Angst on the Karaoke Stage



Anthony sings like Elvis Costello. I’ve known him for about 13 years, but I didn’t know this until my old friend jumped on the stage of the New Wave Restaurant & Bar (yes, that’s the name) for New Wave Karaoke (yes, that’s what it’s called) and bust into “Radio Radio.” When he’s done, I tell him that I never knew his secret talent. He’s perplexed. Certainly, I should have seen him do this before tonight. It’s one of his karaoke jams. What he doesn’t realize is that, for the past how many years, I have been using any and all excuses to get out of karaoke nights.

I have two problems with karaoke. One is that my voice is terrible. I’ve alternately described it as Claudine Longet with a cold and a waif slowly succumbing to consumption. The second issue is that I am not tone deaf, not in the slightest. I am completely aware of the fact that I can’t hit those notes.

Self-awareness is a horrible thing, like being trapped in a lucid nightmare. I used to pray that I could be a little delusional, just enough to get rid of the anxiety. That never happened. And now I’m in a bar somewhere off the 91 where a When in Rome set list and signed drumsticks beam from the wall, where the ladies room is lined with Duran Duran posters. I’m eating a Wham Burger and drinking a Depeche Mode. I can’t remember what’s in the drink aside from vodka and whatever it is that turns cocktails blue. My boyfriend, Carlos, remarks that the drink tastes like a “blue Icee.” He’s right. I don’t remember what flavor the blue Icee is. I’m not sure any of us do, but it tastes like that cocktail.
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