Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In which I meet the one and only Terry O'Quinn

So about a week and a half ago, our third friend (yes,we have another friend) told me that Terry O'Quinn was going to be visiting Illinois Wesleyan University to see his brother who works in the theater department and to talk to IWU theater students. Well, I don't know if you've heard, but I am totally crazy about TOQ. Duh. My heart stopped at the very mention of him on g-mail chat. So I said PLEASE, let me go. Alex said: sure, you can even go in my place, since my mom can bring one guest. I said hm...okay I am just that greedy. I will plan to just totally take your place. Over the weekend we decide that we'd drive together and we'd both try to get in.

The fateful Tuesday arrived. The winter storms came through--freezing rain followed by snow and blizzard winds. I watched the IDOT as it said that the highways were clear of snow, then 25% ice cover, and then 75%. But Alex arrived at lunch time, ready to brave the frozen wasteland of I-74 for the purposes of our quest. The drive was more-or-less white-knuckle, but he never flinched--instead he spent a long time explaining Battlestar Galactica to me. Gee thanks. This is what the weather looked like when we arrived. Quite appropriate.

Upon arrival in Bloomington, we went out for lunch with Alex's mom and she informed us that she had been to a department lunch with Mr. O'Quinn and he was very nice, but shorter than she had thought. I drooled to know I was in such close proximity to him...but maybe that was just the pico de gallo.

After our lunch, we went to the student center to get some hot cocoa and wander around until it was time for his talk. I remember the moment perfectly. Alex got skim milk in his cocoa, I got 2% with whipped cream on top. We were chattering happily and waiting for our drinks when we suddenly fell silent. Basically here is how it went: in a nearly empty student center, on a snowy march afternoon, I saw John Locke in the flesh walking towards the coffee counter where I was standing, ultimately stopping pretty darn close to us. I tugged on Alex's arm over and over--he had frozen up completely. He finally acknowledged what was going on by moving to the far side of the counter, as far away from Mr. O'Quinn as possible. When our cocoa came after what seemed like ages, we ran off as fast as we could, because, if we had stayed we probably would have been weeping in reverence at his feet.

We rushed off talking about how our hearts had basically stopped, and burnt a little more time going to the beautiful Anderson Library. Finally we pooped out and went to wait in the Theater lobby, listening to goofy undergrads and talking about how glad we were to not be them. Of course, of course, Mr O'Quinn showed up again (it was where he was talking after all) and he walked back and forth in front of us, stretching his arms, listening to the theater kids say silly theater kid things. We got antsy and decided to go in, knowing we'd be listening to him for another hour.

The Q+A began. People asked polite theatery questions and then tried to fit polite theatery questions to questions about Lost, and then asked questions about Lost. I wanted to ask about how his youth in Newberry, Michigan had shaped his manly, solitary, survivalist character, but I knew that was a little specific, eh? It was pretty surreal- he spoke and moved and shoved his hands in his pockets pretty much like Locke --and I loved it. I think I squeezed Alex's hand too many times, but it was ok.

After all was said and done, I got in the rush of folks who got photographed with TOQ and had him sign my copy of the Wizard of Oz on the page with the Wizard's throne. I still think he's Dorothy since he's on the biggest journey of anyone. Here's our conversation--
Me: "Could you sign this?"
TOQ: "Hmm.. The Wizard of Oz? Interesting. Anything you want me to write?"
Me: "uh..uh..."
TOQ: "What's your name?"
Me: "Emilia? My roommate and I uh..read all the books on Lost?"
TOQ: "Hmm.."

THE END. I don't think it could have gone any better. I don't think I could be any happier.
I'm looking forward to future episodes during which I can say: I've met that guy! Yeah, that guy! Yeah, and it was AWESOME. Here's the evidence: aren't we cute?

The end. The best time ever.

And books, what books?


Klara Kim said...


Kat said...

I too met Terry, but I met him in NYC. http://katje0711.livejournal.com/314257.html

Isn't he fantastic!?