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How my first big speaking gig turned into a day of disaster

I was supposed to speak at WordCamp Fayetteville today. I was so excited! My presentation and slide show was called “How to make money blogging. No, really!”

I applied to be a speaker earlier this summer, and really wanted to share some of the knowledge I’ve acquired with bloggers in northwest Arkansas.

I spent lots of time putting my slide show together, researching, having people look over it, and completing it and being REALLY happy with the results.

And then today happened.

I had to drive to Fayetteville from Tulsa because I’m in the middle of a housesitting gig. The drive from Tulsa to Fayetteville, AR is about two hours.

Concerned about not making it in time, I ignored my normal nothing-over-five-miles-over speeding rule and lo and behold, the lights started flashing behind me.

Oh crap. So the guy is really nice, except for the fact that he’s handing me a ticket.

Then I realized I didn’t have enough money to pay the toll booth. I don’t keep change around, that’s sooooo early 90’s. So I took the alternate, toll-free route. After winding around and making it to civilization, I was sure I’d make it on time! I was less than a mile to my home state when –

All the warning lights came on in my car. Everything just started, well, stopping. I pulled into the Cherokee Casino in West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma, called Christopher Spencer at Wordcamp, and told him the bad news. My car was dead. I was stuck 40 minutes away. At a casino.

My next call was to my mom, who was 40 minutes away on the other side of West Siloam Springs. She was about to fall asleep when she got my call. I said, “Come on, I’m at the casino.”

Then word got around on twitter and WordCamp that my presentation was cancelled. I got tweets and texts. “What happened?” “People are asking!” And I was sweaty and had to do quick damage control with a few tweets and a few texts.

My next call was, of course, to AAA, where I talked to someone whom I didn’t understand half the time because I happened to be stuck at a CASINO. Where your choices are either stay in the hot car and die, stand outside and be drowned out by traffic and the giant (but beautiful) fountain, or go inside and try to make sense among the sounds of  music and slot machines.

But soon, just as I was finishing my lunch at one of the Casino cafes, the tow truck called. He took me to the nearest Ford dealership. And there I handed them my keys, said “My car is dead,” and waited in the air-conditioned showroom for my Mom to show up.

I drove us back to Tulsa, where mom got to meet the dog I’m taking care of and see my dog again, and she left me here.

So now I’m here, carless, not knowing what the diagnosis is, and just sad that I couldn’t share my knowledge! I really wanted to do this!

For those of you who really wanted to see my presentation, have no fear! I am planning a Webinar that you can call into. But I have to figure out how that whole thing works. In the meantime, if you are interested in attending, leave a comment or send an email to bellesouthblogs (at) gmail dot com.

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