Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wheel! Of! Fortune!!!!!

The tickets say the doors open at 6:30.  My mind says, Get there at 1 PM.  Meeting somewhere in the middle, Eddie and I decided that we could get to the city to hop on the line around 4:30 or 5.  We'd get there, see where the line was forming, get something to eat, and go back.

I'm not the craziest person in the world.  When we got there to check out where the line would be, there was already a line.  We found the line for the theater quickly thanks to a passerby who heard me saying, I'm not sure where it is....and he jumped in and said, Where you headed? without stopping.  Eddie said, The theatre, and as the guy flew down one flight of stairs, he pointed up another and said, Go there!

It was a day of nice people in New York.

Once we saw three gated areas already filled with people, we quickly grabbed a bag of M&Ms from a food stand and hopped on the very end of the covered line.  The sleet, snow, and rain was coming down hard and the wind whipped through with a chill.  Security, seeing that the line was about to double in length in about five minutes, began making the gates wider and asking everyone to huddle in to get people out from the sleet, snow, and rain.  See?  Nice.

Not nice were the very annoying people who were in a big group but scattered throughout the cage we were in.  Eddie and I were smack dab in the middle and seemed to be the only people who had no wiggle room.  Everyone else was on a cell phone, shouting across everyone at each other, or getting off and on the line with fast food.  The tickets say No Cell Phones, yet everyone had a phone. If that's how they planned to enforce the rules, I could have brought a weapon, too, since the tickets say No Weapons Of Any Kind.

When Security decided to let some of us in the last cage to move into the middle cage, I almost got trampled by old ladies.  Eddie and I also got caught behind the large family group because they were standing right between us and the opening to go through while yelling behind and over us, Aunt Beth! Aunt Beth! We're going!

Friggin Aunt Beth!  She didn't get her ass in gear and no one went anywhere, including us.  The next time the guard came over to let more people through, he instructed, Make sure you are with your group now so that you can be together as you go through.  Thank you.  I don't know if Aunt Beth made it because Eddie and I maneuvered around the family and got to the second gate.

All of this was moot because in a few more minutes, they made one big cage to get people out of the rain.  And then we started heading in well before 6:30, which was really nice of them to do since the rain was still coming down and the temperature hovered around 30 / wind chilled to 20.

Inside was much like being outside except without wind.  We were on a line with people who didn't quite understand what being on a line meant.  Since we were inside, we were guaranteed seats.  That meant nothing to the four old ladies near us who were complaining to each other about who was in front of them and who was behind them and how people who were supposed to be behind them got in front of them.

The thankful distractions were the monitors that showed the current taping going on while we waited for the next set and the ushers who were showing people where the bathrooms were.  Whenever we guessed what the puzzle was on the monitors, the ushers would clap and cheer.  Nice people.

Then Eddie made a friend.  One of the puzzles was really long and the category was something like Proper Names.  A contestant bought an O and Eddie said, It's all the people on Friends--Chandler, Monica, Joey, Phoebe, Rachel, and Ross.  One of the old ladies was like, Oh, yes, it's the Friends--you're good.  What kind of hussy hits on a man who's standing there with his wife?  Thankfully, she went to the bathroom with her friend; the other two promised to save their spots in line.

One of the Wheel Of Fortune people called for our attention, instructing us to walk slowly and follow her without trampling her.  We knew she worked for Wheel because she was wearing a pin shaped like the wheel and it lit up all glittery!

Then we started moving and the two ladies left on line panicked.  How would their friends find them?  The nice usher caught up to the ladies and promised to bring their two friends up to find them.  See how nice people are?

More standing.  More waiting.  Literally two hours.  The older people around us were starting to cramp up.  I'm in pretty good shape and my back was hurting.  It was a long wait.  The only people who seemed unaffected by this standing around forever were the children--many of whom looked to be under 8 even though the tickets say No Children Under 8 Allowed--and the scattered family who were walking up and down the line, finding each other, on the phone with each other.  Seriously.

When we finally got into the theatre, it all became so real.  There was the board!  There was the wheel!  There were the podiums for the contestants!  There was the NYC set complete with the skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty!

We filled in the seats where the Wheel Of Fortune audience wranglers told us to go.  Who sat next to us?  The four old ladies.  They practically fell asleep as soon as they sat down.  They'd been there since 2 PM, you know--eating, window shopping, and then waiting on line.  I guess on the inside, I'm an old lady since I'd wanted to get there even earlier.  When we settled in, the woman behind us dropped her umbrella under Eddie's chair and he handed it back to her.  A minute later, she stuck her head between us and asked if we could switch seats because Eddie's head was in the way.  Being that it was Nice Person In New York City Day, we switched for her, realizing a few hours later, hey why didn't she switch with whomever she was with?  But we're nice and we could still see so it didn't matter.

