I’ve long been a fan of karaoke. No alcohol required. What I lack in an ability to sing, I like to think I make up for in showmanship. 

But the last night of the Chairman Mom Flee was a different kind of karaoke. Our band had to cancel last minute and so Betsy Ann—the town’s owner—hacked together a way for us to do karaoke instead, despite Pulga having no cell service and very limited WiFi. It was, at times, a disaster. And a lot of people wisely peeled off and went to bed. But about 15 of us were committed. 

What ensued was more of a singalong than true karaoke, because we had to give up on loading karaoke versions of songs given the wifi situation. I don’t know if it was that singalongs have less pressure or it was the environment or what, but over the course of a dozen songs or so we all shed every single inhibition. 

Not only the natural inhibitions you might normally have when singing into a microphone in front of people. (Especially if you can’t sing.) But the inhibitions that women are conditioned to have every moment of their lives. How do you look? How do you sound? Do you seem to angry? Do you look like an idiot? Do you look incompetent? Does everyone know what a fraud you are right now? 

We were singing with such abandon and so loudly in the black of night with only the mountains, rivers, and a ghost town around us to absorb the sound. It was like screaming into a void, only in song, with 14 other folks. At one point, Jillian climbed up on the hood of a glitter Jeep. (Captured by Molly Choma above.) At another point, Sam picked up gold fabric from the floor and started draping it around our shoulders like capes. Paul was sitting in an Airstream parked outside of town and heard every word. That’s how loud we were. (But I’m pretending not to know that fact, because as soon as I realized there were actually people around I felt retroactively inhibited.)

It was such a release. Such a release of the several month stress of planning that event and every other aspect of stress in my life. Such a release of always trying to be perfect, and so controlled. Such a release to be so wildly off-tune and so intense without anyone to tell me to bring it down a few notches. I don’t really know how you could recreate it without a microphone and 15 new friends and total wilderness all around you. But it’s worth trying. It was one of the most therapeutic things I’ve done in a long time. 

(And I apologize to anyone we kept up until 2am.)

Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:

* * * *