No Stars for Connie Chung
It would have required approximately 10 seconds for her to walk and see the lights. But she just sat there.
It was quite possibly the most hallucinatory thing Iâ€™ve ever seen, not counting my experiences on hallucinogens. Check that. It was _the_ most hallucinatory thing Iâ€™ve ever seen, including all experiences on hallucinogens. The sky was pulsing in great van Gogh swirls of nail-polish pink and glow-stick green. It was the northern lights, the aurora borealis, in full astral splendor.
This was in 1994, in Lillehammer, Norway. I was there working as a minion for CBS Televisionâ€™s coverage of the winter Olympics. The CBS headquarters was essentially a windowless basement bunker. Iâ€™d stepped outside for a bit of fresh air when the heavens exploded. I watched, alone, for a few minutes, then decided I needed to tell someone else about this, perhaps even gather a camera crew to record it. So I walked back inside. And there, sitting not 20 feet from the exit, was Connie Chung.
Iâ€™d been in Norway for a couple of weeks by this point, and hadnâ€™t actually uttered a single word to Ms. Chung. Now, however, I did.
â€œHave you ever seen the northern lights?â€ I asked her.
â€œNo,â€ she said. She was dressed smartly, anchorpersonishly.
â€œWell, theyâ€™re out right now,â€ I said, excitedly. â€œTheyâ€™re incredible!â€
She gazed at me with a blank look on her face.
â€œI mean theyâ€™re literally right outside that door,â€ I continued, pointing at the exit. It would have required approximately 10 seconds for her to walk and see the lights. But she just sat there. I was a young man at the time, not so jaded as I am today, and the thought of a journalist not being interested in experiencing something newâ€”something so amazing and just outside the doorâ€”was beyond my comprehension. I couldnâ€™t let it go.
â€œYou donâ€™t want to see them?â€ I asked.
â€œNo,â€ she said.
I still couldnâ€™t let it go. â€œNo?â€ I said, perhaps a touch impudently. â€œWhy not?â€
â€œThese shoes are uncomfortable,â€ she said, â€œand I donâ€™t feel like walking in them.â€