When more and more people began filing in from a different doorway, we realized that we could have gotten there later since the people coming in after us were being seated down closer to the stage.  What gives?  Still, I was happy not having stood in the sleet, snow, and rain, so not sitting closer was fine, especially since no seat was really too far to see.

When most of the theatre was full, we saw contestants walk in along with their own wranglers.  The Wheel people didn't leave the contestants alone for a second.  They prodded them, primped them, played simulated wheel spinning with them.  They really prepped them well.  Everyone was smiling and laughing.

To distract and entertain us, Jim Thornton, Wheel Announcer, came out to introduce and explain.  He did a roll call--Manhattan? Queens? Brooklyn?.....He eventually got to Long Island...and then Governor's Island.  Ha!  That Jim Thornton is one funny dude.

He then introduced Bill Ritter and Sade Baderinwa from ABC7!  The exclamation point is his, not mine.  They came out and Bill Ritter did the same Governer's Island joke.  It was really awkward but they didn't stop talking in an anxious way of entertaining.  Sade Baderinwa plugged her charity, and then Bill Ritter mentioned "the tragedy of 9/11."  Nothing says entertainment, hijinx, and fun like the mention of the most horrible terrorist attack on New York City--way to pump up the audience, Bill.  Jim Thornton quickly steered them towards the wheel, where we learned that during the earlier taping, a different ABC7 personality had spun the wheel in the wrong direction.

Who spins the wheel in the wrong direction?????  Seriously?????

This was apparently a dream of Sade Baderinwa, to spin the wheel, but apparently, they were short on time, so her spin was very quick and the wheel didn't even stop before Bill Ritter spun it and then they were walking away before it even stopped, and then the wheel technicians came in to shine it up one more time before taping.  On their way out, they waved and said good bye while she plugged her charity one more time as Jim Thornton began handing the show over to one of the production people.

We all yelled Wheel of Fortune really loudly.  Then we pretended that Vanna White and Pat Sajak were announced and screamed and shouted and applauded as the cameras swept through.

When the show was about to begin, we didn't actually yelled Wheel Of Fortune.  They used a canned version.  We were told, clap don't wave.  So what did the guy two rows in front of me do?  He waved.  Idiot.

The breaking of rules didn't stop there.  By the time the taping was through, everyone was waving, not clapping, and lots of people were whispering the puzzle answers to each other even though we were told multiple times DO NOT YELL OUT THE PUZZLE.

Pat Sajak is a funny funny guy.  He's very quick.  He's very personable.  He's very genuine.  OR he's a great actor who hates everyone and everything but lays it on thick when he's on stage.  I'm hoping it's the former.  Otherwise, I'd be devastated.  Pat Sajak is proof of good people.

Also proof of good people?  Vanna White.  She so pretty.  She claps so gracefully.

The two of them together have great great great chemistry, that of a lasting friendship that proves When Harry Met Sally doesn't hold true for at least this one instance.  Pat and Vanna rib each other.  At one point, Pat grabbed Vanna to dance a few steps.  She spoke into his mic on his coat, and it wasn't raunchy.    It was good clean fun, even when they were taping promos that were out of context and what they called boring but what I call very cool to watch.

The one thing that I didn't realize about Wheel Of Fortune was how much my hands would ache.  Oh, the clapping.  We clapped for everything.  We clapped when we went to break.  We clapped when we came back from break.  We clapped when they spun the wheel.  We clapped when they got a letter right.  We clapped when they bought a vowel. We clapped when they solved the puzzle.  We clapped when they won a prize.  We clapped when the show was over.

That's when we could clap and wave, so the guy who had already been waving took to standing up halfway out of his chair and waving since he was ahead of the curve.  He obviously has never seen a camera before because he was standing and waving when the camera was completely not facing him at all.  I kept thinking, that kid is an idiot.  Then towards the end he turned around and clapped and I saw that he was in his 40s.  Proof that idiots come in every age.

Between tapings, Jim Thornton came back out and answered questions about the show.  How heavy the wheel is.  How big the letter board is.  Where Vanna gets her dresses.  Then Pat Sajak came into the audience and Eddie and I cringed as one guy three rows below bum rushed the aisle.  We feared for Pat Sajak, but the guy was not quick enough, and Pat got away unscathed.  He actually brought a boy down to the stage, introduced him to Vanna, and sent him back to his seat with a Wheel Of Fortune goodie bag.  Jim Thornton informed us that we, too, would be receiving a prize for staying for both tapings.  We'd be getting one of those light up wheel pins that all the staff were wearing!

This was now the happiest day of our lives.  Free tickets AND free pins.  And the pins LIGHT UP!

