I must be vain. Since my photo-op with Elijah was scheduled for 1:00, I spent extra time making sure I had done the best job with my makeup, and then decided to trim my hair a bit. So I didn't get there much before 1:00, and missed Mike Foster and the Electronic Arts panels. Then I went through my bag and my e-mailed tickets weren't there!
By now Jo had found me, to share one of the photo-ops, and Kink and Hanarobi were just finishing with Billy, so Kink (God did I misuse her goodwill or what?) graciously went back to the room to find them, while after thinking about it for a minute, Jo went back to my seat to see whether I had overlooked them in my bag.
Sure enough, in my nervous excitement, I had simply not found them in the bag. Good thing I had a phone and could call Kink to tell her we had them.
They insisted on putting me at the front of the line at the moment, which is one of the few times that priviledge didn't bother me (that line was *very* long) and then opened the curtain for Jo and me.
I've seen Elijah before. I guess my reaction this time was just about the same as before. Just plain awe. Pictures don't do him justice. In person he glows. I was bowled over when I saw him on the float at Mardi Gras, even from a distance. I was mindless when I saw him at the Brunch. I had spotted him coming through to the photo booth and my eyes rivetted to him immediately. Yeah - skin set off by dark hair and gorgeous eyes, and all that. But it's more than that, whether he's looking at you or not, from a distance or close up. When they opened the curtain, it was like they had the sun shuttered off in there. I couldn't take my eyes off him.
Our turn came up quickly. You haven't heard, by any chance, how fast they were pushing us through? Before us, there were two very interesting shots - one where a girl pretended to be frightened while Elijah played some kind of monster, and the other famous one of the girl who had him take the $20 from between her breasts with his teeth. Both were cute and it was obvious he enjoyed it.
I hoped for something non-standard for us, so made an idiot of myself. I do that a lot. I had told Jo to sit down with him for the first shot and give her gift while I stood behind. So she gave her really cute chia hobbit foot, and I said something inane to the effect of, "If we get just a standard smile I'll be disappointed." He replied confusedly, "Standard smile?"
Well, at least he opened his mouth a bit, so we got the Gap!
Then I sat and gave him my gift.
Bear in mind that, whenever I'm near him I totally lose what little sense I have. I was very sure he would love the book, and I had in mind to get the picture of him looking at it, and I pointed out the unusual papers I had printed it on. The photographer would not take the hint. So the book got passed off and Elijah put his arm behind my back and posed.
Did I mention that Elijah put his arm around me? Do you think I had a coherent thought left in my brain? I did remember that I had wanted very much to give him a hug, so I asked if I could put my arm around him too, and he agreed. God! he's tiny!
This is both my best and my worst memory of the whole thing. Sitting next to him for a timeless moment in an almost intimate way. And not getting my book in the picture. Not to mention not asking for a full-on hug.
And then I was shooed out and that was that.
I should have gone directly in to listen to Billy on stage, but how could I do that with Elijah right there on the other side of that translucent curtain? So I stood there with the other lovesick idiots while the line finished and then watched him being escorted at double-time to the backstage area.
Then went and listened to Billy. I'm not going to try to recap what anyone said on stage. Others have much better memories of it than I do, but of all the programs I watched, the best stage presence was JRD, then Bruce Hopkins, then Billy. (Not counting TORn personnel. Quickbeam is a natural.) Dom did fine, too; but while I could have watched Elijah and Sean all day, they were not really as entertaining and quick-witted as the others.
The crutches served me one more time, before it began to really sour. As soon as Billy was off the stage, I went to the place where the question line starts and asked if it was all right if I wait there. The volunteer told me to sit down in a nearby empty seat, so that when the line formed, I was second on my side.
The first question was taken from the other side. I expect you've all heard about 'door', 'X', and 'triangle' by now. Then the person in front of me, then the other side. But the two of them rambled so much between questions (including the famous birthday-song singing) that I began to wonder whether they would ever get to me. They did, though, of course.
I can tell you word-for-word what I asked because I had to reherse it over and over in order to be able to have it in my head when I was up. I'm not too sure of the answers, though.
I said, "I loved your Saturday Night Live," and he just absolutely lit up. I said, "It amazes me how you can create such totally different characters. A friend of mine slept through the introduction at the beginning, and swore that you weren't on."
He made some comment, but I knew if I really listened I wouldn't be able to spit out anything more. Then I said, "Do you want to, or would you take more comedy?"
I do remember that he replied in the affirmative, that he would love to do comedy. Then I asked whether he would be doing Ian Curtis. He said something to the effect that they weren't to the casting stage yet, but he would love to do it. He expressed doubt about his ability, and commented, "Very big shoes to fill."
I couldn't resist. I had turned away from the microphone, but turned back to comment, "You can fill any shoes, Elijah."
My big moment in the sun. At least I didn't goof that one up. I think.
There was the costume parade. I won't go into details, but I greatly enjoyed it, and for the most part agreed with the judges choices.
Then autograph. Again I was put in the front of the line. This time that was kind of sucky, because I went through rather fast and didn't get in as much staring time as I'd have liked, though it wasn't really too bad. What they had done with the autographs was this: during the auction, various posters were sold to include autographs of those featured on it. If you bought a Frodo and Sam poster, you got Sean and Elijah autographs, as well as first-in-line. So I was behind those people, which were slower than everyone else following.
While I was waiting, Elijah looked up at me at some point and smiled. (I don't think it was any kind of recognition, just his normal friendliness.) I felt 'caught' in the act of staring (which I was) and gave only a tiny smile back before nervously looking away. (Who's staring at you? Not me! I was just turning.) His smile died - kind of like, Why am I smiling at the crippled old lady who's staring at me?
Because of the very large extra poster autographs in front of me, they couldn't rush me along too much, but I'm not good at chitchat to begin with and I was totally out of my mind by this time, so whatever exchange I had with Billy was very pleasant and very brief. Same with Sean.
The very interesting thing was, not what I said to Elijah, but his answer. I remembered as he was autographing my magazine, to look and see whether he was wearing his ring. He wasn't. I said, in as neutral a tone as I could manage, "You don't wear your ring anymore."
He said, flatly and forcefully, "No. I don't." The tone of voice communicated, "I very definitely and specifically do not wear that ring, I probably never will again, and I have no intention whatsoever of making any kind of explanation. Subject ended."
I'm kind of sorry I asked because I think it left a sour taste in his mouth for me. Maybe he won't associate that rude person with the one who praised SNL, I hope, but he's got too good a memory ...
On the other hand, it certainly has given me something to think about for several days. I think I'll put those thoughts in a different post.