A Scary Moment

May 7th, 2013  |  Published in Writing

I haven’t really had time to be nervous about my first-ever radio interview, and besides, it’s not going live to air, it’s only going to be recorded. Nevertheless, bumping into Deb O’Callaghan in the passageway is an added bonus.

‘You’ll be just fine’ she says. So off I go, quietly confident that all will be well.

I’m in the studio now. It’s a little daunting, but Deb Banks is equally reassuring as we chat for a few moments about this and that before getting down to business. I nod in approval when she explains I can cough if I feel the urge because she can “edit” it later. Next there’s the more technical side of fitting headphones and adjusting the microphone to suit my voice, and then Deb smiles across at me.

‘We’re ready to record now’.

My heart begins to race so hard it crashes into my lungs, which is just as well really, because suddenly I remember to breathe – well almost.

‘So, Ruth, please tell us more about your book …’ Deb says, but my lips are stuck together and my voice has gone into hiding somewhere down into my nether regions. Or perhaps it’s my ears failing as well? Or perhaps it’s my brain, because now I can’t seem to understand the question. A simple question mind you, that in normal un-scary moments I could answer with authority and conviction, but not here, not right now. Even my well prepared notes seem unfamiliar and foreign, but nowhere near as foreign as the silver and black foam thingy confronting me …

How could a piece of metal wrapped in fluff, be so intimidating and down right scary?

I mean, I’m holding this piece of scariness in my hand, (well okay, it’s sitting on the desk in front of me) and somehow my whole parasympathetic nervous system hits the panic button.  Okay. I know it’s not the sort of scary like when a loud noise makes you jump, or when you know you’re in trouble, or worse still, when you’re faced with your own mortality: and it’s nothing like being alone in the dark. But, nevertheless the fear of the unknown is lurking in the backdrops of the ABC studio, and it is scary.

I look across at Deb, composed and natural, and presumably unaware of my temporary paralysis. I pretend this squeaky little-girl voice belongs to someone else. I am in denial, and immediately block out any thought that someone I know may actually hear this one day. Then, just like that, it’s all over and I am back to me, myself and my shadow. The scary moment has passed.

It’s 8.am about a week later, and still dripping from the shower, I answer the phone.

‘Well done my dear’ a familiar voice says.

It’s my friend Norma calling to let me know that my interview had gone to air earlier that morning. Thank goodness I had slept in and missed it.

There is no way I would ever want to have relived that scary moment …

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