Labor Day weekend, my good friend Nicole offered me a ticket to see a taping of the Ellen Show. I was thrilled at the chance and Todd nodded in agreement that it would be okay to escape for a while. Our taping was scheduled for Thursday, October 18th at 6pm. I was more excited at the idea of escaping for three day, despite the 12 hour car ride...wait...that 12 hour car ride was going to be HEAVEN! As much as I love "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Where is Thumbkin"playing on constant rotation with kids in the car, I couldn't wait to hear what new soundtrack would accompany us on this trip.
The last time I had been on a road trip with Nicole was when I was just 16 years old and we drove together to Montana. The music we played then has stuck with me more than a picture would. Every time I hear Celine Dion or Sarah McLaughlin, I recall that little get away and the fun times Nicole and I have together.
The soundtrack for this trip, however, will always be anything by Taylor Swift..because of the concert that almost was. More on that to come later.
Wednesday morning, I kissed my family good-bye in Nicole's driveway. None of them seemed heartbroken that I was going to be away for three days. The drive there was full of the music that we love and passing stories back and forth as to what has been going in our lives. I'm somewhat of a paranoid/cautious driver, so Nicole let me take the wheel for about an hour. Then she took back over, she's better able to handle the crazy California traffic. Proof that I don't get out much.
We arrived at Nicole's friends' house around 9pm, and each of us pulled out what we thought we were going to wear the next day, to get a stamp of approval (once we were there the variety of wardrobe was from ultra classy to somewhat trashy...I don't think there was much in the way of "wardrobe rules" . Then we got a great nights sleep...with the exception of the spider I swallowed while sleeping. I know I swallowed a spider because I woke up coughing with something strange in my throat...what else could it have been?
Thursday morning was the day of our great adventure. I was somewhat excited, not super duper thrilled, but excited. We drove down the Malibu Coast, trying to find Oprah's house listening to Nicole, Gina and Bobby share stories about their time together. We stopped in Santa Monica, took a walk down to the beach, soaked my toesies in the Pacific Ocean...feeling closer to Hawaii than I have in almost 4 years and ventured down the famous Santa Monica Pier.
Waiting outside, the music was playing, more and more people started coming and we learned that just across the street, the 3pm taping had begun. It was Taylor Swift!!! A special concert!!! I think you could feel the sadness of everyone around that we weren't there watching this great singer/songwriter...especially the girl with the Taylor Swift T-shirt on (no, that wasn't me).
Eventually they informed us that it was time to get our numbers and begin the whole cattle call process again. The energy wasn't super buzzed, but the people sure were anxious to just get through the line. I got number 136. I had no idea what that was supposed to mean. We'd heard that others that had been to a taping before us had filled out questionnaires, but we didn't.
The butterflies were really flying at the point! My adrenaline was pumping and I couldn't wait to get across the street and into the studio. We crossed the street in numerical order, went through metal detectors and then went into the little shop and wound our way through some comfy benches to wait and dance...I swear I was the only one dancing or feeling any amount of excitement at this point. I honestly feel sorry for Ellen cuz this crowd was a bunch of duds.
We walked up the stairs into the studio, it was a little smaller than I had thought, but it was AWESOME!!! I thought with as spastic as I was that we were certain to get a good spot, but we got plopped on the second to last row. Nicole got a great end seat and the energy started flowing...and we were encouraged to shake our groove thangs...which I gladly did! I did it so much that I got to go down in the front of the crowd and show 'em what moves I got! It was BLAST!!! That was my very favorite part of this whole experience. The people were smiling and dancing and happy....it's so contagious. I wish the whole world could feel like that every day. Eventually I was stopped, thrown (and thankfully caught) a T-shirt for my participation and went back to my seat, but you couldn't stop my dancing feet.
The guests for the episode were LL Cool J, Victoria Jackson and her Daughter, Jerry O'Connel and Portia De Rossi. The guests were good, but the commercial breaks were better, especially when I shoved Nicole out into the aisle and she had to put on her dancing shoes, she did awesome! I love watching people dance!!!
We walked out of the taping with some calories burned, I got a bruised and scraped finger from wearing a huge ring (lots and lots of clapping), and a book by Victoria Jackson and her daughter.
The thrill died quickly and the realization that it wasn't as amazing as I had hoped hit me. Maybe it was knowing what the episode was like before us, or seeing that other people have gotten more than a book before. But mostly, I danced and sweat way to hard to have not truly gotten my 15 seconds of fame (lame, I know). That was confirmed after watching the taping and the only glimpse of our crew was a millisecond when you could see Gina's hands up in the air clapping after a commercial break (I had thought that FOR SURE Bobby sitting up straight at the mention of Rebecca Romij coming out would have made it on TV).
The drive home was beautiful past orange orchards and vineyards. Nicole said it reminded her of her time in Italy. Maybe that will be our next trip!