Tuesday, March 10, 2009

the show must go on

“Ugh, I am not feeling so hot,” were my first words on a cold and blustery Monday morning in February, leading my husband, Craig, to venture out to the pharmacy and get me every cold remedy he could find. It only got worse. Two days later, a beautiful, balmy Wednesday arrives and the doctor says I have bronchitis. This can’t be happening! I am booked to walk that night wearing Sydney's Closet's stunning crimson dress, “Sizzle,” in Catherine Schuller’s “Red Hot ‘n’ Real” runway show to benefit Divabetic, a charity she works with to raise awareness about women’s health issues.

New York City seems a thousand, rather than seventy-five, miles away. I just want to go to bed. But, there’s no way I can turn down the opportunity to do a show at JZ’s downtown 40/40 Club, and it’s a big event for Catherine — the Valentine’s themed show is also a book-signing party for her latest, “Image Power.” I can’t let her or myself down, so I chug my cough medicine and Craig and I hop in my VW Beetle for what’s usually a 90-minute drive to Manhattan. We’re cruising along swimmingly, halfway there, when all of a sudden traffic comes to a complete stop. There’s been an accident up ahead, and we sit there for what turns out to be 45 minutes, me getting more and more anxious.

Finally, the cars around us start to crawl. The one ahead of us sits still. The driver has fallen asleep, and is deaf to horns blowing all around him. As Craig maneuvers onto the left-hand shoulder to go around this dozer, a confused look comes over his face. He pulls as close as he can to the median and mutters, “flat tire.” With that, he’s out of the car, ignoring me as I ask him if he knows how to fix it, only shooting me one of those “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” looks. I can’t believe this is happening, and I’m nervous as all get-out as cars are whizzing by us in both directions, asking myself if this is some sign from the universe that we should just turn around and go back home.

Twelve minutes later we’re back in business, and Craig’s got a very self-satisfied air about him from having the opportunity to flex his man muscles. I’m just doing my best to calm and reassure myself that we’ll be there on time. But it’s rush hour at the Lincoln Tunnel — stop and go traffic for another thirty minutes.

I arrive in Chelsea with just enough time to jump into my dress and bring up the back of the line for the last minutes of the rehearsal, joining 30 gorgeous, curvy girls, all dressed in red, as we get a feel for the space and receive some final instructions.

And then it’s show time. For 15 minutes I forget being sick as adrenaline takes over for the antihistamines. The room is packed with an appreciative crowd, and I spot Emme — America’s first plus-sized supermodel — among them, as cameras flash and music pulses, The thrill is greater for all the obstacles I had to overcome to get there. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Or does it? My best girl, Megan, who has met us at the club, has the best surprise in store. After helping me to get organized while Craig fetches the car, she asks us to make a little detour on our trip uptown to drop her off. In a moment, we are upstairs at Tenzan, (285 Columbus Ave.; don’t let them seat you downstairs) enjoying fabulous sushi at one of my favorite places on earth, laughing about all the stressful events of the day. Someone was right when they said, “comedy is tragedy plus time.”

I’m happy to report that the ride home was uneventful. I don’t think I’ve ever slept as well as I did that night.

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