Sometimes in life, you get a phone call that excites you far more than it should. In early summer 2013, I received such a call.
I have watched Price is Right my whole life. My family can get oddly obsessed about being quirky while watching TV shows, and Price is Right is no exception to that. My brothers and I (and my mom) would watch and shout out a number as the show was starting, and that would be our podium for the show – anyone who came to that numbered spot for the next riveting hour would be “our person.” We would bid and guess and shout at the people bidding $1 like our lives depended on it, and carefully calculate for the final Showcase Showdown to desperately try to be within $100 and win it all!
Fast-forward to the (almost) present day. My mom and I have always been obsessed with entering contests. You won’t win unless you try, right?! So, for awhile, I plugged away earning points through a local radio station and figured I would just throw all my entries into one pot and hope for the best. Along came a contest for Price is Right tickets, and 175 entries later, I was getting a phone call as the winner!
A live, crazy, hyped up version of Price is Right isn’t really my husband’s thing, so I invited my mom to come with me. When the day arrived, we were eager, early and on the road to Toronto. My mom has many good points, but driving on the highway is not one of them. It didn’t use to be one of my good points either, but then I drove across Ontario over and over again for work (for 5 years), so out of the two of us, I win the driving award. I have no idea what was happening in and around Ontario Place that day, but traffic was not kind to us. We go to Ontario Place, nice and early as we love to do, and the entire parking lot was full. If you know Toronto, you know that when you start to encounter full parking lots, you could be in for a world of pain. We keep driving and all the parking lots near Ontario Place are full….full….full. We try to sneak into one or two along the way, but the parking attendants are clearly at the end of a long shift on a (very) hot day and are not having any of our pleasantries.
We continue to drive – in and out of parks and other parking lots and are coming up with nothing. In a stressful situation like this, our mother daughter quirks begin to show. My mom, who truly does not like travel (and especially driving in Toronto), is pretty much ready to give up on the whole situation and just drive home. 🙂 We muster through, of course, and resort to our ridiculous sense of humour to laugh our way through the day. We circle back around to the Molson Amphitheatre, hopeful for some reason that a spot might open up… ha ha right… We end up driving…and turning…and driving….and turning…and finally find this out of the way parking lot. We boldly approach the parking attendant who starts waving us away. He has no idea who he is dealing with, though…we are tired, giggling, self-confident women and we ARE finding a parking spot. I don’t really know why he let us in, but he did, and we drive through this very odd parking lot (up a hill with parking on either side here and there, totally away from the main road) and finally park the car. The beauty of Toronto is that even this tiny out-of-the-way parking lot still costs $20. Thanks, Toronto. 🙂
So now, all we have to do to grab our purses and…oh yes, find the Molson Amphitheatre. We honestly had gotten so desperate for parking that we weren’t even sure where we were. Turns out, we had parked about here:
This would probably be a good time to mention that my mom was waiting for surgery on her toe and every step was pretty much like bone grating on bone. Not ideal, but somehow, that just made us laugh even more.
We finally arrive at the Price is Right show and it was totally worth it! We got to wear ‘official’ name tags and then we waited in line before the show opened for the chance to spin the ‘big wheel!’ Okay, so it was a miniature wheel sponsored by Pizza Pizza and the grand prize was a free…pizza, but it felt just as cool as the real thing.
Just like the phone call, we were far too excited to spin this wheel! And when my mom spun $1.00…..well, let’s just say we still talk about it and that free pizza. 🙂
We sat down, took a selfie, and let it soak in. One of us was surely just moments away from walking away with a huge prize!! We actually found out when the show started, that this was a 10th anniversary week show, and they were doubling the amount of prizes. Our confidence in the prize we were going to walk away with doubled, at least, and I am pretty sure we were both picturing ourselves driving away in a “BRAND NEW CAR!!” (insert Rod Roddy’s voice here)
Like any good contestants, we immediately started to size up the competition. We were pretty close to the back, so we had a lot of opportunities for observation. And then we noticed him…. Just two seats down from us was an older couple. The wife looked like she was having a mildly pleasant time. The husband? Well, he looked like he would rather have shards of glass in his eye. I literally don’t think he could have looked less enthused. It was almost criminal to sit at The Price is Right and look so morose. The show got started, and there were actually lots of chances to win! The four contestants up front were changed every round, and if you were called up and didn’t get a chance to play, you still walked away with a $100 gift card! There were tons of chances for people from the audience to win alongside the person playing, too. We were far too confident in being called up or winning from our seat, and our laughter and screaming was definitely making up for the guy beside us. And then it happened….that morose, bored, incredibly unhappy man’s name got called. What are the chances?! I think I have seen turtles walk faster. He tried his very best to make his way to the front with as little vigor as possible, put up a horrible bid, and still walked away with his $100 gift card. He wouldn’t spoil our evening though, especially when the attendant randomly choose our row to move up about 50 rows and fill in some closer seats.
Needless to say, our names didn’t get called and we didn’t win, but it was definitely an awesome night. Totally worth the evening and the hassle and I would go again for sure!
I won’t bother to recount the drive home, but let’s just say that after walking in the dark to find our car, we hopped on the road to a closed Gardiner Expressway, and my mom vowed not to return to Toronto again for a very long time. 🙂