October 11, 2006

The Open Road

Oprah Winfrey thought it would be delightfully quirky to head out onto the open highways for an old-fashioned, regular-people, drive-yourself kind of vacation. While reading about these adventures on her website, I couldn't help but feel embarrassed for Oprah as she ineffectively tries to convince America that she is the same as the rest of us.

Off they go - Oprah, her friend Gayle, and their road crew of eighteen - on the highways and byways of America. Here are some interesting things we find out about our little down-home Oprah:

"There are a few aspects of driving Oprah says she doesn't like. She says she has "interstate anxiety," "unpaved road anxiety" and "merging anxiety." Oprah also explains a few of the other things she doesn't really like—night driving, merging and driving over bridges. Gayle is quick to add a few other of Oprah's road dislikes. "She doesn't like to pass trucks. She doesn't like curves. And Oprah doesn't like going across bridges, trucks, highways or bumpy roads," Gayle says."

I ask you, what is the fun of a road trip if you are going to have a panic attack every time you get behind the wheel? Interstate anxiety? Merging anxiety? Doesn't like curves, bridges, trucks, or bumpy roads? What, in the concept of a road trip, doesn't freak this woman out? And if she is that freaked out, why would she do it?

Here are some other little factoids about Oprah that we found out during her travels that make her so incredibly "Paris Hilton:"

"As they got out on the open road, Oprah did something in the desert she hadn't done since 1983. She pumped her own gas…with a little help from the attendant at the station."

The only other person I know who doesn’t pump her own gas is Faux Ma, and that’s only because Faux Pa thinks it’s man’s work. I am fairly certain, however, that Faux Ma has pumped her own gas more recently than 1983. Another reason to disbelieve Oprah’s down-to-earth persona.

"Just outside of Dodge City, Oprah had a breakthrough of sorts as the Impala was stuck for miles behind a slow-moving orange semi. "I see why people give people the finger now. All these years I never understood why people are always so frustrated. Because you're in the wrong damn lane, people!" she said. "Four days ago I was saying, 'What is road rage? Why can't you just move with the flow, people? Now it's like, 'Sheesh, you no-driving so-and-sos.'"

What is road rage?! Does this woman live in a damn vacuum?

"Part of the experience Oprah says she wanted on this trip was to experience the road just like everybody else in America, with no celebrity treatment."

No celebrity treatment, except she has a crew of eighteen following her around! She has her trainer along on this trip to make sure she doesn’t eat the wrong food. I don’t even have (or want) a trainer, much less need to take a road trip with one. The only way Oprah Winfrey could experience life on the road as a normal person would be if she went under cover and did all of the documenting herself. No cameras. No “crew.”

"So instead of driving into the entrance at the Wynn reserved for the rich and famous, Oprah and Gayle drove right up to the valet entrance…and a hastily assembled paparazzi line. And, just like everybody else, there is the occasional snag checking in. After about 20 minutes, they finally sorted it all out and Oprah and Gayle had their room. "I see that this normal way of doing things is very time consuming, isn't it?" Oprah says."

A snag? I doubt it. It was probably a matter of, “I’m sorry Ms. Winfrey, but we don’t have a deluxe suite including Jacuzzi and wet bar in our hotel, only a double queen with cable TV.” OK, except they stayed at the Wynn in Las Vegas, which, I believe, won’t let anyone but a celebrity through their doors. Celebrities and whales. Oprah certainly had that covered.

What I found most distasteful and rude was the fact that Oprah, Gayle, and their little entourage decided it would be fun to crash a couple of weddings. I can’t even tell you how angry I would be to have some self-absorbed attention hound come and try to upstage me at my own wedding - especially one that wasn’t invited. What kind of nerve would it take to do something like that? If she weren’t Oprah Almighty would she even have considered crashing a wedding? If she weren’t Oprah Almighty, would she have been escorted out of the reception?

This whole “adventure” had by Oprah and her pal Gayle was nothing but a lame attempt to convince America that she is a regular person while she proves she is nothing but a spoiled brat rich enough to do anything she pleases. She can talk all she wants about being a poor, abused girl from the ghetto, but I’ll never be convinced that she cares anything about the people who gave her the pedestal on which she stands until she learns to practice some humility.

And Gayle, why the long face? Yikes.

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