The Day I Didn't Meet Oprah

The Day I Didn’t Meet Oprah

Paras Griffin / Getty Images

It was 2007.

My husband and I were at a conference in Chicago. Read: My husband was conferencing. I, on the other hand, was indulging myself on the Miracle Mile, taking in the sights, and basically misbehaving during the day until he came back from learning stuff for his job.

And, of course, I was looking for Oprah.


Until Oprah left me for her expensive, only-in-the-Platinum-level package that I’m not buying from my cable company’s OWN channel, I was her biggest fan. BIGGEST. FAN. I never missed an episode, made it a practice to Remember My Spirit every single day, and as my friends will attest, started every third sentence with “You know, I saw on Oprah the other day….” Four in the afternoon was my sacred hour. Tea was made, laundry got folded, and I got my fill of advice. The Oprah Winfrey Show was my happy place.

No joke. Barry Manilow has Fanilows; Oprah had me.

When I found out my husband and I were going to the conference in Chicago, I, of course, tried to get tickets to a show. Oh, did I try. Emails, sign-up forms, waiting lists, promising my firstborn to Stedman, all to no avail. Nothing. Nada. But I flew to Chicago hopeful that, somehow, I’d get to meet the woman behind the Louboutins and she’d become my bestie. No disrespect to Gayle. Or my actual BFF.

Because our hotel was in downtown Chicago, I made a practice of stalking scoping out the concierge to see if he had inside info on how to get into a taping. I did everything short of slipping him $100 and my room key (because that would have been super awkward with my husband in the room) to try to convince him he should help me get on the show. The best he could do was put my name on a list that he compiled daily just in case Harpo Studios called with complimentary tickets, which, he assured me, did happen from time to time. So, for the first three days, I dutifully added my name to The List.

The fourth day found me spending most of the morning walking the city, and by the time I got back, it was too late to add my name to The List. Too late. I arrived back at the hotel too late. You can see where this is going, right?

Although I lamented that my name didn’t make it onto The List, I figured that my bond with Oprah would transcend the simple oversight. I mean, I had put it into the universe that I wanted to meet her, no? The universe owed me because I was her biggest fan. For god’s sake, I had her latest Book Club selection in my bag. I’d been reading it at a Starbucks in her town. Owed. I was owed, people.

Flash forward to the next morning as my husband and I got on the elevator with two 40-something, overly excited, downright exuberant women. They were practically jumping up and down. I didn’t think anything of it other than that they must be moms like me who had been let loose in a major city without kids for a few days. I’d been like a caged animal waiting to get off the plane for my sojourn without kids, so it seemed plausible that they were just “no kids” giddy.

Or not.

Chipper 40-Something No. 1: ER-MA-GHERD. I cannot BELIEVE our hotel was picked to go see Oprah!!!

Chipper 40-Something No. 2: ERRRRRMMMAAAGERD, I KNOOOWWW! So excited! So lucky! Putting our names on the list four days in a row TOTALLY PAID OFF!!!

Me: *Cue tears, insert confused hubby, and commence a small, yet dignified, scene in the elevator.*

One day. One damned day I wavered in my devotion to Oprah. One single day where I forgot to make her my number-one priority. While I was out Remembering My Spirit all over her blessed town, my Angel Network failed me.

It was too much to bear. And I cried like a petulant child. I totally did.

And then it got worse.

Wait for it…

As luck would have it, I ran into the two Chipper 40-Somethings upon their return to the hotel after the taping. Of course, I had to run into them later in the day. Of course I did. Because Oprah hates me. Or, at the very least, the concierge did.

From The Over Excited Wonder Twins and their high-pitched yammering, I found out that PATRICK FRICKING SWAYZE MADE A SURPRISE APPEARANCE ON THE SHOW. The show where I should have been sitting front row center. The show where I was supposed to see my lifestyle guru up close. The show WHERE PATRICK SWAYZE WAS IN THE BUILDING.

It is amazing that I didn’t slap the spirit right outta those two ladies right in the middle of the hotel lobby.


I guess it could have been worse: It could have been the taping of Oprah’s Favorite Things, right? But it was PATRICK SWAYZE, people. Johnny from Dirty Dancing. Sam from Ghost. Dalton from Roadhouse. I just can’t.

Someday. Someday, I will meet Oprah. And when I do, I promise not to act like the jacked-up, overexcited 40-somethings in the elevator.

But I can’t promise I won’t jump on a couch or two…