We got through the second taping while our hands went numb.  Eddie showed me how to fake clap so that we could save our hands to clap when it really counted.  At the end, my hands were only slightly numb, and I snapped some pictures even though we weren't supposed to take any pictures.  I took mine quickly and slyly.  The ushers were focused on those who had their phones held up high, blatantly taking pictures when they weren't supposed to be, going so far as to have their friends posing in front of the stage.

Outside, the rain was still pouring and the ground was a slushy mess and Eddie and I both got our jeans and shoes soaked through, but that was no match to kill the high we were on from seeing America's Game up close and personal.  Next step?  Be on the show as a contestant.  It's gotta happen now.  It's our destiny.

Attention Wheel of Fortune: Come back to New York.  Host a Couples' Week.  Let us play.  Let us win.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Orwell's 1984 Is Now

It's raining.  It's nighttime.  (I'm doing everything in my power to not start this off with "It was a dark and stormy night."  But I think I just did).  Eddie and I were starving, and so food shopping had to happen in the dark and in the rain.  On the positive, usually the parking lots and stores are less crowded when it rains because everyone must be a witch and does not go out in the rain. 

So when we got to Trader Joe's, he went to get a cart and I stood at the entrance where the electric eye had already caught some people coming out of the store so the doors were open.  Eddie fought with some of the carts that were stuck together, jostling them and causing a small ruckus.

Out from behind the mess of carts scurries a rat.  A sizeable rat.  It scurried right at me.  This rat was a fast rat.  It was wet.  It looked cold.  It sped right through to the doors.  I said nothing because it was too fast for words. 

The rat ran right into my leg.  Then over my foot.  Then through the doors.  I let out an audible, Errruhhhh, hmm! holding up one finger as if to stop the rat and say, Excuse me, Rat, you shouldn't be going in there.

The couple heading out of the store watched the rat run.  The woman said, That makes me question coming here again.

Realizing that I'm not in charge of rats nor am I a bouncer for supermarkets, I stopped feeling guilty for letting the rat in and watched as it continued scurrying.  It went right over some woman's foot as she was checking out at the first register.  No one noticed at first.

Then, as Eddie pulled up his cart next to me, everyone in the store started jumping, gasping, and Eeeeking, you know, the sound you're supposed to make when you see a rat.  Eddie asked what was happening and I said, A rat just ran out from the carts when you moved them and went over my shoe and into the store.

We both walked into the store.  We still needed food.  A rat coming in through the front door when it's cold and wet outside does not mean the store has an infestation problem.  It means the rat is smart.

Some of the guys who work there grabbed a grocery basket and followed it around the store as the rat zig zagged around the displays of pies and bananas.  It ran right past us towards the salad.  Then it made its way into a hold under the salad display.  Instead of using the basket, the guys found cardboard and boarded up the hole so that the rat could not get out.

Eddie and I bypassed the salad and got our groceries in the other aisles.  By the time we got to the cashiers, they were all telling rat stories: rats in subways, rats in the street, rats in dark alleys.  I almost had a story about a rat running up my pants leg, but luckily, it ran past me into the Trader Joe.

When we made it to FoodTown, the rain let up.  We went up and down the aisles, grabbing and putting.  When we got to the freezer aisle, I pulled open a door to get some frozen veggies, and part of the door frame fell on my head.  It was a flimsy piece of plastic and it had tape on it, so obviously it's done this before.  Eddie was like, What is that?  I was like, It fell on my head.  He responded, maybe this is not the night for you to be food shopping.  Probably not, but hunger is worse than rats and freezer door parts.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Old Married Couple

Eddie's friend was having a birthday party in the city on a Saturday night with the theme Red and Black.  Exciting!  The party started at 10:30.  PM.  That's my bedtime.  However, I'm willing to forgo my bedtime for a bash. In theory.

In practice, we found ourselves on the train in surrounded by fifteen guys and two girls, all of whom could have been our children considering their ages.  They were drinking, shouting across to each other, sharing train tickets, offering large cans of beer to each other, passing bottles and phones to each other, over and around us.  They were figuring out how to get to the bar.  They were high-fiving each other and the guys in the band--some of them were in a band, I think.  They were drinking booze out of soda bottles--or some of them were just having an adverse reaction to soda judging by the wincing every time they swigged from the bottles.  They were sharing bottles, meaning they were sharing mono.  They were psyched!  They were ready to party!

I was ready for bed.

Eddie and I had our own fun.  Instead of pre-gaming, we played around with the options on his phone camera.  He finds this entertaining:

Because the theme was Red and Black and it was a party, I'd let Eddie pick out my outfit, which of course turned out to be a dress--black dress, red boots.  These boots are my velour spiked heels tight pull up dressy dress boots.  Perfect for summery and springish weather.  When we stepped out of the station and onto the subway platform, the cold air of winter went right up my dress and sent me into a chillllllllllll.  So that I had no chance of ever warming up, the MTA decided to confuse me by sending the C line on the D line and we had to get off after one stop and change trains again at another freezing station.

