'Oprah? Oh, Sure'
I couldn't believe I didn't have the least desire to intrude on her and a sweet family scene.
In 1990, I was in Chicago for my 25-year high school reunion. After the festivities, two friends from Green Bay met me in the city for a wonderful touristy weekend. One of them, Rita, is a real cutup.
We were shopping at the Express on Michigan Ave., looking for something as mundane as socks. As I was poking around in piles of them, Rita walked over and pulled at my sleeve. "Joyce, Joyce," she said, "that's Oprah over there."
"Oprah? Oh, sure," I said, never looking up, knowing she could pull my leg easier than my sleeve, whether or not I had any decent socks on my feet.
"Should we talk to her?" Rita asked. I finally looked over, andâ€”lo and beholdâ€”it actually _was_ her, shopping with a young girl I assumed was her niece. I felt instantly protective.
"No, no...we shouldn't do that," I said. "People bug her all the time. Let's give her her privacy." I couldn't believe I didn't have the least desire to intrude on her and a sweet family scene.
I've never regretted it. It was the right thing not to do. Still, I do hope that my good karma comes back to me in reverseâ€”that someday she'll want to talk to me on her show and help me create a best-selling book. Appearing on her show is every writer's fantasy. It's not as if we would have swapped business cards, or that she'd ever remember me if we said hello while bumping into each other shopping. But how many writers can say they turned down an "interview" with Oprah?