Yesterday I was hurled back into the business world, and it was a thrilling experience. My father-in-law’s Rotary Club invited me to talk about blogging and my blog in general. I haven’t practiced law in over a year. When I did, I gave speeches on a regular basis. Having the chance to talk to people who would actually listen without breaking in to say, “Mom, Porter is feeding the dog Trix and that’s the only cereal I like for breakfast” and who’d ask questions I could actually answer, instead of “Why is France part of Europe? How do you say ‘I need a bagel” in Morse code?’ or Can you give me a fouteen dollar bill for these ones?” promised to be fulfilling.
I am facing a disturbing birthday next month, and have been vigorously applying creams and lotions to my body in an attempt to look 35, or even 38. I don’t say this as a plea for gifts or compliments. Instead, it’s that when I say my audience was not exactly of the spring chicken variety, I don’t want you to think that I’m being insulting. All of us (except for a few young guys) were united in our need for reading glasses and our ignorance of the workings of many technical geegaws that younger generations manipulate without difficulty, such as text messages, instant messages, cameras on phones, MySpace, and blogs.
Based on the number of hearing aids I saw, and my instructions to “yell into the microphone,” I predict that a fair number of members still own and use rotary phones and will die having never had the pleasure of experiencing the touch-tone.
Once we established what the Internet was, and that a “blog” can be thought of as a column published on the Internet, we were off and running. We discussed the fact that some bloggers, such as Dooce, make a living from their blogs. They were busily writing down the site address until I spelled it and explained it’s about a woman, her family and her constipation, and has nothing at all to do with online poker.
I told them you can make friends with other bloggers, as I have done with MetroDad and BusyMom. I told them there are blogs devoted to sports (sparks of interest from the men in the crowd) and politics, both conservative (continued interest) and liberal (uncomfortable shifting in chairs).
I understand that my father-in-law was extremely nervous about my speech, and was quoted as telling a friend earlier in the day, “I don’t know what the hell she’s going to say.”
Knowing that, being on his home turf and not wanting to piss off a devoted grandfather, I tried to choose my words carefully. I slipped up when I was asked a question about what HTML editor I use. Actually, I’m not sure of the answer to the question, and I digressed into a discussion of the HTML learning curve, my experience with Typepad and its templates, incorporating Flickr, and Technorati tags. I saw faces glaze over at this point, and finished this topic by confiding, truthfully, “You know, Bill doesn’t know a thing about any of this stuff either, and he thinks it’s really sexy when I say things like ‘Honey, I’ve messed up the HTML somewhere’ or ‘what the hell is up with this RSS feed?'”
I had a momentary brain spasm as I remembered my husband’s father was in the audience and might not ever take my boys hunting again as a result of my alluding to the fact that his son and I are physically attracted to each other, so I quickly changed the subject to blogs about SEC football.
The Rotarians asked insightful questions, most of which I could answer, and I concluded by reading the column about The Missing Macho Valentines.
I basked in the applause that ended the talk, as there is a definite scarcity of maternal praise at my house. And then I got back in the minivan, littered with Magic Treehouse books, a couple of Slim-Jim wrappers (Porter saw a twin-pack and insisted on buying it and sharing it with Drew) and other crap.
And I headed home.