WICD News Channel 15's Aiyana Cristal phoned me about a month ago, and asked if we could schedule 3 live TV spots for the 13th. At 5:35, 6:05, and 6:35, I'd be on the air. I needed to arrive by at least 5:15.
Perfect! I get off work at 4:00, would have time to go home and shower and pretti-fy before everything started. I'd be there right on time!
Uh, no, Aiyana informed me, yesterday. That's 5:15 in the a.m. In the morning, Lori.
Hello! Is my screenname GMORNINGgirl? No, it's GNIGHTgirl, because I am not a good-morning girl. I am stupor-morning girl. I am forget-to-put-the-coffee-pot-in-the-machine morning girl. I am dry-my-hair-out-the-car-window morning girl.
But up at 4:00 I was, putting toothpicks in my eyes before brushing on my mascara.
Oh, and I need to back up for just a second, and give you some valuable, valuable advice.
If you ever have a 5:35 in the morning, live TV shoot, do NOT for the love of God, stop in for dinner at a Mexican restaurant the night before, when Mexico is playing futbol against Brazil. Do NOT let your Mexican friends there talk you into trying a Michelada:
That, my friends, is hot-sauce and lime on ice, with a Corona poured over the top.
Do not also let them pressure you into eating a salsa consisting mostly of pepper oil and pepper seeds, and pepper peppers, with a pinch of tomatillo. No matter how much they make fun of you, and then of all Americans, do NOT declare yourself Mexican-for-a-day, and gobble down that Satanic Salsa.
Not on the night before a Live TV shoot.
Because when you're crawling out of bed at 4 a.m., Montezuma will take his revenge. That's all I'm saying.
And it's a good thing there were 30-minutes between each interview. That's all I'm saying.
That's really all I'm saying.
Anyway, here's Aiyana, about 3 minutes before we went on the air, all calm and collected. Look, you can practically hear her singing "tra-la-laaaa" she is so cool and unnerved.
I, on the other hand, at the "3-minute" call, was busy lecturing myself: "Stay calm. Avoid saying 'uhhhhh.' Remember this is LIVE, so you can't count on editing. Breathe. Smile. Never eat salsa again. Focus."
The cameraman really does say "3 minutes" and "1 minute," and "Stand by." Somewhere around 1 minute, Aiyana saunters to the camera, and beckons me over. At 30 seconds, she picks up her mic and smiles big. I stand next to her and smile big also, hoping I look nothing like this:
Aiyana suddenly began talking to invisible anchors at an invisible station, introducing me and asking me to summarize the Toys for Troops program.
At the 5:35 show, I talkedrealrealrealfast. I was like those guys on the Jimmy John's "Subs So Fast You'll Freak" ads. Welcome aboard, Ed.
At the 6:05 show, I forced myself to slow down. I was more comfortable, and talking merrily away, at one point: "Blah blah blah yak yak yak..." and this thought suddenly went through my mind:
Crap! What was the question? Was it something about soldiers? Because I'm talking about soldiers. What about them? Mind you, while all of this was going through my mind, I was still talking away. How in the hell do I get out of here?!
"What was the question?"
I solved the problem by finding the end of a sentence, ceasing conversation altogether, and trying this again:
It didn't work. Aiyana waited for me to finish my thought, until it was clear I hadn't a thought in my head: I just stood there. Smiling. And smiling. I tried to convey, with my eyes, "Work with me, baby. I got nothing here. I'm out. O-U-T out."
It seemed like minutes, but it was probably only a few seconds before Aiyana smoothed things over with another friendly question, and we got back on track.
After that one, there was a recorded feed, for the evening shows. I began to answer one question, realized I'd left out vital information, paused to figure out how to work that information in...and paused...and paused, realizing then I'd paused too long. Aiyana, ever so gracious, said "Let's do that again." Yes, let's.
Then there was a third live feed, in which I have no idea what happened. Each interview had the same information, but slightly different questions, and my time there was done before I'm usually even awake, most mornings.
Another television interview, you'd think they'd get easier. You'd think I'd be prepared. You'd think I'd be calm. You'd think I'd learn. We packed up our visual aids and went to Sam's Cafe, for breakfast. I ordered 2 eggs, over hard.
"You want hot sauce with that?" Keith-the-waiter asked.
"Heck Yeah, I do!" I told him.
Maybe not so much, on that learning stuff.