It's fairly unusual to meet anyone in person as a result of anything you write for the web. That's just the way it is. Generally, you stay on your side of the monitor; they stay on theirs. Recently, though, I got a lovely and friendly email from this guy who told me that he really was getting a kick out of the recaps, and that he and his family -- big Amazing Race fans, all -- were having an Amazing-Race-watching party. He'd noticed enough geographical references in the recaps to know that I was reasonably nearby, so he thought he'd invite me to the party. Pretty cool, huh?
I couldn't, of course, just show up at some house without a better idea than that of exactly what I was dealing with, so I arranged to meet him for coffee Wednesday morning before the show aired that night. That way, if he turned out to be, you know, totally creepy or anything, I'd be in a well-lit, public place where there would be plenty of people around to hear me scream. So we met, we had coffee, and he was obviously pretty much who he said he was, so all was well. Armed with this information, I did, in fact, attend the party. When I got there, he greeted me again, shook my hand, and almost immediately said, "Oh, c'mon, I have to get you on the phone with Brennan. He's complaining because he didn't get to say hi to you."
Did I forget to mention it was Rob? Well, it was. So I watched this episode at Rob's house. Rob's mom's house, actually. (Thanks, Rob's mom!)
Okay, Point The First -- this is what you need to know above all else. I have NOTHING to pass along regarding who wins, what other cities they're going to visit, or ANYTHING having to do with anything that hasn't aired yet, so Do! Not! Ask! Me! I am here to tell you, I have no idea what pinchy-faced CBS lawyer put the claws into these people regarding the importance of obeying their confidentiality agreements, but whoever it is should stop wasting his or her time being a pinchy-faced CBS lawyer and go to work as a Mafia enforcer, because he or she is apparently extremely scary. Esquire gave up NOTHING of that sort, and I am serious. Didn't tell me whether they won, didn't tell me whether they were happy about who won, didn't tell me where they went damn you, CBS legal department! Furthermore, I can honestly tell you (honestly, honestly, honestly) that nothing that occurred gave me the slightest inkling about anything that's to come. You can hate me for being so unobservant, but I picked up no hints. Thus, all I can really offer you are some general impressions I was able to glean on a personal (rather than journalistic) level, along with a very few occasional moments of what we'll just call Quotable Rob (and, from the telephone chat, Quotable Brennan). At a later date, once there aren't as many pressing confidentiality concerns, we hope to present Team Esquire: The MBTV Interview, at which point more dish may be available. But you'll have to wait and see whether we can actually make that happen.