Monday, August 17, 2009

Mentor Monday: Lights! Camera! Action!

There are times when opportunities present themselves at inopportune times. Recently I was contacted at 9:30 on a Saturday morning by a local TV news reporter and asked if I would comment on Eunice Kennedy Shriver's life and work. Mrs. Shriver was gravely ill at the time and her family was anticipating her passing at any moment. Somehow this reporter knew I had written Mrs. Shriver's biography for Women of the Bay State: 25 Massachusetts Women You Should Know, and he wanted to come by and interview me on camera. Those of you who saw my June 24th Women of Wednesday post know that I am an unabashed fan of Mrs. Shriver and the work she did on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities. I didn't hesitate to say I'd do it. He said he'd like to come by at 11 o'clock.

I was stunned into silence. He couldn't possibly mean 11 o'clock as in an hour and a half from that moment, because at that moment I was neither showered nor dressed. Most of my clothing options were crumpled in a laundry basket. My frock du jour was a pink striped bathrobe. Granted, the stripes were going the right way, but still. This wasn't good, but it was what it was and I was going to pull it together somehow.

I told the reporter 11 o'clock wasn't going to work, and we agreed to meet at noon. I hung up the phone and looked around. Not only was I not camera-ready, neither was my house. Now what was I going to do? As I looked around the house, the old admonition to always wear clean underwear because you never know when you're going to be in an accident sprang to mind. Always keep a clean house because you never know when a news crew is going to film it.

Now, let me assure you I don't live in the town dump. Given a half hour I could have had the place ready for anything, but I didn't have a half hour. If I was going to get myself ready on time, I didn't have a half minute. I could feel the panic rising. I tamped it down, and took control of the situation. Regardless of what they wanted, I would have them film me outside. It was a beautiful day, and I have a lovely yard. One problem was solved, but another arose to take its place.

If they filmed me outside I'd be in big hair trouble. At even the thought of a breeze, I'd end up with Professor Irwin E. Corey hair. I crossed my fingers and hoped I had enough hair spray to turn my wispy little 'do into a wind-proof helmet.

I raced to my closet and found a tailored, v-neck, button front black shirt I'd completely forgotten I had. Perfect! I'd throw it on over good pants and slip on a pair of black flats.

Before I jumped into the shower, I sent a quick email to all of my sisters, Write as well as birth. If anybody had any advice, I said, send it quick.

I showered and dressed and started rifling through my makeup. Because I have chronic dry eye, I rarely wear makeup anymore. It makes my eyes hurt like the dickens. But dry eye be damned. I've watched enough episodes of America's Next Top Model to know I needed artfully applied makeup before I faced the camera. (My secret's out. I'm addicted to America's Next Top Model. While it's true confessions time, I'll cop to the fact that I'm also counting the days until Project Runway returns on August 22nd. Can you believe it? Not that there are only a few days until Project Runway, but that I'm a fan.)

Anyway, I finished applying my makeup, blew my hair dry and power sprayed it. I had 35 minutes to spare when the phone rang. It was my sister Natty wanting to know what I was wearing. I ran it by her, and she gave my outfit a thumbs up. Hurray!

She asked about jewelry. I told her I was wearing a set of silver bangle bracelets, and, as a little nod to the Irish in both Eunice and me, my Claddagh ring. Natty insisted I throw on a simple strand of pearls. She said Eunice was probably a pearl-wearing kind of a girl back in the day, and that she would approve.

The minute I hung up the phone it rang again. It was the reporter. He was there a half hour early and wanted to know if that was okay. I told him of course, and that I'd join him outside at once. I grabbed the pearls, and fastened them around my throat as I walked to the door.

It went great. Actually, it went something like this:

When it was all over, even though my eyes looked like a commercial for Visine, I was so glad that I did it. Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away a few days later, and it was an honor to play a small part in the public remembrances.


Diane Mayr said...

August 22? That's next Saturday! Thanks for the heads-up!

And by the way, you were fabulous on tv. To tell the truth, I never even saw the pearls or the bracelets.

Mur said...

Since I mostly follow the news in the paper or on-line, I missed your moment in the sun. I'm glad you Tivo'd it so I can watch it soon.


Andy said...

Thanks! And Diane, I have a slight correction. Project Runway actually premieres this Thursday evening at 10 o'clock. Lifetime is repeating it on the 22nd.

I think Tim Gunn would have approved of the pearls.

Carol Gordon Ekster said...

Andy, this was fun to read. You're a talented writer. Glad the interview went well. Continued success, Carol

Andy said...

Carol! I just this minute found your comment. Thanks for checking in with us!