Monday, May 9, 2011

Living in terror has become the norm...

Whirl A Style (Jumbo Medium, Black)

My first celebrity interview had me more excited after the fact than before. I was invited by a PR group to a promotional event to cover a new product and service: (shameless plug) and had to choose one of four Duane Reade stores in the city to cover each with different celebrities. I chose the one with Marina Sirtis, not because of my love of all things Star Trek, on the contrary, I am not a Trekkie (I'm sure I will get banged for that one) and the only things I enjoy about the series are Captain Kirk jokes and William Shatner's roast on Comedy Central a few years back.

 My mother had asked me to devote some of my hair care writing to older women and since Marina is by no means old, but in her late fifties, I felt this was a prime opportunity to appease mia madre and we'd have more in common than the other celebrity promoters such as Angelina from The Jersey Shore (castaway), Maria Kanellis from The Biggest Loser, I mean Celebrity Apprentice (my small B cup will have nothing to say to her silicone Ds), or Jessie and Gwen from The Bachelor (Who? Would last names even matter? Being a hard up husband seeker makes you a celebrity?). What has happened to the mind of television viewers? Why or how does reality TV make people "stars"? Anyway, Marina seemed more authentic as a real actor than a wannabe. I did some basic research on her and the product. I needed to figure out how to tie it all together since my title is on hair care, is localized to Long Island and the product is a hairstyle aid, therefore, my excitement was slightly curtailed. The Duane Reade in Herald Square, where this presentation was being conducted, is closer to Penn Station as well making cab or subway fare obsolete, therefore solidifying my decision.

I was thrilled that my husband agreed to tag along as my photographer. Besides giving me security from not knowing what to expect, he offered to treat me to lunch, which I jumped at since he'd be starting a new job Monday and there would be no more afternoon delights. My DH felt riding the train off peak was the best and most affordable way in even though two days prior it was discovered that Bin Laden plotted to derail the trains around the USA and we were once again on high alert.  Ironically, we renewed our life insurance policies the evening before, so I jested on Facebook while traveling in hoping there wouldn't be any explosions.

We arrived early (as was advised by my contact), so to kill time I asked, as any woman would, if I could use the facilities, of which I was denied! OK, beautiful day in the city, slightly chilly, so we sat at a table in the middle of Herald Square and watched the loons walk by. The city is the best place to realize your own mental state without the hundreds paid for a therapist. After a brief period of people watching, we headed back to the boutique on the second floor of Duane Reade (who knew!) and were greeted by Brittney of Fashion-on-the-Go who whipped up a cute little style on me using the Whirl-a-Style hair tool. As she was finishing me up, Marina walked in. There weren't many people on hand as I had been warned there might be, so I had the lovely actress all to myself. Lovely and inviting she was, making my first interaction of this sort a pleasurable experience. I focused my questions only on hair as I was doing the piece on the product and didn't want to come across stars truck either. Fact is, I wasn't and that made it easier for me to feel relaxed and enjoy the warmth of Marina's personality. Frank took tons of wonderful pics, we said our adieus and we were off to lunch.

Unfortunately, we had to pick the closest eatery because my bladder was ready to explode and it was more of a diner than the grill it claimed to be. We ate outside and ten times we could have skipped out on the check; that's how much attention the wait staff paid to us.

We had more than enough time to catch our 12:38 train and weaved our way back to Penn where I was disappointed to find Dunkin Donuts had been replaced by some Canadian coffee chain: Tim Horton's. The latte was OK; I just needed to drown away the aftertaste of the lunch I had just eaten. As we waited for the track to be assigned for our train, we noticed the four soldiers in fatigues in one area and six or seven MTA police at their desk in helmets and shields. High alert in NYC again: nothing-unusual here. There is even an odd sense of security knowing they are all around, on guard. In a split second, just as track 19 posted for Valley Stream, a soldier to my right hurried past, being summoned by one of the four and as fast as a blink of an eye all of the soldiers and police scurried to the tracks to the left of my train. None of the passengers saw them, or if they did, they paid no attention. They were focused on the train posting and all ran to it like feeding time at the zoo as soon as the number hit. My husband wanted to follow the authorities and I wanted to get the hell out of there. Really, I just renewed my life insurance, was the universe playing some type of bizarre joke? My heart was pounding and I begged my husband to leave the station. He agreed and we walked to one of the staircases that led outside and stood there for a chance to breathe and think. I wanted to be as close to an exit if this place blew, but DH felt if they were looking for something, they may evacuate and we would never get home to pick the kids up from school on time. We waited until the last possible second, mustered some type of bizarre strength and made our way back down to the train where we boarded the very last car. The entire walk to the train felt like an eternity as the hair on my neck stood on end. It was even more ominous that none of the authorities returned to their posts. Seconds ticked like hours during the two minutes before the train pulled out as I held my breath. I wasn't calm until we left the tunnel and saw daylight and relief set in as we deboarded. Nothing was mentioned on the news, so we assumed it was a routine drill or perhaps something was suspect, which thankfully turned into nothing. Never, had I ever feared dying like I did at that moment. And now the term terrorism and terrorist took on a whole new meaning to me. They succeeded. For a brief moment in my life, I allowed those desert animals to instill the worst possible fear within and I was terrorized. Even after the death of one of history's darkest villians, we still live in fear and probably always will.

I wasn't about to let this put a damper on one terrific day and hopefully a turning point in my career. I had a great afternoon upon our return home, took a catnap and wrote my article. After publishing, I received many emails from new people all night regarding future prospects adding to my euphoria. My articles allow for commenting and a reader and diehard Trekkie informed me of an apparent offense I made regarding Marina's age and character's "proper" title of Lt. Commander to full Commander. Oooooops! Sorry. But, thanks for the chuckle anyway!

1 comment:

  1. That must have been horrible. I can imagine the thoughts going through your head. Thank God nothing bad happened and that you are both safe.