Friday, February 13, 2004

Meanwhile, back at the Eclipse Awards....

When we last left me, I was sweeping dramatically across a discount hotel lobby, becoming overwhelmed by a gigantic representation of the NTRA logo, and taking great comfort in the general excellence of my rack. So, pretty much an average day here in Champagneville.

What made the Eclipse Awards different was pretty much summed up by what happened when I checked into the banquet. It was Cocktail Time. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay, Cocktail Time! For nothing says "Thoroughbred racing" like large amounts of peach Schnapps. I was entering the party on the arm of... nobody, balancing amongst jockeys on high heels spiky enough to aerate granite, and knew absolutely no one in the room except those I had admiringly read about and seen on television, not the least of which was the evening's emcee, Gary "I'm Just Here For the Party, And Also To Completely Freak Tink Out" Stevens. So. I was all about the Cocktail portion of Cocktail Time.

Everybody back at my turret room in the palace-- the talking mice, the cat, the Fairy Godmother-- they had all placed me under orders to at least try to introduce myself to Stevens before the last jockey had thrown up the third course. My BFFE (Best Friend For Ever, duh) Carah had even given me a script: "You just walk up to him," she instructed, "and say, 'Mister Stevens. I don't believe we've met. My name is Mary Beth... and that's all you need to know.'" (Depending on how well this indestructible salvo went down, I also had the option of tacking on the following addendum from the lovely and talented G-Force "...And it only keeps getting better from here.")

I rejected the entire speech out of hand, on the basis that it might give him the wrong idea.

"What, that you're sane?" said one of the talking mice.

People... mice. I've typed it before, and I'll type it again: I. Do not. Have a crush. On Gary Stevens. Four of my waking hours every single day are spent with Sean Hannity's voice in my ear, but that doesn't... okay, that's a lie. I do have a crush on Sean Hannity, but then again, you're going to develop a crush on just about anybody sitting next to Alan Colmes if you look at him long enough, if only because he is not Alan Colmes. But back to Gary, for whom I have only the warmest platonic, professional feelings and upon whom I most certainly do not have a crush: It is possible, you know, to admire, work on behalf of, and write about a person of the opposite sex without developing feelings of the Barry White variety. Even if that person is, you know, really attractive. I mean, really. Really, really, really, really attractive.

Right then.

I checked in to pick up my table assignment, and I'm standing there, and the Eclipse Awards chick behind the desk is digging up my name, which took some time, seeing as I was filed under the "Do Not Admit Without FBI Tracking Bracelet" header, when all of a sudden OHMYGODHOLYSHITGARYSTEVENSISTOTALLYSTANDINGRIGHT. THERE. Something's amiss with his table assignment, or some such thing, and he's quite genially attempting to get it taken care of. And I'm staring straight ahead very quietly on the theory that maybe if I'm completely inconspicuous, this will cause him to strike up a conversation.

There was a lull as one of the staff people attended to the Problem of the Table Assignment, and it occurred to me, as I strove valiantly to pretend I was not watching the winner of three Kentucky Derbies lean on the counter exactly two and a half feet away from me (and, it should be noted, my rack) that I might well never, ever, have this chance again, and that I really should just get over myself and TALK to the man already, but 1) I did not as yet have any alcohol in my system and 2) if Gary Stevens is anything at all like me in the final hours before a fairly major public speaking engagement, he was feeling a deep-seated need to spew, and I really didn't want to interfere with that.

So, I did the grown-up, professional thing and ran away.

As I worked the room (by "worked the room" I mean "wandered around with a rapidly depleting glass of red wine pretending to actually have some sort of objective in life") I caught sight of Gary Stevens a few more times, but he was always at least fourteen important people deep in conversation and-- well, you know. The spewing.

Thus, I circulated.





Further adventures further on.


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