In honor of tomorrow, which marks the second time Oprah and I will be in the same room, I will tell the tale of our first encounter.
It started in early January 2011, I entered my name, my dads, Liz’s, Rich’s, David’s – all with the promise that whoever won I would pay for their flights out there, hotel, whatever they needed, as long as I got to go too. A few days later, we all got the sad email that said we had not won the lottery tickets.
Then the text from my dad.
U got ophra tkts.
It was February 10 at 4:00PM, I know thanks to Facebook timeline. I wasn’t sure what he was trying to say, and if he really meant that, so I tried to contain my excitement until I could call him. Turns out, extra tickets had become available and we could now go. I dropped everything, booked flights, got a hotel room, rented a car, and got out of work and classes.
A few weeks later we were on our way to LA to see Oprah’s After Oscars Party . We spent the weekend visiting old friends, chasing Banksy street art, going to the Hollywood sign, shopping in Santa Monica, walking Hollywood Boulevard and cruising down to Malibu.
The day finally came, (February 28), we were told to be at Hollywood Bowl at 5am, where we would be bussed to the Kodak Theatre. The only other instructions we got were, dress brightly, no cell phones, no gifts or resumes for Oprah, there would be a security check. We got there at the right time, then stood in a parking lot line in the freezing cold for 2 hours. Once we finally got our tickets, we stood in another line for an hour waiting to get on a bus. Finally at the Kodak theatre, we go thru security, and are finally inside, and now have to wait another 30 minutes for the doors to open to get to our seats. My dad doesn’t like to wait 5 minutes, much less 4 hours for someone he doesn’t really want to see. So he was pretty annoyed with the whole process, and was not keeping quiet about it. I was determined to stay positive, knowing that this would all be worth it.
Finally in seats, we were third from the last room, at the very top of the theatre, so Oprah was like an ant on the stage. She also had the flu, so wasn’t as perky as I hoped she would be. There wasn’t much talking to the audience during commercials. The show taping all went pretty fast, and the surprise at the end where Katy Perry walks out while the kids from PS 22 were singing was such a tear jerker. Then it was over. Oprah walks off the stage, and I’m thinking ‘what a bi@*$, no car giveaway, no thanks, no saying hello, no nothing! (I wasn’t expecting a present, but I was secretly hoping there would be some amazing Oscar goody bag under our seats, it was her last year and all!) Like she could hear my thoughts from the last row, she turns back around and talks about it being her last year, thanks everyone for coming out, spending money to be here, getting our nails and hair done (that’s right I got my nails done!). So, just that small act of gratitude made it worth it and she redeemed herself in my eyes. All that miserable waiting in the parking lot was forgiven. (Obviously it still wasn’t worth it to my dad, but he has a different relationship with her).
That was it, my weekend of Oprah was over, the show was ending, and I had gotten to see her last Oscar special. Until a few days ago, when I got the email that once again, extra seats had become available. And then a day after that, another email with the same thing, so as we speak, I’m sitting in the back row (literally my seat is K the last row at Radio City), hungry as hell, captivated to whatever it is Oprah, Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra are telling me. Yay! Can’t wait. You’ll hear all about it tomorrow.