Improvising is a showgirl necessity. Shows don’t always go according to plan and when that happens, it’s a showgirl’s job to make sure the show goes on.
But improvising is also a skill that comes in handy in everyday life. I encourage everyone to try it. For instance, just last week, I was driving my car and talking to my friend on the phone, when I realized I was being pulled over by a cop! I immediately hung up on my friend, stopped at the side of the road and waited for the officer to approach.
Officer: “Do you realize I’m pulling you over because you were talking on your phone?”
My improvisational instincts kicked in, and I felt the need to explain to the officer that this was not how it looked.
Me: “Officer, I appreciate your concern but I can assure you, I was not talking on my phone.”
Officer: “You’re gonna tell me that the phone wasn’t up to your ear just a second ago while you were driving?”
Me: “Well, I can see how it looked that way. You see … I was actually adjusting the sunglasses on my head and I happened to have the phone in my hand. So that’s why it looked like the phone was up to my ear.”
Officer: “And why were your lips moving while your phone was up to your ear?”
(Here’s where it really pays to be a showgirl.)
Me: “I’m a singer. I was singing.”
Then I gave him a winning showgirl smile.
Trouble was, since I had hung up on my friend so quickly, she was worried something was wrong and she kept calling, which was really inconvenient.
Officer: “Are you going to answer that?”
Me: “Who, me? No, never when I’m in the car.”
Officer: “So here’s the thing. You can tell me the truth or you can explain it to the court. But you’ve now changed your story several times and that’s not gonna fly in a court of law.”
Me: “I don’t think it’s that I’ve changed my story. I think … it’s that I didn’t understand your question.”
Officer: “You expect me to believe that?”
Me: “Well, which part don’t you believe … because I can work on that part.”
Okay, I have a confession to make. I didn’t say the second half. But I was thinking it would be a lot easier for the both of us if I could figure out which part he didn’t believe.
Officer: “When was the last time you got a ticket?”
Me: “You know, I honestly can’t recall the last time I got a ticket.”
Officer: “Let me see your license and registration.”
I opened up my glove compartment and would you believe a ticket fell out?! And then my friend started calling again.
Officer: “Is that a ticket? Let me see it.”
Me: “Oh, I thought you meant a ticket for talking on the phone. This was just for speeding ... and it was just a warning.”
I handed it over.
Meanwhile, my friend just kept calling me. I couldn’t hear anything the officer was asking. Had he given me a little more notice before pulling me over, I would have been able to put my phone on vibrate. This whole situation could have been avoided.
Luckily, the officer let me off with a warning, probably because of my seasoned improvisational skills. Or maybe he let me off because it was my first time talking on the phone while driving. Either way, I just had to share the good news. As soon as the officer drove away, I called my friend to tell her what happened, hands free of course.
Don’t worry. I definitely learned my lesson. You only have to warn me once. I mean, twice.
Okay, I have another confession to make. It was actually three times, but the other one was for not stopping at a stop sign. So really, they’re all unrelated.