# of pages written: 0, except I did write this post!
(I know, this is terrible. I’ve been tutoring and conferencing all day, and now I have to go tutor then go back tothe conference. I’ll do better tomorrow, I swear!)
# of times I’ve checked email/facebook: 2
# of days left to write 1st draft: 145
Back when I was still in DC, I applied for a job in Cape Cod that I thought would be the absolute most perfect part-time job for me ever: bar-trivia host. Think about it. I could write all day then get paid to go to the bar at night. Plus, I would get to talk into a microphone for two whole hours! And there’s nothing I love more than a captive audience. The job would be fun and suit me perfectly. So I applied, and when I got to the Cape, I interviewed and was hired.
I was beside myself with excitement. I would get to strut into a bar with my speakers and fancy PA equipment, feeling like a DJ, or that cool girl who knows about technology. I would get to play my own music in between the questions, and, if I wanted, I could include songs that gave subtle hints – a way for me to work my cleverness skills, which I always like to get limber.
I trained with the most adorable pants-sagging, sideways-cap-wearing, twenty-five-year-old hip-hop DJ in the whole entire world. If there was a plush version of him, I would buy it to use as a teddy bear. He was very impressed with how quickly I caught on to the ins and outs of trivia hosting and said I was ready for my own show.
So last Friday I set up my equipment at a place called Fresh Ketch in Hyannis for my first solo show. Trivia was supposed to start at 7:30, but by 7:25 no had teams signed up. I roamed around the bar, asking people if they’d like to play.
“Are you here for trivia?” I’d ask.
“Would you like to be?” I’d give them my winning smile.
“It’s fun and free. Why just drink when you can drink and learn?”
(Some people are not as into learning as I am.)
I managed to get two girls signed up as a team, but the rest of the bar patrons were being being party-poopers. Then a group of dudes came in who – and I really hate to use this term but it’s the most accurate way to describe them – looked like a bunch of douche-bags. Naturally, I bounded up to them and asked if they wanted to play Team Trivia. They did not.
“There aren’t many teams,” I said. “So your chances of winning are very good.”
They didn’t seemed impressed.
“Please?” I batted my eyes at them. I was wearing a short pink skirt and my hair was in a side ponytail. Who could possibly resist me in such a get-up? “My boss is here to watch me, and if I don’t get more teams, I’ll have to cancel the show.”
The overly-tanned one in the Abercrombie t-shirt looked at me like I was a pool of vomit he’d accidentally stepped in. “OK. Sure.”
“Great!” I trotted back to my trivia table to get them an answer pad and pencil. The guys sat down at the table right in front of me, and the bartender came over to get their order. The overly-tan one said, “can we sit here and not play trivia?”
“What?” I raised my arms at them in mock-surprise. “You’re breaking my heart, boys,” I yelled, pressing my hand to my chest. “Breaking my heart.”
They stared at me like I was a circus dog juggling gerbils.
By eight o’clock there were only two teams, so my boss suggested that I do the show anyway, and he would pretend to be a bunch of other teams “just for fun.”
So that’s what I did. I felt ridiculous using my microphone when ninety perfect of the bar was not playing trivia, and my boss looked ridiculous, writing madly on nine different answer sheets and throwing them at me like confetti. When a sports question came up, the douche-bag boys yelled out the answer loudly.
“Do you want to play now?” I asked them, raising my eyebrow with a teacher-y look. I had announced into the microphone earlier that calling out answers was not allowed.
“Yeah, yeah, let us play.”
I gave them an answer pad and pencil, but they never used it and instead spent the rest of the night shouting at each other loudly and distracting me while I tried to read out the questions. Needless to say, my first night of trivia was not what I had expected.
I went home disappointed, but still hopeful. I thought things would be better for my next show at Tommy Doyle’s, which was the Irish pub where I had trained. So on Wednesday, I downloaded the questions and carefully made my play-list with a few hint songs (like playing the Chili Peppers when the answer to a question was “Fleas.”) Then I drove to Tommy Doyle’s and set up my equipment to the sound of crickets. Not literally, but the entire time I was setting up equipment there was only one other person in the bar. He did indeed want to play trivia, but still, it was depressing. A couple came in a little while later, and I pounced on them – again, not literally, but I might as well have because they looked terrified and confused when I asked if they wanted to play trivia. I soon realized that they didn’t speak English. I waited around for an hour, telling the middle-aged man who sat eagerly with his answer sheet, “sorry about this. I’m just waiting to see if we can get you some opponents.” But no other customers came in.
The bar manager recommended that next time I arrive an hour early and go up and down the street handing out fliers about trivia night and getting people interested with what he described as “my feminine ways.” I wanted to tell him, you know, that’s not really in my job description, and I only get paid $40 for this whole 3-hour shebang as it is, but I think next time I might try to hustle some people on the street (with my feminine ways?) because it was really depressing to have to pack up my equipment and go home without getting to do the show.
Even though trivia is not turning out the way I imagined, I still think that this job has the potential to be really great. It’s definitely not as perfect as I initially thought it would be, but I’m going to keep doing it, at least through September, and hope that it gets better.
I guess this is what’s important to remember: nothing is ever perfect. Even a job that seems so fun and perfectly well-suited for me – like trivia night hosting or writing – is going to be annoying and frustrating sometimes. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. It just means I have to adjust my expectations and keep giving it my all.
Here is a question from Wednesday’s Trivia. The answer will be in tomorrow’s post.
Which daily newspaper had the greatest circulation in the U.S.?