The other week, I went to New York with my husband for my babymoon (because that's a thing now) and since he'd never been in a studio audience, I thought it might be fun to get up early to snag some tickets to a late night show. See, I'd been to see Conan at one point and it was entertaining enough to lure me back into enjoying similar free entertainment. So there we stood at 7:30 a.m., not the first in a long queue at NBC and unsure as to what show exactly we were lining up to see, using wifi from Christy's auction house across the street to entertain ourselves for an hour and a half.
My back was getting sore and Counting Crows were having the longest soundcheck in the universe down the road at the Today Show (spoiler alert: every one of their new songs sounds like Mr. Jones) and when a man appeared with a clipboard offering guaranteed tickets to another show, I was easy pickings. "It's Meredith Vieira's new show," he explained, "And it's taping tomorrow morning. Would you like to come?"
And so it was against my husband's advice ("But sweetheart, you hate The View") that we were back at NBC the next morning in another audience queue.
We were hilariously out of place. Where Seth Myers the night before was pretty much just people our age and nutty Stephen Colbert fans because he was the guest that night, the people at the Meredith show seemed like parodies of themselves. There were the older gals with matching curls and charity fun run T-shirts, the many ladies who did the "raise the roof" move for anything that excited them (read: everything), the moms... who were there with their moms, and a pair of representing hollering, stir-the-pot-dancing women from each borough. Oh, and three older gents who were definitely there because they had to drive their wives. It. Was. A daytime talk show audience.
But then out of the crowd, my big break! (Kinda kidding here.) A producer asked who'd like to play a game with Meredith on air and mine was one of many hands that went up. She interviewed a bunch of people, but with my red lipstick, Baby On Board shirt that clung to my little round belly, and big ol' prairie girl smile, I was kind of a shoe-in. I did a little interview on camera for her at which she gushed and told me I'd be getting a call in ten minutes and could I please stay close. "I love you," she said. I told her it was just the magic of my pregnancy.
Turned out, though, being Canadian wasn't a cute little quirk that would add to my chances of playing this game. There was a prize that they weren't sure I could accept due to having to fill out a US tax form. They were very sweet but said they couldn't have me on. "Oh well," I told my husband, "I could have filled out that form but how would they know?" I claim US royalties, after all.
Cut to us sitting in the audience with a warm-up act who, as it turned out, doubled as Meredith's sidekick on air. After several dance, trivia, and hidden talent contests, my hands were already itchy from clapping. I was surprised at the amount of wooting the audience mustered for minutes at a time, especially since the show hadn't even started. And speaking of the show, lemme just gloss on over it. Kevin Kline wasn't the most... how shall I say, spirited, guest, and then there were three little girls who'd beaten cancer and of course I cried. Mr. Kline also led a French competition in which contestants blew French horns, the set-up of which, as a brass player was SO PAINFUL TO WATCH. The floor manager, contestants, and somehow BAND MEMBERS had no idea how to play this instrument. They were pointing the bells upward, trying this and that... gah. I put my hand up because I was so desperate to see an end to it, but that really only annoyed my husband who asked what else I expected from a daytime talk show.
Anyway, midway through the taping, Meredith, who by the way was as lovely as lovely can be, spoke of how many people don't take vacation days. She went on about it for a while while people nodded and agreed heartily with "mmHMM"s and the like. And suddenly, Ms. Vieira's voice got all serious and she said she wanted to fix this problem. I didn't clue in, but these people around me who must have been big watchers of daytime TV were holding each other's hands.
Meredith's voice grew Oprah-strong: "We're sending you all on a tropical vacation!!" What?? OMG! I leapt up in joy with everyone else. I grinned at my husband in I-told-you-so, and squealed with excitement as Meredith dished the details. It was a great moment, and luckily, it was captured by PVR.
I WAS GOING ON A FREE TROPICAL VACATION. "Oh my gosh!" I squeed to my husband, "NOW aren't you glad we came?!"
The next moment the show went to break.
Meredith's sidekick/ warm-up act/ audience facilitator announced that under our chairs, we'd find a tax form.
Of course, there was no loophole. I could fill out the tax form, but not the prize claim sheet because for that, a U.S. Social Security number and signature was required. The trip was non-transferable.
So when the announcer gent joked that if anyone would like to trade their free trip in for a T-shirt, everyone else roared in laughter... and I put up my hand.
And that leads me to modeling it for you today. I know. Way better than a tropical vacay anyway, right?