Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Crazy Day and Rachael Ray

I wrote this almost two months ago but wanted to wait to post it until after the episode aired. However, the episode has not aired yet and it probably won't, so here it is anyway!

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by the Rachael Ray show for a possible upcoming segment, that they have since abandoned. Last week they contacted me again to see if I was interested in doing a "pet psychic" segment, they wanted a champion dog that had an odd behavior or something that would be "helped" by the pet psychic. I didn't have such a dog but, being swept up in the fun of TV, told them I'd think about it and get back to them. I phoned my friend Amy whose dog Skye is a Champion but decided last July that she was done showing. Fast forward, after a bazillion phone calls, a meeting and "back story" taping, and four days, Amy was set to go the studio on Tuesday to tape the studio audience segment.
Monday evening started normal enough, but slowly took on a life of its own. Amy and I spoke and she was upset by the directions the pet psychic was planning to take with her "reading." (Her "reading" was neither psychic nor helpful). Amy, being a caring and sensitive person, expressed some dread over getting herself into this predicament. I, being the one who essentially put her there, felt exceedingly guilty. I was also seething that this "psychic" was so obviously manipulative as to hone in on a sensitive matter for Amy and use that as her "reading."
8 pm Phone Call: I encouraged Amy to cancel if she felt better about it. She agreed. At this point Pat was going to babysit Ian for the day so I could accompany Amy to NYC. Thinking I'd still get some errands done, I emailed Pat with the change in my plans but to tell her I'd still see her in the morning.
10 pm: Phone Rings
The producers promise Amy that the psychic will not broach the undesirable subject and that they don't run that kind of show, etc. Blah blah blah. Amy's trusting spirit caused her to agree to go to the taping, I with more than a little doubt in their integrity, agreed to go with her to NYC. So now we're back to getting up at 4:00 am, so off to bed I go.
11:00 - I'm finally in bed my head spinning with everything that might happen the following and how I might react to it. Sharpening my razor claws if they so much as try to push Amy around, I was ready to slay this psychic and the producers if they gave me the slightest reason. I was so disappointed in how contrived the whole situation was. I mean, I know you can't really believe what you see on TV but, I guess I never really imagined how much so. So in retribution, I enjoyed imagining being able to call that out onto the carpet if given the opportunity. Yes, my mind spins in strange directions and the later it is, the stranger the train of thought.
I finally fall asleep, my guess is about midnight.
12:45 am - " MORNING! " Evan and I greeted by the toddler who was convinced it was time to get up and start the day. I can't even remember who got up and put him back, it might have been Evan. But either way, I was up and now listening for the pitter patter of feet so I could promptly send him back to bed....which I had to do at least twice. I think he finally fell asleep by 1:30, so I finally fell sleep again by 2:00.
3:00 am - PHONE RINGS. One of my doula clients is in labor, water broke so she is sure today is the day. I cheerfully agree to await their next phone call so I can go be with her. I then spend the next hour and fifteen minutes, partly dozing and partly downshifting my emotional state from ready to claw someone's eyes out to lovingly attending a woman while she births her child.
4:15 am - I call Amy (she needed to be up to leave) to tell her I will not be able to come with her to NYC. I think she was disappointed but she could have just been sleepy. Finally, I hope to get a few hours sleep before I have to go to the hospital. I settle into bed.
4:30 -PHONE RINGS It's the expectant dad. They are going to the hospital. Alright, up I get, shower, and leave the house by 5:20.
5:30 am - CELL PHONE RINGS. It's Evan. Baby is already out. (WOW, ok, did they even make it to the hospital I wonder?) Back to plan A, I call Amy, turn the car around and head to Mystic arriving right on time. I request a pillow for the ride to NYC for some reason thinking I will sleep on the way. Fortunately, my emotional claws were now filed down because I had to change gears into "birth doula" mode and, as with real claws I couldn't regrow them on such short notices. It was better anyway, my outlook about the upcoming events was more curious and optimistic. Besides, functioning on less than 2 hours of sleep, I wouldn't have been capable of any savvy word exchanges.
