Journey to Ellen’s, Part II: Hurry Up and Wait

The beginning of the Journey to Ellen’s Saga can be found here: We’ve Got a Train To Catch!

Jumping onto a moving train is an exhilarating experience. I felt like I belonged in a Bogart-era film, when trains were still the main mode of public transport across the country, and the main characters impressed everyone by catching the train at the last second. I wouldn’t recommend utilizing that method of entrance onto a train every time, but it certainly is fun to say that I’ve done it once in my life.

One might ask why we left so early, when we didn’t actually need to be at the studio until noon. The answer is simple: we wanted good seats. Three types of tickets were issued to those who saw Ellen that day: VIP, Guaranteed Seating, and Standby. Although we firmly believed that we were much more VI than the VIPs, we were thankful to get Guaranteed Seating, which meant that no matter what, we would get to see Ellen, even if from afar. It also meant that there was no assigned seating, so if we wanted good seats, we would need to get there before everyone else. Therefore, it was worth parking illegally in someone else’s driveway and fighting the elbows of peevish commuters.

The train was crowded. Angela and I sat in the back while the rest of the gang was dispersed through the train. Krysta found a seat in front of us in between two strangers, one of whom made a point of looking extraordinarily annoyed at having to move to make room for our friend when there was plenty of room on the seat. Needless to say, she was the butt of a healthy dose of jokes throughout the duration of the ride.

I still have no idea how we got out of Penn Station. I’ve been there a few times, but I have never once actually seen a sign that reads “Go this way to get out.” New York subway and train stations confuse me to no end. So, by some miracle or an incredible stroke of luck, we ended up on the street and began walking towards the hotel, where everyone (except David and me) was staying that night.

My dogs were barking by the time we got to the hotel. I couldn’t (and still can’t) believe how incredibly stupid I was not to have worn sneakers. Oh well, I thought, a little pain for the sake of cuteness never killed anyone…that I know of. We had to wait in the lobby of the hotel while Angela checked in, so my feet were granted a brief respite.

Once the girls checked in, we booked it to Columbus Circle. I was a bit shocked when it came into sight. The circle is at the corner of Central Park, so when you approach it, the sudden lack of buildings creates a sensation that the world has suddenly come to an end before you. It was just another reason why New York City doesn’t sit quite right with me.

Just around the corner we could see the building that housed Ellen’s studio. Angela got so excited that her smile looked like it would jump off her face. The sight of her skipping and jumping down the sidewalk in front of us was almost more entertaining than the prospect of actually seeing Ellen. Ch whispered to me, “I know she’s excited, but honestly, I’d almost be happier sitting all the way in the back, away from the cameras.” I wholeheartedly agreed with her, but since Angela treated us to the tickets, we figured we should sit where she wanted.

Eventually, after climbing four flights of stairs and waiting outside a nonfunctioning elevator, we found the line for the Ellen Show outside of the building. It seemed that our early arrival was going to pay off: we took our places near the front of the line and prepared to wait.

The crisp winds had died down and the sun now shone over the tops of the buildings, warming our faces. We traded jokes and took pictures with cameras that would soon need to be turned off, as was told to us several times by a member of security personnel that trolled up and down the lines. We took turns holding places in lines when pairs of our group needed to find the lavatory.

The time seemed to pass rather quickly once the surveys were handed out. We each received a sheet of 8-1/2”x11” paper on which was hastily typed the following questions: What would you do if you had ten extra minutes in your day? What is one errand you always have hanging over your head? If you had a butler, what would you have him do?

We knew that Ellen would choose her favorite answers and feature it on her show. We all scrambled for pens and tried to think of the funniest, cleverest responses. Angela themed her answers to fit the problem of one sock that always manages to disappear in the dryer. Ch themed her answers around her perpetually lost keys. I couldn’t think of anything clever, so I phoned Mike.

“Mikey,” I said, “What would you do if you had ten extra minutes in your day?”

“I’d check my email,” he replied.

“No, I mean if you could do anything.”

“Oh, you don’t want a real answer, you want a good answer!”

“Yes!”

His answer came without hesitation. “Pull-ups.”

“Pull-ups?”

“Yeah, pull-ups.”

I thanked him and hung up. I then scribbled my answers on the page: With ten extra minutes in my day, I would do pull-ups. An errand I always have hanging over my head is upper-body toning. If I had a butler, I would have him spot me while I did pull-ups.

We handed in our surveys and resumed our wait. The excitement was building as the line lengthened behind us; surely we would have excellent seats, as there were only about ten people in front of us.

NEXT TIME: The Riff-Raff Room

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