I received an invitation to return as a guest on the popular national radio show "Coast to Coast" in June. I hadn't been on since my 'appearances' in April (hosted by Bob Lonsberry) and August (with Mike Siegel) in 2000. I’d never been interviewed by George Noory, and was looking forward to having a good time together.
The show's producer called me beforehand to brief me about the prelims. At the end of the conversation, she asked me to give her a landline phone number on which the evening producer would call at showtime. "Oh,"sure!" I replied, "I have a VOIP (internet) telephone — or I can give you my cell number..."
"Nope, sorry," she interrupted "— you must have a landline connection!"
"Oh, don't worry," I replied, "I've never had a problem with my cell connection..."
"Nope," she said, "Sorry — it's policy. You must be able to give us a landline number. It's a deal breaker."
"Okay," I said, "I'll figure something out..."
"By the way," she offered, "some of our guests camp out at hotels to get access to a landline."
"Sure," I said — "that's an idea...I'll let you know."
I called a local hotel and spoke to Sue the Manager. She was able to verify that I’d had a two-month stay there a few years before, when a water line burst and flooded my house. She was most agreeable, and responded to my request for a space with a landline by offering me the use of her office during the late C2C hour. I told her that the producer had asked that I be available for the call at 9:50pm. "Fine," she said, "I can be out by then."
I arrived at the hotel at 9:30pm, giving myself plenty of time to get situated and be ready for the call. There were a few people milling around the lobby, and one or two standing at the front desk when I headed in that direction. I stepped up and identified myself to the gal behind the counter, mentioning my mission.
"Oh, yes," the she said, "Sue told me you'd be coming — but you're a little early."
"I know," I said, "please tell the manager not to rush."
The gal ducked into the manager's office at the rear, and then returned to the desk. "Sue's just now packing up. She said you can go on in." I thanked her, and then started to move in that same direction.
The window to Sue's office looked out into the lobby, and looking in, it was obvious that my early arrival had truly inconvenienced her. She appeared to be scrambling — packing up laptop and grabbing various paraphernalia from around her small office, stuffing it all into a small duffel. She looked up when I knocked on the door. "Come on in!" she said, waving me in.
Sue had cleared her desk, making the entire surface available. She asked if there was anything else I might need. I bent down to look under the desk and spotted the surge protector with a spare outlet which would service my iPad nicely. "No," I replied, everything looks great!" She smiled, grabbed her duffel and laptop, then headed out.
"Good luck!" she said through the window. "Oh, if you need anything — just ask Andy, our evening accountant who's out here," she said, and a friendly-looking fellow peeked in. “I’m here if you you need me,” he said, smiling, waving back.
I settled in at Sue’s desk, water bottle at the ready, iPad connected, landline phone in reach. Deep breath, all in place, ready to go. I started to hear an undertone of loud, muffled conversation emanating from the front desk. Louder sounds came from a couple walking by, obviously just in from the pool. Oh, no! I thought — this really won’t do! Way too much noise!
Ten minutes to showtime! I raced back through the inner door of Sue’s office, past Andy and out another door, following the direction I saw Sue heading. I spotted her, just as she was going out a back exit. “Sue!” I called, “I need your help!” I explained the unexpected glitch; I’m sure there was some concern in my voice. “I only have ten minutes before I get the call from the producer!”
Sue dropped her bags and dashed back around to the front desk. Following behind, I saw her check the computer for room availability, grab a key from a drawer, and then she motioned me back down the hall to a room on the other side of the corridor. “Quick — you can use this room!” she said, unlocking it, then propping it open with her foot. “Great! — I’ll be right back!” I ran back to Sue’s office, grabbed my things, passing Andy on my way back, shooting him a quick glance, rolling my eyes. He was still smiling and waved again.
Sue was still holding open the door for me when I dashed into the guest room. She helped me re-unpack and get set up. “Oh, Sue!” I said — I’d just thought of something — “would you please give this room’s phone extension to the gal at the front desk, so the producer won’t be trying to reach me in your office?” “Sure!” she said, running back out.
I quickly settled in again, adjusting the desk chair and re-connecting my iPad. I took a nice deep breath and snapped a photo — as per the instruction of my creative team — and sent it to them for an on-the-go Facebook post. The room’s phone rang. I picked it up. It was the C2C show producer.
Five-minutes-to-showtime. He quickly introduced himself. “Super“ I said “I’m all ready!” I heard him pause, and then he said, “Hey, I’m sorry but this connection is no good! You’re going to have to get yourself to another phone. You have three minutes! I’ll call you back.” And he hung up.
YIKES! Now I was sweating. Once again, I unplugged my iPad, gathered up my water bottle and purse and ran out and back down the hall, passing a less-smiling, more-concerned Andy on my way into Sue’s office. She’d settled back into her space and had just taken a large gulp of coffee that she almost spat out when I exclaimed: “SUE! — HELP! The guestroom phone line won’t do — I’m going to have to use your office after all!”
Bless her heart, once again this sweet gal began her re-evacuation of the premises, grabbing her still-packed duffle and rushing out.
“Shoot! Where’s my...?” I’d forgotten my iPad power cord.
“I’ll go back and get it,” Sue said, once again dropping her duffle. I ran back with her, turning to Andy. “Please tell the front desk to patch the call through to Sue’s office,” I said. “And answer the phone if it rings!”
Sure!” he said, projecting a slight look of delight at being pulled into all the excitement.
By the time I got back to the office, Andy was holding the door open with one hand, the receiver to his ear, chatting casually with the producer! “And here’s Louise now,” he said calmly. His smile had returned. I grabbed the phone, throwing the cord on the desk (I’d dropped it in the hallway!) — giving Andy a thank-you nod as I shut the door behind him.
Flopping back down into Sue’s chair, breathless, I took a quick moment to calm myself before saying into the phone —”Hi there...this is Louise...I’m here...” “Well” the producer replied, “that certainly was close call. One minute to airtime! Take a quick swig of water, and then I’ll bring you on!”
It all went well, and I am now the reluctant subscriber to not only cell and VOIP phone lines — but to an exclusive, singularly designated landline!
Ready for the next call...