Okay, I'm back. So, you wanna know how it went?
I drove to Toronto the day before because ... well, it's a few hours away and they wanted me to be there at 8:15 and I'm really not that great at finding my way around. (I'll always get where I'm going but sometimes it's later rather than sooner) I made one wrong turn which cost me an extra half hour of driving. (with the traffic on the 401 it took me about 3 1/2 hours) My hotel was located right off the highway and when I saw it, I decided to keep going and locate the CTV television station so I would be . . . you know, on time and not in a panic the next morning. I went one exit too far but still found the station pretty easily so I drove to my hotel, grabbed some dinner, reviewed for my segment and watched a little Larry King.
I asked for a 6 am wake-up call ... here's how I figured my morning would go:
6 - 6:30 - Have a cup of coffee in my room and review.
6:30 - 7 - Get showered and dressed
7 - 7:30 - Grab some breakfast
7:30 - 7:45 - check out
Leave for CTV with a full half hour to make a five minute drive.
Here's how it went:
6 -6:30 - Have a cup of coffee in my room and review.
It was downhill from there.
I will spare you some of the details as I'm sure I'll regret it later. I leave the hotel at 7:55 . . . still LOTS of time to get to the station. This time I take the CORRECT exit. Big mistake. I end up driving around the parking lot of some big shopping mall. I know I am close but have no idea which direction to take. I make ONE educated guess and find myself in an industrial park. It is 8:05.
I park and rip open my suitcase where I have stashed my list of directions and phone numbers. I call the station. I tell the woman who answers who I am and that I'm a guest who is supposed to be there at 8:15 and I'm lost. She asks where I am. I tell her Progress Street. She has no idea where that is. She asks what landmarks are around me. I tell her a Toyota building. She pauses. "Toyata building?" I am beginning to panic. She says to turn in the direction of the big shopping mall. Ahhhh...I know where that is...I was just in their parking lot.
I am driving and ask her (I probably sounded more like I was begging) to please stay on the line until I find them. She says not to worry, she will. Then she says she is going to put me on hold for minute. I think they are trying to decide what to do about a replacement guest. She comes back on the line ... she tells me to look for a Lazy-Boy building ... I tell her I see a sign for McCowan Rd. North. She says YES! That's where I should be going! Take that!
I am in the far left of three lanes. It may even have been four lanes. Who the hell knows? The exit is on the far right. I ask her if she heard my car screeching to a stop. She did. I take the exit.
She tells me, "By the way, I really like your strip." I thank her. Later on, that will make me feel good . . . right then, I am bordering on hysteria. It is 8:10. ( It is subdued hysteria, by the way ... I don't think she detects just how much anxiety I am in . . . or maybe she does )
She asks me what other landmarks I see. I tell her the Winners store. She says they are right across the street from that. (see? I knew I wasn't too far away) She mentions a church. I SEE THAT! Then I see the station. I'm there. I made it. I have minutes to spare.
A woman greets me and I'm sorry but I can't recall her name. She takes me into make-up and introduces me to Linda. (I think that was her name) She is very nice and calm. I stare at her and I ask her, "Do you know who you look like? People MUST have told you ... " She looks at me and smiles. She looks EXACTLY like Shirley MacLaine. A younger Shirley MacLaine but Linda is cuter. She touches up my make-up and applies concealer under my eyes THREE times. The anxiety of the drive is showing I guess.
The other woman says she is going to take me to the green room. I ask if there is a mirror there. I want to fix my hair. Shirley motions me to another table with a mirror and says to use anything there I want. The woman who is directing me says I have a few seconds. Fixing my hair and a few seconds do not compute. Shirley, bless her, tells me I look fine and gives me a shot of hairspray.
I am now in the green room with another gentleman. I ask him if he is a guest. He's not. He's some kind of set designer. I tell him I think I may have made a mistake coming on the show. He tells me not to worry, I'll be fine, it will be over in a few minutes and no one remembers what anyone says on televison anyway. I burst out laughing. I feel much better.
I now have my mic on and I am led to the set. It's smaller than I imagined but it has a very cozy feel to it. They lead me over to the sofa chairs and I sit down, trying to remember all the advice everyone has given me... like sit up straight. There was lots more advice but this is all I can remember.
Bev Thomson comes over. She is cute as can be. We chat very quickly before my segment. I tell her I'm worried I might lose my train of thought. She says not to worry, if I do, she'll cover for me. She tells me to feel free to jump in at any time if there is a point I want to make. She is fabulous. Really, she couldn't have been nicer. She really puts me at ease. The driving fiasco is now a distant memory.
And then it's over. The set designer was right. I go back to the green room. The set designer and the mic guy are all telling me I did a great job. These people are all so nice. Really.
So it's over. I haven't had the nerve to watch the segment yet but you can watch it here.
Look for the "video player" section and click on "Comic strip tackles domestic violence."
And what do I have to say about the whole experience? Well, first, the people at Canada AM are just fabulous. When I watch the program on television, I get the sense that it is a fun place and the people are warm and friendly. And they are . . . both the on-air hosts and the behind-the-scenes people. There is a great atmosphere there.
And second . . . this whole thing has been very cool. I really had fun. I'd even do it again.
Man . . . my job ROCKS! :)