Monday, May 21, 2007

Sneaky diva

Soooo, I was driving home from work, singing along with the car radio like all the women in my family do. The radio was turned up loud, and I was singing like I meant it -- and then I had to slow down for a stoplight. That's when I began to analyze my actions and to wonder if I'm crazy or if other people behave the same way under similar circumstances. I couldn't wait to get home and ask your opinion.

It seems that if the wheels on my car are turning, I'm quite comfortable putting my heart and soul into accompanying the music on the radio. It doesn't matter how many lanes of traffic there are or how many people might possibly see me; as long as we're all moving, everything's fine. I figure nobody will get more than a passing glance at me, and they'll forget it before they've gone another half mile.

My discomfort begins when I have to stop. That's when a driver in the next lane would have time to casually glance my way and not only notice my gigantic mouth movements but study them. That's when the self-consciousness really creeps in.

The obvious solution would be to stop singing then -- but I can't do it. I have to sing it all the way to the end, especially if it's a good song. Instead, I try to disguise the fact that I'm singing.

So far my methods of subterfuge are limited. If I'm stopped at a short light and the other traffic is only on one side of me, I can put up my hand on that side to cover my moving lips and pretend to scratch my nose or rub my eye. Unfortunately, scratching or rubbing for more than a few seconds looks almost as weird as the singing does.

A longer stop brings me to attempted ventriloquism. I had to resort to that this afternoon, and let me just note here that it's extremely unfulfilling to sing without moving my lips when a really good song demands to be belted out in a big way. The main problem is all those b, p and m sounds that get in the way.

Today, for example, I was having a wonderful time singing along with Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss to their mournful hit, "Whiskey Lullaby." As I approached the stoplight, we'd just finished the first verse and launched into the chorus. Brad and Alison continued to sing beautifully, but I, because of the cars stopped on either side of me, tried to sing without moving my lips. My version of the lyrics came out like this:

"He fut that vottle to his head and fulled the trigger
And finally drank away her nenory
Life is short vut this tine it was vigger
Than the strength he had to get uff off his knees
We found hin with his face down in the fillow
With a note that said I'll love her till I die
And when we vuried hin veneath the willow
The angels sang a whiskey lullavy."

It's a great song, but it loses a little something in the translation, don't you think? After that, I didn't really have the heart for the lovely "la-la-la" part of it.

So, my question to you is a) do you think I'm totally nuts, or b) do you have these problems, too? If you chose "b" -- and I hope at least a couple of you did -- please 'fess up and tell me whether or not you've discovered any better stealth maneuvers.


  1. Oh Velvet, You always make me giggle. You are not nuts...either that or we both are! I would have to say that whether or not I stop singing at a light is in direct proportion to how good the song is. If it's really good, I can't help myself. I just smile and sometimes waive at my "audience." Most people just grin and keep going. Besides this is California - - how many people can I possibly know here??? I say, keep on singin' sister!

  2. I'm sure I would pick 'b' if I could remember the lyrics to even one song all the way through! Carmon

  3. Tinted windows, Velvet. Tinted Windows. No kidding!

  4. I usually stop singing at the stoplights unless the song absolutely positively demands a complete run-through. In that case, I sing on, sans the histrionics and dance moves.

  5. you are not bonkers you're just a true artist waiting to break out!!
    neat post!


  6. The only two songs (so far) that I don't hide the fact I am singing to are, "California Dreamin" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" When I do try to hide the fact that I am singing, (mind you I have tinted back windows)I keep turning around to look at the back seats, as if I'm talking to someone....I'll deny this if anyone were to ask me ;)

  7. Ha Ha Ha, this is funny. I used to be exactly like that. I would sing at the top of my lungs on the freeway and when I got to town I would sing in the back of my throat with my mouth closed. Afterall I live in a small town and chances are someone I know will catch me singing in the car.

    Fortunately something happened as I got older. I've discovered that when you get old, you not only can wear purple, you can also sit at a stop sign with the window open, singing enthusiastically with the radio AND smile and wave at the people in the next car staring at you. :)

    Thanks for visiting my blog and for the kind words about my photos.

  8. I can't say I have this problem. Occasionally I'll make what is probably a very bad attempt at singing to Spot when we're in the car-in the rearview mirror, he looks like he's being held against his will and tortured to boot. I think people assume I'm lecturing him. ;-)

  9. Velvet, what a super post...when I sing in the car and have to stop at a light, I pretend there is someone in the backseat. I throw in a laugh and facial expressions with my singing.

    By the time I've figured out how to disguise my mouth movements in front of a stop light, generally it is time to move on...until the next light.

    The thing is, I also always know when the people in the car beside me are singing, and I know their camouflage movements, too, because I do them myself!

    It's actually really great if everybody sings in cars...I usually give them a thumbs up!

  10. Well Velvet, I live in a big city and no one knows me. I drive a red vette convertable so I am a 'stand out' to say the least. My grand girl, Mackenzie, is 8 years old and we ALWAYS drive with the top down and the custom stero system blairing! We also hold our arms straight over our head and sway to the music, singing at full blast while we are at stop lights.... We both know ALL of the words to 'Bye, bye, Miss American Pie'...I have found when people think you are CRAZY they do not tailgate for sure!!!!

  11. Velvet, where's the ham in you? Try opening your car window, turning to fully face the observer and singing your heart at at him/her. You'll make their day.

  12. I DO like what Annie says.

  13. Life is short - and good music is too good to waste! Sing your heart out wherever you are and wonder what is wrong with all the folks who aren't singing along with life!

  14. Velvet, I'm with faye pekas (must be same age) 'cause I sing whether a car is next to me or not! Who cares!? LOL They probably don't know me - and the people that do know me - know how badly I sing - and I just don't care one way or another. If people in the next car are making fun of least they are leaving some other poor soul alone, who maybe does care! :-)

  15. LOL!!

    I love singing in the car and I sing if I've stopped or not, you should do the same. No one will care anyway because they are probably worrying about their own stuff.

    I love the pics of your dogs by the way.

    Best wishes

  16. This song will never be the same for me again. Everytime I hear it I'll think of your version. :-)

  17. If you are nuts, then I am nuts too. The other day I was driving my car through town. I had my driver's side window down and had my elbow resting on the window frame with my hand at the top of the window. As the music was playing (60's & 70's hits)I was drumming my fingers in time with the music and had the silliest thought pop into my head. I imagined that the driver behind me and other oncoming drivers were playing the same song and could tell by my drumming fingers that I was listening to their song. Now that is crazy!

  18. This is so close to home. When I was 18 I used to commute 30 miles to work and my car did NOT have a radio. So I would sing to myself. One beautiful day I was blasting out a tune, singing as loud as I could to hear myself over the engine. The next thing I see is the pick-up driver in front of me holding his hands to one side of his head and clapping.


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