I wrote to Gabe that my newfound running proclivity is saving my life, and tonight he asked if I was being dramatic. I'm not.
On the tour I became a connoisseur of hotel gyms. The Portland Embassy Suites placed the aerobic area over the atmospherically lit indoor pool, which gave the feeling of exercising inside the movie, Cocoon, except minus all the old people and the aliens at the bottom of the water (and plus one mentally challenged girl: see September 5th). The Seattle Sheraton put their gym on the top floor of the hotel, with the treadmills facing a glass wall overlooking downtown. As I ran at night, I stared past my reflection into an office skyscraper across the way, where an entire, empty floor was lit with dimmers so low they looked like candlelight. The effect was romantic, so I refocused on the glass before me and made, "Hello there" eyes at my sweaty doppelganger. The first afternoon I ran in the Newton Sheraton "fitness center," the right side of my head nearly burst into flames because the treadmill sat in a ten-foot window facing the direction of the setting sun, and the glass channeled all available heat into a death-ray pointing straight toward the machine. This made me feel like I was endurance training in the midst of the apocalypse. The next morning was significantly cooler, as was the temperature of the Poland Ice water beneath the television in comparison to the water in all the other hotels (kudos). The Park South Hotel put their gym in the basement, with the windows near the ceiling barely showing street level. I really liked the Park South treadmill, which was telling me I was burning significantly more calories than usual, until I realized that the Park South treadmill had been set to reflect statistics for a 190 pound person.
I used to run on a treadmill in my old Hollywood apartment, except I was never as in love with the sensation as I am today. And I think I have to chalk the discrepancy up to the fact that I was previously running to "General Hospital," which I now realize was poorly timed accompaniment. All those long, lingering looks between Lucky and Elizabeth fucked with my pacing and slowed my experience of time. Plus, there was an acid-reflux commercial that came on during every other commercial break, and every time it did, a pain would instantly appear in my right side.
Whenever I go on "vacation," I end up adding a morning show to my roster, and this time was no exception. I began running to the Rosie O'Donnell-infused "The View." One bright a.m., comfortably jogging a ten-minute mile, I watched as Rosie shared her surefire cure for diaper rash. When her children were infants, she'd hold them naked over her neighbor's dog and let the dog lick the babies' nether regions. Instant fix! The dog story came after an anecdote earlier in the week about how Rosie's kid was in the bath with her and this kid, looking at Rosie's nether regions, asked, "Momma, when am I going to get my fur?" While watching the fallout from the dog's-tongue advice (Babwa clutching mental pearls; Elizabeth Hasselbeck visibly thinking, "I knew lesbians did things like this!") I was so completely mesmerized that by the time I glanced down at the treadmill's timer, fifty calories had sped by. That's like six slices of turkey.
As the week wore on, I became more and more taken by Rosie's presence. It's as if no one explained to her that "The View" isn't a revival of her old show and those other chicks around her aren't production assistants. One day, I think I was in Newton, Rosie inexplicably stepped in front of the desk and burst into a fully choreographed number about Keebler snack products. A company of shiny, muscular dancers encircled her right after she finished embracing a man dressed in a head-to-toe elf costume. When you could see the other "View" women behind the all-out production, which was rarely, they were making faces like, "Holy shit, how did we get on a 'R. Family Vacation' Cruise?" Rosie wants to dance-- she dances. Rosie wants to sing-- she sings. Rosie wants to talk about how even her son found her former haircut dykey-- she talks. I'm tempted to say that Rosie is the delightfully inescapable black hole of the show, except that isn't accurate because she radiates light. She showed up on that set and every other person in the room, guests included, became at best, extraneous, at worst, distractions. In the latest issue, Entertainment Weekly notes that Rosie has taken to pointing at people when she's decided to let them speak, Babwa included. And Babwa, who, while I was in New York, I believe, moved chairs to be on the opposite side of the table from Rosie (who then asked, "What, do I have B.O.?") now has this look on her face like she promised her baby to Rumpelstiltskin and is majorly regretting the deal. But Rosie's the best thing that's ever happened to that time slot. She's even better in a group than carrying her own show because watching her effect on her co-hosts is bearing witness to a way more compelling social experiment than Survivor: Cook Islands.
During the book tour Rosie's verve traveled straight into my bloodstream and, as a result, I added a sprinting portion to my running sessions. Now that I'm home again and have returned to the UCLA faculty gym, where, unfortunately, they have an "all televisions on closed-captioning, please" policy, I'm missing her like she's my AWOL personal trainer. The professors at the gym prefer CNN, which doesn't have a single personality with even a hundredth of Rosie's charisma. The other members like to run to bad-spinach updates scrolling across the screen.
P.S. As for me and "my show," I turned in the Panda pilot script to "The N" a couple of weeks ago, and let's say there are, uhhhh, some divergent artistic visions. I'm pasting a scene below that I bet you will never, ever make it to air. I'm pasting it in Wingdings.
P.P.S. Here's what an interview done in the middle of a depression looks like!