Always Don’t Talk

Mountain girl gave me advice once. Well, she’s given me advice more than once, but I’m talking about a specific moment. Although, I would be remiss to not mention that the aloe vera did clear my burn up quickly. 

Anyway, Mountain girl told me: “Always don’t talk.”

This is the best advice on the planet for me and I only ignore it most of the time. I hear her whisper to me when I start babbling in front of my boss. I usually keep babbling, but I do find her voice comforting, so it’s still a good thing.

It’s hilarious to recount moments where I’ve said something awkward or ridiculous.

That blog fodder is golden and writes itself.

The fact that it makes for amusing reading doesn’t make it less horrifying when it’s actually happening. Like the other day, for instance.

I did a podcast. I will post the link here when it’s available. I guess.

I was super excited about doing this podcast. I’ve been on a stage more than once (okay, twice) and I did the Huffpo live thing. I make spoken word pieces my bitch. I was down for the podcast.

The interview didn’t go as well as I had hoped.

I don’t want to say Randy jinxed my podcast, but I think Randy jinxed my podcast.

We’re trying to get our house painted and fixed up so that we can sell it. We have a bunch of shit to donate, so Randy took the car that day so he could make a trip to Goodwill. He drove me to work and would pick me up when I got off work.

I leave work at 4:00. The recording was set to start at 5:30. As long as traffic was light, I’d have plenty of time to get home, decompress, and be totally focused on the interview.

We left the parking lot and immediately started driving in a direction I don’t normally drive when I go home in the evenings.

Randy and I have different approaches to traveling to desired destinations. I take the quickest route from point “A”  to point “B”. Randy takes a route like he’s sending an armada to North Korea.

Me: Uhhhhh, where are you going?

Randy: I was going to show you the one route you can take when traffic is heavy on the interstate.

Me: I would rather do that another night. I just want to get home and get ready for the podcast.

Randy: It’s not going to take any extra time. I promise. We have plenty of time.


Me: Is…is that an accident?

Me: Yeah, so emergency vehicles are blocking this road.



Randy: I’ll just turn around here. We didn’t lose that much time.


We only lost about 15 minutes.

I still had time to enjoy a few minutes without a bra and perhaps enough time to eat a PB&J over the sink before we started.

Randy set up the microphone, tested the sound, and I sat cross legged on the bed and planned to scan through Facebook for a few minutes to relax.

Then, my phone rang.

That’s weird, they’re calling 15 minutes early. I mean, I guess that’s okay.

Oh. Wait. 

It wasn’t the interviewer. It was my boss.

I won’t bore you with the problem, just pretend you are watching an action movie and reached the part where someone has to cut the red wire or the blue water or else a bomb will detonate and kill blind nuns holding orphan babies. I had to cut the red wire or the blue wire.

Okay, it had to do with some printers not working, but people were still super upset about it. 

I emailed the interviewer and told her I would be 15 minutes late.

Then, I saved the blind nuns and orphaned babies with 3 minutes to spare.

That is so much better of a story than I got printers to work so pick tickets could print.

I was out of sorts when the interview started. I was distracted and the shot of bourbon I drank gave me a headache.

You guys, “always don’t talk”  should have been heeded.

I answered questions they didn’t ask. I didn’t answer questions they did ask. I said “um” every other word. I rambled and then just trailed off multiple times.

But was that the worst of it? Of course not.

I took a sip of water and, right in the middle of the recorded interview, I had this gasping, retching, gagging cough.

I never fully recovered after the coughing fit. They assured me they could edit it out, no worries. I was already distracted and then I was distracted with a weird click in my throat.

I’ve been consoling myself with the idea that falling on my face keeps me humble and they can’t all be good.

Plus, if I had really followed the “always don’t talk” advice, it would have been worse. It would have been rude of me to just sit there and not answer.


Photo courtesy of Tookapic.





Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. Debbie says:

    I really enjoyed reading this and a few of your other posts. So much so, I have now subscribed!

