9:17 PM. Duke and Lauren. They're only 13 minutes behind the boys, and considering that those teams arrived at the ropes at the same time, I'm pretty impressed that the combination of Duke and Lauren only took 13 more minutes on that climb than the combination of Tyler and James. "I can accept gays and lesbians, but when it's my daughter, you think of it a little differently," Duke says. Some of the EEFPs have made a comparison to Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? with Duke, which I think is probably about right. I don't think he thinks of himself as a prejudiced guy, and I think he's embarrassed to discover that he is one. It's depressing that this had to come between them, but as noted last week, all props to them both for trying. She says in an interview that she basically wants him to "see beyond [her] being gay," which is kind of the whole thing. It's not like anything about her that he loved before is less true because she's gay. They get to the bus office and sign up for the same bus as the Addicts (And Models!).
9:22 PM. Peter and Sarah. Five minutes behind Duke and Lauren, when Sarah got on the rope at about the same time as Duke. I think that to some degree, Sarah's freak-out on the rope looked worse than I was -- I think she had the initial reaction that it wasn't going to be possible, but once she calmed down, she was able to do it, although with a lot of effort. She explains as they leave the mat that her hydraulic knee is "blown out," so while she can get around, it's "like riding with a flat tire." I can't point you to a particular authoritative source, but having had lunch with Professor Google, it looks to me like that really is a serious problem for users of hydraulic knees. I imagine that if all the fluid leaked out of my knee, that would be a problem also, actually. It's all about common ground, people. "I just have to keep moving forward," she says cheerfully. They, too, sign up for the midnight bus.
9:36 PM. Dustin and Kandice. Dustin says that the two of them were "randomly paired together" at Miss America, and that's how they became friends. She goes on to say that it's really good to have close friends in a competitive crowd like they run in. At first, I didn't really get this comment, but then I was thinking about the fact that as Miss New York and Miss California, they both have to have been considered serious contenders (unlike Miss Delaware, who's like, "Why did I bother?"), and they roomed together, and the fact that they bonded closely in a situation where they were in a fairly high-stakes competition does speak well of them, I think. If I had gotten to that kind of a pitched point in a competition -- not that it would be pageants, of course, given... basically every single thing there is about me, including my dislike of spray glue and my lack of performance talent -- I don't know that my roommate/competitor would have become a fast friend, so it's interesting. Maybe they just have a bond because they want an army of identical blondes to rise up and defeat ugly people, but that's not the vibe I'm getting for the moment. They are fourth on the midnight bus.