5:02 PM: hour seven, at last. We're now about two hundred people from the head of the line. "Hour and a half, tops," I tell C. "I'd laugh at that," she says, "but I'm trying to conserve my energy." I have lost the ability to form a complete sentence. The people around us are either laughing hysterically, punch drunk, or sitting on the ground in complete silence, about ten minutes from sweet, sweet death. "I don't even want to be on Survivor," I tell Elvis. "I've never even seen Survivor," he replies. "I'm just doing this on the advice of my agent." I'm too weak to even roll my eyes. I'd kill myself, but it's just too hot.
5:30 PM: still hour seven. "Don't forget to tape X-Files tomorrow," C tells me, apropos of nothing. I'm so hungry and dehydrated I'm ready to keel over. It's official: I would be the worst survivor, ever. If I see Mark Burnett, I plan to kick him in the shins. Hard. We finally get to enter the cordoned-off section of the line, which is about…wait for it…an hour and a half away from the cameras. There are three cameras, and each contestant gets three minutes to convince the show's producers that he or she is the next Colleen or Colby, or, seeing as this is Los Angeles, Jerri. We're so close to getting out of here, I want to cry. I have never wanted to go home more in my entire life, and that includes the time I saw Kuffs in the movie theatre.
5:50 PM: hour eight. I've now been in line longer than I was in bed the night before. We're being split into three separate lines by a six-year-old girl (you heard it here first -- CBS is using child labor!) who seemingly has no idea what she's doing, because she keeps forgetting to send people to the sign-in table where we get our numbers. After I get my number -- 52 -- the woman at the sign-in table has to stare at me for a good thirty seconds before she marks down that I am a white female. C, Toni, and I all end up in the camera two line, which is the longest and slowest of the three. Why does this not surprise me? At least we get the nicest cameraperson. Cameraperson Three keeps turning his back on the contestants and Cameraperson One actually walks away every time someone starts to talk. Eventually CBS employees see that the natives are restless -- to borrow a clichéd but appropriate phrase -- and bring out boxes of pastries and doughnuts. We go nuts and almost rip the hapless PAs limb from limb. My almond bear claw is, literally, the very best thing I have ever eaten, ever. Ever. The guy being taped over at camera one has taken off his pants and is dancing around, all Full Monty and remarkably unimpressive as far as all that goes, although after eight hours in the hot sun, I am undoubtedly a tough audience, and it doesn't even turn my stomach, the pastry is so good. There are now only twenty people in front of us. At three minutes per person, that's…an hour left. I just want to die. At this point, my planned speech for the camera includes the line "pick me, don't pick me, I don't care anymore." I think it's very persuasive.