  2. Renee says:

    OMG, Michelle…this was hilarious…I spit out my coffee…and you know how much I love my coffee…

  3. Lisa K says:

    I agree.
    ‘Randolpho totally jinxed it.
    EVERYBODY knows that when you are scheduled to the MINUTE for braless down time before a recorded ANYTHING, you DO NOT alter your route home.
    Geez, Louise….
    Big Girl Rule #5: Stay The Course
    But, ya know, Dearie, you ALWAYS pull it off and sometimes, SOMETIMES, that edge-y nerve thing gives it just enough ‘rawness’ that you attract a few more of us ‘longing to be normals’ right to your Blog 🙂
    Hi New Debbie! <3
    (Not that I presume Debbie is longing to be normal, but, I'll bet she has an excellent sense of humor and a fine eye for Blogging greatness!)
    Mountain Girl tells you to 'Always Don't Talk.'
    I tell you to 'write that shit down when you do!'
    And I advise Randy to please observe the Big Girl Rules when it comes to Michelle's sanity and timing for her 'Big Days.'
    The rest of the time, you're fine, hilarious, even, but not when Michelle needs routine and order for an hour and a half…
    Promise us? (it made me very anxious and worried for you when I read that part. My husband would have been dropped off by the ambulance 😉 )
    I am looking forward to that podcast 😀

  4. Donna says:

    We are SO from the same tribe. In my last big job interview I was the tangent queen. Every question they asked led to a story that I just had to tell. Incredibly, I got the gig.

    Also, congrats on saving the blind nuns and orphaned babies AND doing the podcast in the same evening. Obvs, you ARE Superwoman!

  5. Harry says:

    Sometimes, things seem like they’re worse than they turn out to be. You know where the problem areas are, but no one else might hear them.


    When I screw up, I try and remember that 1) life moves too quickly to worry about perfection and b) most people don’t pay close attention anyway.

    • Michelle says:

      I actually listened to the rough cut and I think the problems are going to be noticeable. But oh well..I’m still glad I did it. At least the coughing, hacking, gagging part is cut. Haha

  6. Haralee says:

    Some times my voice goes all like walking over not fine gravel and yes it has happened to me in an interview. Clearing one’s throat, well that is attractive on air too, I know, done it too! The whole throat thing puts you off I know and then the ummm attacks come in and of course they are enunciated clearly! Those damn nuns and orphan babies, I blame them for getting you off center!

  7. Lizzie says:

    Maybe after they edit it, it won’t sound like you’re about to cough, but instead holding back a laugh. Or that you’re about to cry.
    Once I had a bug fly in my mouth while I was singing onstage. I had to decide whether to hawk it out or swallow it. I swallowed it.

    • Michelle says:

      Yeah, I think that part is completely gone. I listened to the rough draft and it’s okay…no coughing..but a LOT of “ummmmmmss”

      HAHAHHAHA. You ate a bug.

  8. Monique says:

    Good advice, a good laugh and a person who likes a moment without a bra too.
    I love your work!

  9. Shani says:

    If you hadn’t spoken, you could have also sat there with a smug look on your face implying they should know the answers already (matters not if they saw said look) and called it art.

    I’m sorry that happened though I’d be bitching about it for daysz

  10. Doug in Oakland says:

    All of my most relaxing times have been times when I wasn’t wearing a bra…
    As a former warehouse manager, I was curious as to what a pick ticket is, so I looked it up, and it turns out to be what I would have called a “pull sheet”. And you’re right, warehouse work does screech to a halt if they won’t print.
    I have found it to be the case that the only person who pays a lot of attention to the glaring mistakes on a recording is the person who made that recording. I can remember listening with people who hadn’t heard it before to playbacks of music I recorded and cringing and wanting to hide under the table when the awful mistakes played back, and… Nobody cared. After a couple of times I learned to skip the long explanation of what went wrong and just let them listen. Frank Zappa once said that “Nobody is going to give me brown stars or punch my card wrong if I play a wrong note” and while that does not equal a pass for recording quality, it does speak to the reality of recording: Every recording is a performance, and every performance you wish you had done better. In my experience, often the best recordings are the ones with flaws that need fixing.
    So it will be OK. Probably.
    Anyway, I can’t wait to listen to it, if that helps at all.

