Last week while I was on my lunch hour taking my daily siesta in my lounge chair thatâ€™s comfortably situated on the helicopter pad at CBS, I got a text from one of my co-workers that read â€œHarry Connick will be at the Grove at 4 today.â€ My response was simple, â€œSo will I.â€
When I got back from lunch, all my other co-workers excitedly asked me if I got the text about Harry. It was easy to tell by the smile on my face, I had. When 3:45 PM rolled around and I was about to leave for my clandestine meeting, my working cronies cheered me on, like I was the lead-off batter at a baseball game.
As I walked through the turnstile that connects CBS to the Grove, I wondered how many people were going to be there. On a normal day, when Mario Lopez of â€œExtraâ€ does these interviews, itâ€™s to a fairly small crowd. I was hoping that today, it would be even smaller. I wanted to get as close to Harry as possible. It isnâ€™t that I havenâ€™t been close to him before, because I have. But to me heâ€™s like a drug that you canâ€™t get enough of. Like the song said, â€œThe more I see you, the more I want you.â€
I cast my eyes on the spot in front of the three story Barnes and Noble, where these little interviews are customarily shot. No cameras, no crew, no Harry.
I took out my cell phone and called my office. My office posse assured me they saw the sign, announcing Harryâ€™s scheduled appearance. They even told me where the sign was. Not that I didnâ€™t trust them, but I had to see it for myself. They were right. When an unsuspecting security guard passed in front of me, I pointed to the sign and asked, â€œWhereâ€™s Harry?â€
He looked just as confused as I felt when he looked towards Barnes and Noble and saw there was no action in front of the bookstore. And then, as if a light bulb went on over his head, he said, â€œThey probably moved it to the front of the fountainâ€. Not that I needed it, but he offered to escort me over. But again, there was no Harry nor any evidence of any sort of production going on.
So what does a security guard do when he canâ€™t find an answer? He gets back-up by calling over another security guard. This other guard was more creative in his thinking, he was sure that â€œExtraâ€ was doing Harryâ€™s spot in the park next door.
I looked at him incredulously and asked, â€œAre you sure?â€ I think I scared him because he responded with, â€œLet me take you to the concierge.â€ Yes, the Grove does have a concierge who dresses in a suit and stands behind an outside desk. As a matter of fact they have several. As helpful as he tried to be, the concierge didâ€™t have an answer for me, so like the guard, he called over back-up, another concierge, who knew even less than he did. I should have walked away then, but it was too late. They had now called over a PR person for the Grove. And in a matter of moments, I had several guards, a couple of concierges, and a PR person, all looking for Harry Connick, Jr. Itâ€™s when they pulled out the walkie talkies that I knew that this had gone way too far. But it was too late to walk away, they had me surrounded. Finally, with three security guards, two concierges, a PR person and a partridge in a pear tree, they had an answer for me. Harry had canceled his visit.
My office gal pals all shared in my disappointment when I told them of my defeat. The ironic thing about all of this was, that very night Harry Connick was less than a football field away from me, appearing on â€œDancing With The Starsâ€. Since DWTS is an ABC show, not a CBS one, and because of the threats made against some of the celebrities on the show, itâ€™s practically impossible to get onto the set. To put it bluntly, a terrorist has a better chance of getting passed customs, than a CBS employee has of getting on the set of â€œDancing With the Starsâ€. That is unless you have a special badge, thatâ€™s only given to people at certain levels. And Iâ€™m definitely not one of them.
As I sat down at my desk, I mumbled out loud of my discontent and how unfair I thought it was to be so close to Harry, and yet not be allowed to see him. Then I heard someone in my office say, â€œYouâ€™re rightâ€, and the next thing I knew, a manager who owns one of those special badges handed his over to me. He then got on the phone and called the head stagehand of â€œDancing With The Starsâ€ and asked if he could find a space for me in the audience.
In less than thirty seconds, I was out the door, without my purse, no lipstick on, but a special badge around my neck.
Not only did I get to see Harry Connick, but I also got to hear him sing in person, as well. So Iâ€™m happy to report I went looking for Harry, and finally found him, too.