i don't know why i accepted oprah's invitation to stay at her place in new york. first, i hate new york and second, oprah was EXHAUSTING. she never really listened, she only ever waited for an opening in any conversation to hijack it with the booming sound of her own voice. to be around her for more than 5 minutes was pure torture; she was so self-centered that usually by minute 6 i found myself biting my tongue until it bled and desperately searching for an exit. it was always 'The Oprah Show' to oprah.
the cab let me off at the bottom of a vine and moss covered winding stone stair. i looked up and then back at the taxi. it was italy i was sure. the impatient driver grabbed the bills from my hand and barked, 'up da stairs!', before he sped off shaking his head in disgust. i let out the handle on my well traveled, tough little osprey and started to bang it up the steps after me. i marveled at the sun illuminating the tiny leaves that clung to the ancient stone wall. after several turns and at least 100 risers i stood before an exceptionally wide deep claret door. i lifted the massive knocker, but before it could fall onto the corresponding plate the door exploded open and revealed a grinning oprah. my hand was still frozen in the air as she took the handle of my bag and gathered me in. my head reeled as i was led deeper and deeper into the house. i tried to keep track of my path so i could bolt, but soon i was hopelessly turned around and watched as my osprey was handed off to be put in my room. i was stuck.
oprah seemed unusually happy i had to admit. as i followed her throughout the surprisingly beautiful and charming house, she introduced me to a wild assortment of people (and an astounding number of children) staying with her- most did not speak english, but all smiled genuinely. as we walked, oprah explained that the house was being restored to its 16th century splendor and she was lucky enough to have expert craftsmen from all over the world working on it. shockingly, oprah knew every one by name and very sweetly introduced me to each while carefully and respectfully explaining their particular area of expertise. this was a different oprah! i felt myself relax and the smile on my face was genuine. when oprah said, 'now let's take a ride in my 20 million dollar restored bugatti!', my heart sank. back to oprah, i thought.
we walked out onto the stone driveway and the car looked like a creamy jewel. oprah said, 'no, look at the seats!' and we both started laughing as i realized we would be essentially fully reclined while riding in the car. 'don't worry, ' she said, 'i swear i can drive it without killing us!'. we each spider-crawled into the car laughing so hard we couldn't speak. when she turned the key, the engine roared like thunder. 'I swear we will not die today!' she promised.
we laughed for the rest of the day.