TALK 9 - Fremont REI


We got to the store early, as we usually do, and I looked around for a community room. Nothing. I figured they'd do this in the stockroom like some other stores did. Nope. We were doing this on the store floor, in the corner by the camping chairs.

I got excited about the that, because we could sit in a circle, like a campfire. This would be good practice for events happening later this year. And it's perfect, because we only have four people registered for this talk, one of which is Barry.

My NorCal dates aren't being promoted by REI except for in-store signage, so I'm left to my own devices in this market. I hosted a fundraiser for some money to advertise these dates but the algorithm takes some time to find the right audience. I felt deflated about the registration for this event, but put on my EVERYTHING IS TOTALLY FINE face.


7:05 rolls around and I am sitting by myself. An employee asks me when my session starts and I say it started at 7. They check their watch and scurry off to make an announcement.

The volume is way down and the whole thing sounds like a question, not a statement. I visualized a crowd of people pouring out of the racks of clothes and backpacks, thankful for the announcement, ready to feel some feelings. That didn't happen.

I know free programming doesn't pay the bills and it's not my business to run and I'm not their strategist, I'm just a free speaker. So I sit quietly, stewing in all of my professional experience, knowing how easy it is to *not* have this happen, and I wait.

And wait.

And eventually, we called it.

I'm disappointed that I didn't have the opportunity to help someone here. Because this story is changing lives, giving people language for what they've survived, and getting them outside. I don't get paid to do this, but the energy exchange here lights my fire and keeps me motivated to find ways to sustain this tour. This is a new frontier, I haven't met anyone doing what I'm doing, so we are building this plane as we are flying it. Last night was a bust, but that doesn't mean we stop. We keep going, keep showing up. Whether it's zero people, one person, or 50, we show up.