing" finished. Bar years: I waited to start until a ball game on TV was over.
* There was no specific "place" where I was to stand to speak and no lectern or table set aside for me to use. Back to the bar years: Many times my "stage" was the place in the bar most proximate to a working lightbulb. In some bars, I'd set up in a different place from one week to the next.
I had a great time doing my speech this past week and I will do as many as AARP asks of me. And I loved playing in the bars - wouldn't trade those years for anything. 40 years ago I played my guitar & sang in bars to people around my age. Some listened, some didn't. A few days ago I spoke to a group of people around my age. Some listened, some didn't. I met my wife while I was playing in one of those bars; she was one of the people who listened. If I get lucky enough to make one friend of her caliber while I'm speaking somewhere for AARP, I'll be really pleased.