Wednesday, September 27, 2006

On Alert

11-0 Devil Rays. I guess Papi stayed at 54 tonight. I didn't see the game, but I also had 54 tonight. Meaning I held ticket number 54 at tonight's taping of The Colbert Report.

As usual (this was our fourth-ish taping), we came out feeling like it was the best Colbert ever. It's just so fun to be there, to be part of it, and to watch Colbert in action.

The guest was Lowell Bergman. Check this out. Mark your calendars. The Red Sox won't be playing.

And Colbert did his Cosby imitation! Ever since I did that Cosby thing, it seems he's been everywhere.

Something so totally ridiculous happened tonight. It happened while we waited in the Colbert lobby. I was there with Chan and two friends. After passing through the metal detector, we found ourselves in a room packed with people. Chan and I, being Colbert veterans, knew that we'd be called in by our ticket number, so there was no need to get close to the studio door. We could sit in the chairs toward the back, relaxing instead of standing, and know we'd get in at the same time anyway.

We fought our way past some standees, and sunk into a row of four chairs, behind four other chairs. Almost immediately, a sorority-type girl in the chair in front of me turned around and said to my friend, "Hi, I'm Kat," sticking out her hand for a shake, before giving me the same routine.

I don't know what you would've thought, but my initial reaction to that was that she thought we were part of some group she belonged to, that she thought we were also with.

My friend thought the same thing, so of course, we each shook this woman's hand while staring at her like she had a whole lot of heads.

She asked, "So how are you connected to the show...?"

Unbelievable. In New York, hell, anywhere in the world, you don't just start talking to a stranger. A nod or even a hi is perfectly acceptable. Even a little quick small talk is okay, say, in the midwest. And even then, you should be able to get a sense right away if the other party is into it or not, and react accordingly. But to just decide somebody wants to have a conversation with you simply because they're sitting near you is preposterous! We're sitting there convinced she must have us confused with someone else. We're clearly giving her the "we're here with these other people and you're there with your friends so what the hell are you doing?" look, and she's acting like we're the crazy ones.

It really was the type of behavior you'd expect if you went to some business function or wedding where people are mingling. It wasn't like we were all sitting around at a party, facing each other, and an awkward moment forced someone to strike up a conversation. We sat down, and instantly she went out of her way to turn all the way around and start interrogating us. Which is why we had to believe she thought we were somehow "with" her, because we sat in the chairs, and her crowd was in chairs as well, while everyone else in the room was standing. Have you ever been, say, standing in the movie theater lobby, deciding what candy to buy, and have someone approach you, introduce him or herself, and start asking you what movie you're going to and why? I'm telling you, it was weird.

I answered her question. "We're just big fans of the show." Why else would you go to a TV show taping? I was still expecting at any moment for her to say something that would cause us to say, "Ohhhh, no, no, we're not special guests or anything, we're just random people," which would cause her to in turn say, "ohhh, I'm so sorry, I'm so embarrassed! I thought...oh, okay, sorry to freak you out. You must've thought I was crazy."

But she didn't say that. She said, confidently, "Oh, so you're tourists..."

Ooooooh. That's almost as bad as asking a fat lady when her baby's due.

"No, we live here," we shot back, now with looks of "turn your head around, Muffy, right now, or we'll tear it off" on our faces. She finally got the message at this point, and verrry slowwwly turned away after a phony "nice to meet you."

At this point, she turned to some people on the other side of her, and started in with them. They all seemed to be trapped by her. They didn't know how to give "the look," I guess. But she ended up leaving, at the end of the show, with those other people. Which makes me believe it really could've been some college function, where a bunch of students were given tickets, and met each other there,for the first time, at the taping. But I honestly don't know.

Chan and our other friend were directly behind the girl, so they didn't have to deal with her. I later told Chan he was fortunate to be in her blind spot. I said, "Chan, I kept trying to make eye contact with you after she turned away, but you were just staring up in the air." "Yeah," he said, "I was trying to be invisible."

Of course, we did think about what kind of world this is where someone tries to talk to you and it's thought of as some kind of affront. I guess it's better than spitting on us. But it was pretty freakin' weird. Especially in New York.

Chan does invisibility too? Wow...
Generally when strangers strike up conversations with me, it's because they're selling Jesus.
Yeah, exactly. It was like she was pushing something on us. So weird.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States