There we were–a gazillion of us. Standing, sitting, sleeping, eating. We were the young and the old, the beautiful and the bold. Some dressed up, others dressed down. Some were small and others were tall. Some were short, some where bald while younger folks where just plain sprawled. People came early people came late. All were there to find their fate. But the truth of the matter was — everyone had made the long haul in hopes of reward for the final curtain call.
How many of you have actually spent the night on a sidewalk and for what? The new iPad? Or a long-awaited concert? American Idol? How about that opportunity for the Howie germ-free salutation? Did you have fun? How tired did you become? Did you reach your goal? Was it hot? Was it cold? Was it damp while you camped?
Slightly before dusk My husband and I scoured the Shops of Willow Lawn. To my sheer delight and utter amazement the sidewalks harbored just about 10 fans. Our strategy was to check into a nearby hotel and return to the site of operation. My partner-in-crime was not fragmented with the quirks I possessed. His desires of the heart were miniscule — deliver his bride and relish the night on a serta-posterpedic.
At 9PM we parked our derrieres on the cement and I settled in for the long haul. My knight-in-shining-armor would be gone in a heartbeat. Momentarily I couldn’t imagine where 4,977 other Howie Mandel addicts could be stashed. On the other hand I was destined to enter the kingdom of the celestial fortress. After all, I was number 23. That’s right–my bona-fide quarters among the top twenty-two “Deal” fanatics.
Swiftly the flocks began pouring in. Vacationers travelling through Richmond. Folks from New York, Pennsylvania and all over Virginia. With each passing hour contenders encrusted the storefronts. Two young college girls took up residence next to me. Pronto we bonded and became shut-eye deprived. Furthermore, in the grand scheme of lunacy my husband decided to stay the night. A sidewalk creäture at best.
Practice makes perfect. I had rehearsed my “Howie” poem again and again. At home, at work–my boss thought I was crazy.Colloberation with my comrades brought timing to a 30 second perfection. I knew this piece from top to bottom, inside and out. I would conquer! Sharing camera strategies with my sidewalk buddies was not happening during this giant sleep-over. Therefore practice time was officially over.
Spending the night with such a diverse group was terrific fun. The age of innocence stared me directly in the face. We had sharing of food and storytelling with live news coverage. Kind folks held places on “potty” and food runs. It was genuinely the season to enlighten my spirit.
Suddenly I had a mystifying guest perched before my throne. Appearing to be 70ish she dressed in pajama-like clothing. Her greyish hair covered in pink sponge curlers. I must have forgotten to remove the sign from my forehead that said “pick me”. She did just that. Engaging in small-talk revealed much about my mystery bedfellow. Watching the midnight news broadcast uncovered the crowds swarming in. Alarmed by the numbers she scrammed from home dressed for bed. She went on to explain her philosophy in winning her “Deal” spot. My anonymous caller would be communicating her love for Howie directly into the camera. C-r-E-e-P-y!
Dusk turned to dawn and humongous groups were cattle-prodded into the mall. Organization abounded. Directions flowed like water. The shows producer climbed atop a platform to offer inspiration and words of wisdom. Be unique, be excited and don’t confess your love for Howie! Poor new woman stranger.
The next few minutes were an utter blur. Scurried out one door and into anther we finally made it to Shangri-La. My long-suffering arrived. Camera crews were plentiful. Little bitty black curtains shielded your neighbor. Soundproof? No way! Finally showtime. Exhaustion and distraction set in. The jabbering on each side was thunderous. With cameras finally rolling all I committed to remembering was dribble. Spewing straight from my lips …”this grandma ain’t to old”…and in a twinkling it was over.
Three fatal attempts for the coveted contestant slot brought nothing, nada, zip, zero. I give now my words of wisdom “Howie, I love you”.
Live Life to its Fullest and Follow Your Dreams
See you soon…