Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
Last week Oprah Winfrey kidnapped Gayle King and we were all too busy not electing a Speaker of the House to notice! (By the by, I spent the week watching 20 fringe lunatics play in Kevin McCarthy's face with both glee and horror. Like, this is not how things get done. But also... sucks to suck! Still, I think after, like, 3 failed tribal councils, they should have been legally required to give the Speakership to the person with the most votes: Michelle Yeoh for her performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once. Instead, we had to sit around all week and watch Kevin McCarthy make concessions to a bunch of third rate Dick Tracy villains? Yikes, I say! In the immortal words of former president Harrison Ford, we do not negotiate with terrorists. And also, get off my plane!)
Where was I? Oprah! Oprah and Gayle and friends were at Oprah's palatial estate in Hawaii for the New Year. This is one of my favorite places that I've never been because it's the home of Oprah's "garden" which is actually technically a prehistoric ferngully-type wonderland. She says "garden" and she means "I believe I bought an island back in 2002... Anyway, zucchini!"
I have written about this garden a lot, including on ELLE five years ago (how was it five years already?!). Loving Oprah's garden is one of my core values.
This year's NYE festivities weren't about the garden, however, but rather about a hike (seemingly still on Oprah's gargantuan property). "Ended 2022 with a morning “gratitude” hike that lasted half the day," she posted. "Uphill for 5 miles straight. 10.2 miles round trip. We packed bread, gospel songs and mantras—follow along to see how it goes." Okay, call me Meatloaf cuz I would do anything for Oprah but I won't do that. UPHILL? FIVE MILES! 10.2 miles roundtrip?! IN MY CORPOREAL FORM?
If Oprah roused me from my Hawaiian slumber on New Year's Eve morn and told me that we were going to spend the day walking up a hill like Kate Bush for miles, I'd be like "You know what, Oprah, blessings to all involved but I think I'm going to stay here at the ranch and work on dusting these base boards. Might harvest a pumpkin. See about making a pie. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to be more sedentary and you know what they say: the future starts now."
If Oprah comes at you with walking sticks and a bag of bread, feign amnesia.
World's Best Best Friend Gayle King did not take this advice, however, as evidenced by a later post on Oprah's Instagram featuring Gayle completely separated from the group, trudging slowly, looking like she is straight up not having a good time.
The caption reads: "How did @gayleking do during our 5-hour hike? (7 hours for Gayle, actually.) Here you go—she says her toes hurt today 😂😂😂"
First of all, how you gonna put Gayle King out on front street like that? L. O. L. Oprah was like "LATE."
Second of all! Oh my GOD! Your best friend made you walk for seven hours?! Who is this friend, Moses?! I tell you what: I go over to your palatial estate to hang out and you make me walk for seven hours of my one precious life, I'm taking you on Judge Judy. I'm very much about the Friend Walk, the Friend Errand, even the occasional Friend Hike. But we are looking at, like, 90 minutes MAX with baked goods available at multiple points in the journey.
About a year into COVID lockdown, my dear friends Jarrod and Chris came to visit us in Maryland and because there was nothing else to do we took them on a hike, which was lovely, brief, and ended at a Wegman's. Then we spent the rest of the weekend watching Tony Awards performances and clips from Drag Race. As it should be!
Can you imagine Oprah takes you on a five-hour hike and then you have two more hours of hiking on top of it? No ma'am. You'd just have to abandon me in the garden. I'm a tree now, Oprah. Leaf me alone!
In other news,
Last week I posted about my conspiracy theory that the Sun was getting closer and no one was telling us about it and I'm very grateful to Rebecca and Mollie who messaged me to tell me that my conspiracy theory was correct! January 4, 2023 Earth was at its perihelion--the closest point to the Sun. I read their emails and jumped up shouting! I ran outside and pointed accusatorially at the Sun. "I KNEW IT!" I cried. You cannot fool me! I cannot be fooled!
IN MY CORPOREAL FORM?,