Wednesday, June 27, 2012

5 Seconds of Fame

I started out the day yesterday eagerly anticipating the arrival of my college roommate, Rachel, and her husband, Paul.  I had no idea I was going to end the day on national television!

I met Rachel and Paul at Heathrow in the morning, and after taking the Tube back to my house and freshening up, we ventured out for some lunch and sightseeing.  Although they have both traveled quite a bit, Rachel had not been to London since she was 16, and this was Paul's first time here, so they had a lot of things on their to-do list.  We took the train to Waterloo and embarked on a walking tour to hit some of the highlights.
With Rachel crossing the Thames near Parliament & Big Ben
Rachel & Paul and the London Eye
Olympic Countdown clock in Trafalgar Square
Olympic flags in St. James Square
London-Themed GWiz electric car
Buckingham Palace
While we were in front of Buckingham Palace, we were approached by a woman who asked if we were American -- she must have overheard us talking.  She told us she worked for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and was interviewing American tourists about a story that had just broken in the Wall Street Journal about Orbitz skewing their hotel search results so that Mac users saw higher-priced hotels than PC users.  I explained that I wasn't really a tourist, but Rachel and I agreed to be interviewed, so she took down our names and asked us each a few questions.

Since neither of us happened to read the WSJ that morning, we had to rely on the reporter to fill us in on the details.  Rachel and I did our best to give what sounded like informed, thoughtful responses to her questions, but it was a little challenging being asked to comment on the spot on something we had known nothing about 5 minutes earlier.  The reporter thanked us for giving her some good sound bites and told us the story would be on NBC Nightly News.  Since we don't get NBC Nightly News in London, and she didn't say WHEN it would be on the news, we didn't think much of it, especially since we were skeptical that they'd use either of our interviews in the story.  We just continued on our way through St. James park.
Topiary crown in St. James Park
By the time we emerged at the other end of the park, Rachel and Paul started running out of steam, so we hopped on the Tube back to Wimbledon and then walked up to Wimbledon Village for dinner.  As expected, the shops were all decorated for the tennis championships.
Pimm's cup floral arrangement

Tennis whites
Evian Wimbledon flags
We had a nice dinner at the Dog & Fox pub, which was packed to the rafters with tennis fans -- and probably a lot of players, too.  If any of us followed tennis more closely, I'm sure we would have recognized some of our fellow diners, but we just enjoyed our dinner in blissful ignorance.
The Dog & Fox
We took the bus back to my house so Rachel and Paul could experience the thrill of sitting in the front of the upper deck.  Plus, I figured I had sufficiently tired them out so they wouldn't have any trouble fighting jet lag to fall asleep.
Rachel and Paul observe the Wimbledon Station queue from the 93 bus
Sure enough, they were in bed by 10 pm, and slept until 10 am this morning.  While I was waiting for them to wake up, I booted up my laptop to check my email and was shocked to discover a couple emails and at least 20 Facebook messages from people who had seen me on NBC Nightly News the night before!  I could not believe it!  We didn't realize it was going to be on the news that very evening, and I fully expected my interview to end up on the cutting room floor.  I nearly ran upstairs to wake up Rachel and Paul, but decided we'd all be happier if I let them catch up on their sleep.

One of my friends posted a link to the clip, so I was able to see it for myself and watch my extremely brief appearance.  If you are interested, click on the link below:

If the link no longer works, here is a screen shot.  In my hair's defense, it was a humid, windy day, so I had a kind of Medusa thing going on.  Good thing they didn't identify me by name -- although clearly enough people recognized me that I've been hearing about it all day.  I even heard from a couple friends I'd met in London who were back in the US.  And to think all those tennis players in Wimbledon had no idea they were dining with a local celebrity!
Screen shot of my cameo appearance on national television
My 5 seconds of fame. Fleeting, but fun while it lasted!

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