I Would Not Survive
Okay, so I have this friend. We'll call her C. C and I, like the rest of the Western world, love Survivor. C, in particular, loves Survivor. C, I think, would be evilly brilliant on Survivor. Fade in on last Thursday night, post-show. My phone rings.
Jessica: The Queen is dead! Long live the Queen!
C: Smell ya later, Jerri!
Jessica: Hey, they're having auditions for S3 on Saturday. You ought to try out.
C: Well .
Jessica: You so ought to! You're always talking about your strategy.
C: Well .
Jessica: I'll totally go with you and keep you company.
C: Um .
Jessica: Come on! You only regret the things you don't do.
C: All right. Bring snacks.
That line? About only regretting the things you don't do? Total lie. Sometimes, you regret the things you do.
Saturday, March 31. 10:42 AM: hour one. C and I arrive about forty-five minutes after the open call began, only to find a massive line already wrapped around CBS Studios on Sunset Boulevard here in Los Angeles. Later we find out that about five hundred people camped out to be first in line. I can't imagine being the five-hundredth person in that line, considering the fact that he or she could have probably slept in their own bed and showed up at 8 AM and spent roughly the same amount of time waiting. We have to park about twenty minutes away, on a side street, and haul ass all the way to the studios. While C holds our spot, I go in search of the head of the line to get applications for us. I walk about a hundred miles and make the disturbing discovery that the line is way longer than I thought -- it goes inside and all around the CBS parking lot. People are already sitting down on the asphalt and complaining about the heat. Wusses.
11:50 AM: hour two. It's unseasonably warm, but the line is moving really quickly. We move about ten feet every fifteen minutes. "This isn't bad at all," I say to C. "Let's eat the snacks before they get too hot," she says. We eat cookies and fill out the six-page application, which includes such soul-searching questions as, "What accomplishment are you most proud of?" (I am tempted to answer: "Learning to write sentences that don't end in prepositions."), "Who is your hero and why?" and "Name three adjectives describing yourself." I feel like I'm joining a dating service. The feeling is apropos because later I see a man I suspect I may have dated and then I realize that I saw him on an episode of Blind Date. He's wearing his fireman's uniform and carrying a headshot. Because this is Los Angeles, eighty percent of the contestants are carrying their headshots.