After fifteen years of presenting seminars at RV rallies and events nationwide, along with self-publishing seminars and workshops, I like to think that I’m at least halfway competent and semi-professional. But after yesterday I realize that I may have been deluding myself.
I had two seminars on yesterday’s schedule, The Frugal RVer from 11:30 to 12:30 and then Highway History And Back Road Mystery from 1:30 to 2:30. Both seminars are based upon books I have written and I’ve presented both of them so many times that I could do them in my sleep.
I always try to get to my seminar room at least a half hour ahead of time so I’m set up and ready to go. I got to the room, which was really a curtained off section of a big exhibit hall, with folding chairs for the audience, a couple of tables for the LCD projector and speaker’s computer, a small stage, and a screen, and started to set up.
About then a man came up to talk to me, which to a public speaker is akin to talking to an RVer when he’s hooking up or unhooking to travel. It makes it all too easy to forget something. So I was trying to get ready for the seminar and half listening to the man when he leaned on the table and knocked my laptop computer off. I tried to grab it and at least break its fall before it hit the concrete floor, but it still landed with a thud and the screen went dead. I would have been appalled if I had done that to somebody’s computer, but all this fellow did was say something about flimsy tables and wander off.
I tried to get the computer to restart, and while I could get the screen to light up it got some kind of error message and that was it. In the meantime, the tech folks had discovered that the sound system wasn’t working right, and the “room” I was assigned to was rapidly filling up and folks were sitting outside the curtained area. Whoever is in charge of setting things up at the Escapade decided that while the tech guys were working on the sound, they would move the curtains to make the room larger and hopefully accommodate the crowd, which was still growing.
So, with like five minutes before my seminar was supposed to start, I took advantage of the delay and took off at a run for our motorhome parked maybe 400 yards away to get Terry’s laptop. By the way, fat old men don’t run real fast, especially on hot days. But I managed to make it to our rig and then tripped and fell on my butt.
Uttering a few choice words, I got up and went inside, and then realized that Terry had her computer in our vendor booth in a building on the other side of the fairgrounds. Well darn it!
Mark Nemeth, the Escapees go to guy when anything goes wrong, had told me that if all else failed he’d let me use his laptop, so I quickly copied all of my seminars from my iMac onto a jump drive and beat feet back to the seminar room.
By then they had the room reconfigured and the sound issue resolved, and Mark already had his computer connected to the projector. I apologized to the audience, which had not gotten any smaller, and started the seminar about 20 minutes late. And I still managed to cover everything and ended right on time!
Everybody broke for lunch and I went over to the Market area to check on Terry, who had been stuck in our vendor booth all day dealing with nonstop customers. I didn’t have long before I needed to get back for my second seminar, and when I got to the room Mark had somehow worked his magic and had my laptop working again.
That seminar went off without a hitch, and while I don’t know how many people I had in the audience, one person said it was around 400 and somebody else said it was closer to 450. However many it was, they all seemed to have a good time and quite a few came up front to thank me afterward, or to stop by our vendor booth to buy copies of my books.
I only have one seminar today, a travelogue called Welcome To My Arizona, and hopefully there won’t be nearly as much drama. After all, what else could go wrong?
Thought For The Day – Whoever is in charge of making sure I don’t do stupid stuff is fired.