Robin (April 6, 2022)

On April 6, 2022, I took a chance on a new show.

I had never been to California before. And as of the beginning of this year, I had no plans of going any time soon. That all changed with a little show on CBS I happened upon while watching playoff football on a cool Sunday afternoon in January. And as soon as I watched the first three episodes, I was hooked. On a whim, I bought tickets to PaleyFest and made plans to spend a few days with my daughter in the City of Angels.

The event was on Wednesday, April 6. I was so excited about this event that it was the first time I had documented every moment leading up to it on most of my social media. That evening, we walked to the event which was held at the Dolby Theater, and upon entering saw that a small crowd was gathered around a railing that looked over the ground level where there was a peekaboo view of a red carpet. We got a good spot around the rail and got to see most of the stars of Ghosts as they walked the red carpet and stopped for interviews with some very lucky journalists. As I saw a glimpse of some of the actors, I felt myself transform back to my 13-year-old body, remembering how I felt when I first saw *NSYNC in concert. It was surreal seeing these people whom I had only seen via a television screen live in person. When it was finally time to be seated, I was surprised at how close our seats were to the stage. My daughter was super excited to be right dead center with no one obstructing her view. I knew we would be close as I bought tickets in the orchestra section, but I wasn’t aware of how intimate this theater actually is. I mean this is where the Academy Awards take place! It was so much smaller than it appears on TV. No sooner than it took to grab our seats did moderator Natalie Morales of “The Talk” come on stage to introduce the newest episode “Attic Girl” that we were privileged to see before everyone else. And as such, we were sworn to secrecy. After the episode ended came the part that we flew to Cali to experience. The cast was introduced one by one and then engaged in a panel discussion alongside showrunner Joe Port. Y’all the smile on my daughter’s face when Danielle Pinnock, the actress who portrays Alberta, came on stage! Among some of the topics discussed were how the show came to be from its predecessor in England, how the cast knew each other before being cast in Ghosts, how the show came to be during the pandemic, and discussed some dream guest stars that the cast suggested for future episodes, and how they chose the show’s character’s archetypes so that they reflected unique stories and personalities of American History There was also a discussion about representation in this show and how the writers do not shy away from highlighting important racial, ethnic, and gender issues that the ghosts have experienced. One of my favorite parts was the cast reflecting on when they knew that the show was going to be a success. This is an ensemble cast, including actors who, while they had been in the business for some time, this show for most of them was their first show in which they are the stars or whose character is integral to the plot of the show. And that’s why they come across as so dang genuine. While sitting in that theater, I saw 11 actors who have seen their social media followings and fan numbers increase over the last year, 11 actors who appear on a major network weekly, 11 actors who have fan websites, Twitter pages, Facebook groups, and Instagram pages dedicated to the characters that they have brought to life. 11 actors who have appeared on magazine covers, been the subject of various articles, been asked to host events, been nominated for awards, and been guests on a variety of talk shows. But I also saw 11 people. 11 normal regular people who put their pants on the same as you and me, who have lived outside their characters and experienced life’s ups and downs, struggles, and celebrations. And getting to see these actors in person reminded me of that.

My trip to LA also saw one of my not finest momma moments. I didn’t think about the time change when planning to bring my daughter along with me. I failed to realize that this event was going to occur at a time when she’d normally be asleep while at home in Florida. And when I looked over at my daughter several times during the event, I could tell she was struggling to stay awake. Talk about a major mom fail. So, as much as I didn’t want to, we decided to leave after the first panel. There were two that night and I didn’t watch the next panel’s show like that so it was fine. We had just walked out of the theater when something told me to go back inside. As I approached the entrance, I noticed the family of one of the actors milling about the lobby. When I looked closer, I saw the top of a brown brimmed hat that I recognized from earlier in the evening.

“Oh my gosh!” I said, grabbing my daughter’s hand and going through the door.

“What?” she said, confused

“It’s Sass!” I replied excitedly. Let’s go see if we can say hi!”

I promised I wouldn’t be long. After getting our bags checked once again by security, we waited patiently while Roman Zaragoza talked with his family and some friends. We didn’t have to wait long, however. His lovely mother noticed that we were waiting and asked if we wanted to speak with Roman.

“Yes, ma’am,” I responded with a smile.

She said she would get his attention and a few minutes later, she introduced us to her son. You guys, Roman is the kindest, sweetest person you will ever meet, as is his family. His mother, father, and sister were all there to support him and they were all very very kind to my daughter and me. I introduced myself and my daughter to them and explained that she was very tired due to her being an East Coast kid. It would’ve been close to midnight or maybe a little after back home. Roman asked where we lived and I told him that we are stationed in Florida; that we are a military family and that we lived all over. He then asked me if we came out to Cali for this event, and I told him that we did. He was surprised that we would come all that way for just one event and to that, I said “Of course I would. Why wouldn’t I have?” We continued to talk for a few more minutes before asking to take a picture with him. We then decided to go back to the hotel for good as my daughter was barely able to keep her eyes open. And once we got back to the room, we both crashed.

It’s Sass, y’all!

Woke up on our final day in LA feeling surreal, like it all was a dream. While I had gone out to LA intending to see the cast of one of my new favorite shows, I never believed I might get to meet one of them. Those things just don’t happen to me. And who was I that someone who I’m sure had more important things to do and more important people to talk to would take a little bit of time to spend with my daughter and me? To say that it was an emotional experience is the understatement of the year. And sure it might not have been the greatest idea to take leave after starting a new job and take my daughter out of school during a day of testing, but I do not regret a single thing about this trip. Even though it was only three days, I am so thankful that my daughter and I got a chance to spend some quality time together. As it was the first time out to LA for both of us, we made some pretty awesome memories that we will always cherish. I’m so glad I didn’t think twice about buying those tickets and booking this trip. Sometimes, the best decisions are the ones we don’t even think about.

Besides, it’s in taking risks that we discover life’s most wonderful surprises!

  • Robin