Today was absolutely one of the best experiences of my life, along with earning my black belt and getting my desk (believe me, a desk is a wonderful thing for a girl who used to stay up until all hours of the night writing stories on notebook paper and then messing up everything because she shifted in bed). This morning was great, not because I was awake at 6:20 AM, but because Dad and I were able to have coffee with the guys. Mr. H related an anecdote about Patton and Marshall, and another about what he was doing Dec. 7, 1941.
Following several calls and a bit of phone tag, Dad and I met Floyd the next town over at Dunkin' Donuts at 9:30 (we were supposed to meet at the coffee shop where we were at 8:30). Then, we started the journey to New York City (which was far prettier than the drive to Rochester). The three hours we spent on the road in itself were interesting. For the most part, I listened while Dad and Floyd talked, but every once in a while I interjected as we discussed politics, theology and life in general. Even though I typically either present my views via this blog or discuss things with my dad whenever he picks me up from or takes me back to college, it was interesting to hear another opinion.
I can't believe how alien New York City felt. I've been to New York perhaps six times (it was where I first touched American soil!), London a few times, Venice once, and Istanbul once. And yet for some reason, I felt completely out of place when I went to New York today. It wasn't that I didn't fit in -- I tried my hardest not to look out of place. But I simply felt like I was in a completely different world. It was rather surreal and indescribable. And I found that I was less certain that I want to live there in the future. I still definitely want to apply for an internship with Fox News, but do I honestly want to live in New York City? And the answer is "no," I am not commuting. It was odd, considering that for years and years I've wanted to live in NYC. I'd still be willing to put up with it if I had the chance to work for Fox.
Upon arriving, we met up with a 9.12 group from the Hershey area, and the ten of us went to a deli for lunch. Oh, what I would have given to have been able to try the Turkish restaurant across from the News Corporation. Whenever I'm in cities, I dislike going to McDonald's or Subway. I can have a cheeseburger or a sandwich any time. I cannot have lamb biryani (which is actually Indian, but my favorite food) whenever I want.
We decided to meander for half an hour before heading to the studio, but in the end Dad knew I'd simply run off and probably not return in time because I'd be off exploring, so I was stranded in Toys 'R' Us along with Spiderman and several photographers whom I pitied, because no one wanted their pictures taken when they walked into the store.
We returned to the studio (for, oh, the third time) and waited for security to let us inside. Dad and I were the first ones to be frisked by security, which brought back lovely memories of high school and the bomb threats we had the last few weeks of my Senior year.
Once everyone (either 45 or 55 or something to that effect, which was probably both the average age and the number of people) entered the waiting room, we chatted and some people ate and watched FoxNews on the TV. I was honestly the youngest audience member at nineteen, though I believe there was a twenty-year-old and also a twenty-three-year-old. I was incredibly nervous and was receiving several texts from friends who were either watching or Tivo-ing the show (which, I suddenly realized with absolute mortification, was filmed live). For some reason, despite the fact that I received an e-mail which contained the word "live" in all capital letters at least twice throughout the text, and despite the fact that I watch Glenn Beck almost regularly to the point of scheduling/missing dinner around or because of the show (remember that time on that one show on which that man fainted? . . . I'm pretty sure that was live), the fact that I would be on live television didn't actually register in my brain until that moment.
Inside the studio, I was plopped in the back corner (I swear all the short people sat in the back) and nearly froze to death because of the air conditioner. I assume it was because of the lights, and I'm sure that it was perfect for Mr. Beck, but since I was simply sitting and I'm always cold anyway, I was clenching my jaw to keep my teeth from chattering.
Speaking of Mr. Beck, the moment he walked out all I could think was, "Ohmygoshit'sGlennBeck!" And then reality set in and I was slightly disappointed with myself because he is, after all, a man. With a TV show. And the power of the ear of the people. Wow.
What sort of surprised me was his down-to-earthiness. I remember the first time I actually watched him was the night of his rerun of the 9.12 Project episode. He was talking about how much he loved the country, and he started crying. My mom asked if he was serious, and for a moment, I wasn't certain myself. But I quickly realized that he truly was genuine, and that first impression has always stuck with me. And, you know what? He really is genuine. He's animated and funny and he seems like the sort of person with whom one could sit down with at a kitchen table and have a nice long discussion.
But, I digress. Before the show even started I thought there was going to be a beat-down between two of the gentlemen in the audience. They would make good talking heads. I was annoyed by the fact that some people did not seem to possess the judgment to know when to stop talking. In my opinion, it simply made them seem overbearing, but I suppose that was perhaps better than not talking at all, in some instances.
The actual show flew by like crazy. It seemed that no sooner had someone gotten a word in edgewise than it was time for a commercial break. I was glad that Floyd had an opportunity to speak (and to present Mr. Beck with a shirt from the Tea Party!), but my dad had wished to speak, and never had the opportunity. I thought of comments every once in a while, but by the time I had them worded properly in my head, the discussion had continued.
Even though I didn't actually have a chance to speak (which, I must admit, disappointed me to an extent), I truly enjoyed the experience. I was hoping to address conservatism (or lack thereof) at the college level, but conversation never drifted that way, and time was short. Although, Mr. Beck apologized for not addressing me and that issue, which surprised me and made me happy because he cared. It was a privilege and an opportunity more educational and relevant than some things I'm taught and many discussions I've had on campus.
After the show, I was determined to thank Mr. Beck for the opportunity, and tell him about my roommate and me watching his show rather frequently, to the point where she sometimes turns on his show even when I'm not there. In the end, I was again overcome with a billion words and too little time and the fact that I admire him, and I have no idea what I said. I said the basic message, but probably at about 174 words a minute. I was on Cloud Nine, but apparently he told Dad that Dad had done well with me. Nothing says "good parenting skills" like rearing a concerned and active Conservative teenager!
Although my mom taped the show, I'm not sure if I'll watch it. I sort of feel like it would be like taping my wedding. I'll remember my wedding as the most perfect day of my life (or something to that effect), and then I'll watch the DVD and suddenly notice the fact that my hair wasn't perfect and the flower girl was punching the ring bearer because he pulled her hair and someone in the third row back, fifth seat in had fallen asleep. So, I don't know that I'll actually watch the show.
However, I do hope that Mr. Beck continues with that sort of show. It was a huge risk and he pulled it off successfully. Although, according to my mom, it would be more successful if he moderated the discussion better, and if he hadn't talked for so long at the beginning. I, personally, was again in awe of his ability to speak without a teleprompter, and so didn't notice that he talked for the first fifteen minutes of the show. I agree with the first suggestion, at least, as I felt that some people monopolized the conversation.
One of these days, I'm also going to have the power of the ear of the people. And by that time hopefully I'll have something to say.