I’m always nervous to take a trip when it begins in the middle seat of an airplane. As tall and lanky as I am, I usually feel like I need a double amputation as soon as the flight is over.
But despite all of that I was very excited to arrive in beautiful Raleigh, North Carolina, for my first adventure in stand up comedy outside of my familiar New York or California comfort zones. To this point in my career I’ve fancied myself somewhat of a “blue state comic.” So obviously I was overly nervous and psyched myself out about the situation way more than it deserved.
The perfectionist in me will never be satisfied with any set. But truthfully speaking, with all self-loathing aside, I did well and made hundreds of people laugh in a brand new place. And I know I’ll be more ready next time. The great part about comedy, and life really, is that every experience makes me stronger and hungrier (or it will kill me– whatever).
So all in all, my first road trip comedy adventure in the South was a success. And with that I leave you with a few random observances from below the Mason Dixon line:
Take a walk through a time warp; eat at Bojangle’s. Nothing will make you feel like you’ve stumbled back to the future quite like walking into this charming chicken chain. For an added bonus, be the only black guy around for miles. The elderly white people in jean suits eating their wing dinners will make you feel welcome, I promise.
Dress appropriately. Since it will be hot as the devil outside and the air conditioning inside will be set to subzero, make sure you have your flip flops and long johns on at all times. Keep your umbrella and sunglasses on you as well. It will rain at least twice a day in the summer and sometimes there will not even be clouds.
Make friends with the locals. So this one’s legit. I took a chance and spoke to a stranger who seemed to need my help. Perhaps at some point I’ll do a whole post about the experience. In the meantime though, I learned a really important lesson about not judging anyone and about doing what you can in any situation. Laughter is good medicine, but sometimes you have to actually touch people to meet their (and your own) needs. Don’t be afraid to help when and how you can.
Embrace the middle seat. Ok so sometimes it’s not possible to get exactly what you want and for tall brothers like me, that definitely includes being stuck in the middle seat between two chubby sleepers/talkers on a cross country flight. In those situations, take a deep breath and just enjoy the ride. At some point, with enough work and good fortune, you’ll have your turn in life’s first class.
See ya next time North Carolina!