    • Michelle says:

      Yep, a pick ticket and a pull sheet are the same. And the pick tickets are sometimes generated when a customer is waiting for product, so it really was super important that I got it fixed.

      I am sure I am being hard on myself..but that doesn’t negate the crazy amount of ‘ummmmms’ in the audio.

  11. Oh Sister! I’m sure they will edit it to show you in a good light…Oh, I hope! I would have done the same thing or worse. I am a babbler too!…plus hubby is always taking his “secret” routes. Especially if I’m in a hurry! Makes me want to punch him in the throat. I may or may not have actually done it a few times.

  12. Only you, Michelle! You crack me up. And you also made me realize that I probably regret more the things I DIDN’T say at times in my life versus what I did say. So not having (too tight of) a filter/censor isn’t always a bad thing, ya know? Because some things just need to be said.

  13. AmberLynn says:

    Someone should have given me this advice once while interviewing for a job. I over prepped and knew the answers to all of my own questions… I didn’t ask any. Apparently most places want the opportunity to woo you, so you should ask about them. I didn’t and therefore did not get the job….that I actually really wanted! I can’t wait to hear your podcast and thank you for saving the babies and nuns!

  14. Definitely Randy’s fault. I could have killed him myself. Probably because my husband is exactly the same, always looking for the perfect route and invariably making a wrong turn, which means we’re in the car forever instead of the “quick trip” it was supposed to be.

  15. Right now the library where I work has this Shakespeare quote on it: “Give every man thy ear but few thy voice.” That sounds like sage advice until you realize how much Shakespeare talked. Or wrote. He put a whole lot of words out there. He also puts those words in the mouth of Polonius who chatters away and hardly listens to anyone and gets stabbed in the end.
    That may not be the best example.
    Anyway they can do amazing things with editing and interviews take practice.
    Also it would be perfectly understandable if you stabbed Randy.

  16. Michelle, I’m sorry to be laughing at your coughing fit, but sounds hilarious. That’s okay. We all have days like that. I’m sure better interviews will be coming. Hang tough.

  17. Billie says:

    Hi Michelle, so funny. You made me spit out my chamomile tea, which I have to thank you for as it’s basically pond water heated up anyway.
    Thank you for a laugh and be honest, if it had gone swimmingly, it would have made a crap blog, so you can’t have it both ways.
    I imagine that the podcast will be fine, but just so typical that 2 men nearly balls it up for you. Even if it was unintentional.
    Next time he calls at an inconvenient time, tell your boss that you need to go and change your tampon and he will disappear quickly enough.

  18. Liv says:

    I’m totally sure it wasn’t as bad as all that. And if not, it’s all Randy’s fault. (Can’t wait to hear your voice though…it’s been ages…)

  19. Mary-Anne says:

    I seem to be living the always don’t talk advice, but then it is so quiet, and all the things I want to say cause me panic attacks. Still, and all, I can’t wait to hear your interview, coughs and clicks and all.

  20. Tanya says:

    HAHA!! I loved this post and am a huge fan of the way your brain works. So amazing!

  21. Paula says:

    Oh, Girl, it could be worse…Texas twangs are so annoying to listen to. And yes, that twanger is me. Plus, I have this sweet voice so it is doubly nauseating. We pick ourselves to pieces. We are our own worse critic. If I were guessing instead of focusing on what you did wrong, we will be focusing on the content. Don’t be so hard on your self. Of course, self depreciating humor is our best kind…am I right?

  22. Kate says:

    I had to do a podcast on the same night and time as the season finale of the Walking Dead.
    I not only scolded the interviewer for scheduling the show at such a dumb time, I begged off when asked to extend my segment so that I could watch that ridiculous show.
    I must’ve sounded like a total ass. Oh well. This too shall pass.
    Randy! Trying to be helpful and having the opposite effect. Made my stomach churn for you!

    • Michelle says:

      I usually do so well at things like this. I guess it is okay, I just hear the flaws, though.

      • Kate says:

        I have no doubt that you crushed it Michelle. You had similar anxiety about your performance at the Erma conference, and it was so good I was laughing out loud throughout. You were likely one of those kids who thought they failed a test and ended up acing it.

        Why are people, mostly women, so hard on themselves?