6:15 PM: hour eight continues. We're almost up. Bambi with her tan, bare belly is number fifty. C is fifty-one. I am fifty-two. Bambi perches on the stool, stares into the camera, and bats her fake eyelashes. "What wouldn't I do for a million dollars?" she asks in a breathy baby voice. "I would never hurt anyone emotionally, mentally, or physically. Or animals. I would never hurt animals." The flamboyantly gay man next to me turns around and rolls his eyes at me. We've bonded over our mutual hatred of Bambi. Over on camera three, a young guy holds up a big "Pick Me!" sign.
6:21 PM: still hour eight. C is on the hot seat. I can barely hear her over the chuckleheads in line for camera three, who are doing some kind of cheer. I see the pixie lesbian over at camera one. She's yodeling the Survivor theme. She's darling. She's in. The guy after her gets up there with wood and newspaper and tries to start a fire. In the tent. The camerawoman doesn't bat an eye, but at least she doesn't walk away this time. On camera three, a woman has removed her leopard print tank dress to reveal a shimmery camouflage bikini. She holds up a CD made by her garage band and then flexes her biceps. The cameraman turns his back on her and rubs his eyes. I hear C say something about only having one kidney. "She has one kid?" Flamboyantly Gay asks me. "One KIDNEY," I correct him. He nods. C clambers off the stool. "I have no idea what I just said," she tells me.
6:23 PM: hour eight. My hour of reckoning. I'm suddenly totally nervous, even though I have absolutely no desire to be sent off to some deserted place somewhere with no food, the sun beating down on my head and fifteen other idiots jabbering endlessly in my ear. The woman behind camera two is very nice, asking me to speak up to make sure I can be heard over the crowd, and instructing me to hold my number up by my face when I say my name. "Rolling," she says. I hold the number next to my face and flash the camera a wide, fake smile, and start with the unintentional lies. "I'm twenty-four," I say. I'm twenty-five. "I'm a copywriter." I just got laid off. "I don't even know why I'm here. My friend said she'd buy me dinner if I came with her. I mean, I could do with a million dollars, and I think I'd be good on the show because --" The girl over at camera three starts screaming "Morgan Hill! Morgan Hill!" and totally throws me off. I look over at her. "Some girl over there is acting totally retarded," I tell the camera. And then I lose it. I babble about being an evil manipulative genius, which is not only monstrously stupid but also blatantly untrue, especially considering that if I can't remember how old I am after seven hours in the sun, I truly have no chance of evilly manipulating shit. I think I mentioned that I have a lot of allergies, and that I enjoy watching football, and that I have a degree in English, and that I feel like I waited in line since the dawn of mankind. I'm not sure. I remember nothing. It's like a bad dream. "Okay, I feel like a total dork. Thanks for your time," was my brilliant finish. I choked, y'all. I totally choked. But it's okay, because there's no way I could survive a month on an island, or the tundra, or the Amazon, or wherever, if I couldn't survive eight hours in a parking lot. Which I couldn't.