10:30 am - We arrive at the studio. That's right, 4 hours. The 2 hour and fifteen minute drive took four hours. Blech.
By 11:30 we were ensconced in a tiny 10x10 "green" room with Amy's name on the door, a sad looking plate of fruit, and a bucket of ice and soft drinks. Amy and Skye were brought to the "audience holding" room to await her interview while Lindsay and I turned off all the lights to create a movie theater atmosphere, sunk onto the hard couch to watch the live feed on the plasma screen.
Amy did wonderfully with the interview, handling herself with grace and charm. She quickly realized she wasn't really supposed to talk much it was all about the animal communicator. You could see it that Rachael Ray wasn't all too enchanted with her guest and pretty much stumbled over the words of having to call her a communicator or a psychic. The psychic lady didn't stick to her agreement and did delve into an area that was supposed to be off limits, but Amy handled all that just fine. It was painful to watch the ludicrous way in which this psychic "told" the dog what she said she needed to hear knowing full well, all the nonsense she was spewing was from the phone interview she had with Amy the previous night. Rachael, clearly a dog lover, was very tuned into Skye and worried about her nervous behavior. She was only shaking a bit, which, and I think most Canaan Dog owners would agree, would be expected in such a situation. Skye, who before cameras rolled quickly allowed Rachael to approach and pet never really wanted to warm up to the "animal communicator", allowing only one brief scratch when she was focused on something else. I consider Canaan Dogs a pretty good judge of character.
Amy returned to the room and received several compliments from various producers about her segment. The producer heading up this segment rushed into the room and asked Amy what she wanted cut from the piece. I thought it turned out pretty well too, though I won't really know until we see how it is cut.
So here is the interesting part. After it was all over, the producers started implying that we were expected to leave the set now. The night prior when Amy nearly backed out to the producer, she had been told that we would all get to meet Rachael and take a photo, etc. So she inquired. The producer said that she would try to get her to come by during her next costume change and warns us that she'll only have two minutes.
So here was the single most interesting part of the day for me. In walks Rachael, followed by three producers standing in the doorway. She walks into the tiny room, spots Skye on the couch and heads right for her, ignoring Skye's warning growl, wraps her arms around her and was hugging her and talking quietly to her. Skye, by this point is busy looking over Rachael's shoulder and keeping a watchful eye on the people lingering just outside the door. A minute of the two minutes goes by. She has not spoken a word nor even looked at the three humans standing the room. I say, "You really love animals don't you?" Ignored.
She gets up and turns to walk out of the room. Amy, who was standing by the door, subtly body blocks her and asks if it would be alright to take a photo with Lindsay, as its her birthday tomorrow. I think I heard Rachael mumble "Sure" flatly and then poses for the photo. Walks out the door. Without looking at her, I think she reached out and lightly touched Amy's back and said, "Thanks sweetie" very quietly. Then she was gone. It was the strangest two minutes. I mean, no "Hi", no "Thanks for coming", NOTHING. There was absolutely no acknowledgement of the three humans standing in arms distance from her. BIZARRE. Lindsay said later, "Someone forgot to wind her up." I mean I wasn't expecting any meaningful conversation or deep discussion, but a "hi how are you, thanks for coming," I don't think would have been too much to ask. Maybe she was just on autopilot because she is ushered around by producers from costume change to makeup to stage and back and is probably not used to having to be social between activities. I don't know. I will say she was strikingly beautiful in person, more than she appears on TV. I was surprised by that. She also had put on a fantastic black dress that Lindsay and I both envied.

And that's it. We carried our stuff out to the car and we were off. We stopped for a smoothie on the way home because we were all starving. Believe it or not it took nearly four hours to get home too. So to recap that's 8 hours in the car, 3 hours in a tiny room, 2 hours of sleep , and 2 minutes with Rachael Ray, and that's my crazy day!

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