The upside? Violin music on the platform.  Eddie asked if I wanted to dance.  I did, but I turned him down, informing him about the recent wrath of police arresting people who dance in public.  The thieves who prey on iPod users and little old ladies are much more difficult to catch, so dancers beware.

We got to the party at a little after 10:30 PM after two rides and some walking.  In the flurrying snow.  Yep, flurries, me and my pretty red boots and short black dress, stamping through the NYC winter night.  It sent me back to my undergrad days when I was a sophomore at SUNY Oneonta and I went out in a tank top in zero-degree weather.  Back then, I was young and stupid.  Now?  Well, kind of the same.

When we got to the door, the woman asked if we were there for a party.  Eddie said yes and told her his friend's name. She was like, Oh are you him?  Ummmm, if it were him, wouldn't he says, Yes I'm here for MY party?  So no, it wasn't him, and she told us we were the first ones there.

Of course we were.  It wouldn't happen any other way.

We got our hands stamped and then proceeded into the bar.  Let me repeat, we got our hands stamped.
This stamp did not come off my hand until three days later.
We stood around a while, looking for anyone we knew.  We knew no one. Everyone we knew was either on their way to the party or in bed where they should be.  We got to the bar and ordered drinks.  Eddie ordered a Ketel One and Seven.  The bartender was like, We're out of Ketel so is Grey Goose okay?  Eddie was like, Sure.  Then the bartender asked, Is Sprite all right?  Eddie nodded.

Basically, Eddie asked for a Ketel One and Seven and got a Grey Goose and Sprite, which is different in the way that Coke and Pepsi are different.  It was like the poor man's Ketel One and Seven. 

I got a rum and Diet Coke because I'm watching my girlish figure.

For kicks, I was like, How much do you think the tab is?  Neither one of us drink anymore and when we do, it's rarely in the city, so I wanted to see how close we could get.  Eddie said, 16 or 18.  I was like, nah, it's gotta be 20.

The bartender put our drinks down in front of us and shouted, 27!


How far out of the loop are we?  Twenty-seven dollars for two drinks?  I could buy an entire bottle of Grey Goose and stick a straw in it for twenty-seven dollars.    We looked at each other and realized that the amount of money we usually spend on a date--forty bucks!-- is what we spent on two drinks.

We sipped and stirred, sipped and stirred, milked them for every penny.  The upside: they were amazing.  It was the best rum and Diet Coke I've ever had.  Dude knew what he was doing when he flipped those bottles.

Finally, other people showed up in their kind of red and black.  The birthday boy showed up not too much later.  We yelled over the music.  We watched The Three Stooges on the large screens over the bar.  We tried to figure out what the two people on their laptops were doing and why they were doing it in a bar.  I took a picture of two ultra skinny girls who posed as if I were the photographer for Vogue and they were on a professional shoot. 

And then, we were ready to go so we could catch the 1:40-something home.  Eddie had football in the morning.  I had a whole list of chores.  Big weekend!

The train ride home was not the drunk train.  It was the train before the drunk train that had drunk people on it, but not the sickly and stupidly drunk.  Most people were either eating pizza, on their phones, or giggling.  We?  Were taking pictures of ourselves.  It's what we do.

The next day, Eddie's alarm went off in the morning.  I hit him.  Hard.  It needed to not be going off.  He got up, grabbed his phone, and he set it to snooze.  It went off again and I hit him.  Harder.  No noise.  No light.  No awake.  Just sleep.  Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

At some time later after he'd left for football, I somehow got myself up and into the living room.  Where I sat on the couch.  And sat some more.  And then lied down.  Then sat a little.  And then hung off of it as I drifted into some limbo between awake and asleep.  I had a one-drink-hangover that was not fading away silently.  Instead, it was ravaging all it could and leaving a carcass of a gal behind.  Even now, it's a blurrrrrrrrrrrr.  Eddie came home at some point.  I ate something at some point.  But really, the only clear thing I remember is not wanting to be awake at all ever.

This is much unlike my undergrad days when I'd wake up at 7 AM after getting in at 4 AM and then work out and hang out and maybe crash around 4 PM but then bounce back for dinner around 6 PM and then hang out until 10, 11, 12.  Sure, I haven't done that in a long time, but not so long ago, I did go out and stay out and then function the next day.  Maybe I need to start drinking more. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Winning Little To Watch People Win Big

Who's got a fuzzy hair bun and is going to see a live taping of Wheel Of Fortune for FREE?
Four tickets.  Opened them at my parents' house.  My mom shouted, Oh I was going to send for those and never did.  Mom and Dad are now coming with.  One ticket left.  I'm pretty sure Eddie's claiming it.