My spirit was at an all time low during this time and deciding to go out with Riley that New Years Eve was a good choice as after we left the club we stopped by his job. I found myself dressed to the nines, twirling around in the middle of Oprah’s stage in front of an empty audience. Most of the lights were off or dimmed but Riley turned a few up before giving me a tour of the offices and control room. I got to see all the photos of her and celebrities lining the hall walls. The desks were cluttered with papers and files. I kept waiting for someone to halt this fantasy and haul us off to jail, but the only other security guard in his office had just nodded at Riley as we came in. Riley said he did a periodic drop in like this just so the officers wouldn’t try and take advantage.
I’d been in Harpo studios only once prior to this for the John Kennedy Jr. taping. Yes I was really there. I was living in that last north side building in the middle of a major crush on him when the announcement came over the TV. I literally fell over the cocktail table forgetting it was there so busy trying to get to the phone. It still took me an hour to get through but got a seat reserved in the studio audience for that taping. This was during a time when it was very difficult to leave home but the desire to actually be in the same room with him overpowered my doubts and found myself on public transportation heading that way looking like a poor homeless person compared to the other well dressed audience members. It was times like this when I wondered what would it be like to live well. Brand new boutique style clothes, my hair always obviously salon fresh where the wind can do no damage. The ever-present feeling of existing on a solid foundation.
I remember the anxiety I experienced standing in line outside the studio that brisk sunny morning and nearly bolted for the nearest bus stop several times. I literally had to make myself stand there and see this through as the mostly polished crowd intimidated me and it appear no one came by them selves but me. A camera crew cruised the crowd speaking with various people but skipped over me for the personal interview. I recall having mixed feelings about that. Being one of the first fifteen called in for seating was a pleasant surprise. I will never forget the pure joy I felt being able to sit only a few feet away from this magnanimous person that had such a positively profound affect on me. I didn’t care if the people around me found it odd that I should be there and be even more excited then they were. Very few people have this kind of affect on me and cherish it when it does happen.
My mom, a huge Oprah fan who rarely missed an episode say she saw me in the studio audience of that show. Fleetingly I thought Oprah recognized me from a previous encounter, as I was the only African American seated directly in front where Oprah was standing.
Exactly where I was now spinning around soaking in the ambience of a real television studio. Being there in her studio that New Years Eve night and remembering the taping did so much for my spirit. I must feel a kindred association with Oprah as I easily consider her like a big sister and Jamie Fox like a little brother. These are two seemingly likable people I wouldn’t mind having a friendship with. The previous encounter when I actually met Oprah was some years back during the hospital years. It was at a Mexican restaurant where I met up with Dash’s girlfriend at the time, her twin sister plus several of their coworkers after work. Oprah and some of her producers came in taking a table next to ours. We waved but more focused on our third round of margaritas.
A big debate heated up at Oprah’s table. They eventually invited who was left in the restaurant to join their table and the discussion. I noticed Oprah had one of the largest margaritas on the menu in front of her and she was looking pretty relaxed as I end up sitting right next to her. It wasn’t long before we were throwing hi fives in the air on agreement of some discussion I do remember but will not detail. But I honestly wonder if I dreamed that whole thing. I do recall the restaurant closing. Oprah invited the twins and I to continue the discussion at her place. But before we could agree to this a restaurant staff member alerted us one of the twins was passed out cold in the ladies room and had to send Oprah and her crew on their way.
Dash now teases me saying I should’ve left the twins and went with Oprah. To be honest I was a little skeptical about that and didn’t really feel comfortable with it. We threw cold water on old girls face, scraped her off the bathroom floor, hopped in a cab and preceded to hit Rush street and a couple more bars.
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