Meeting Lee Tergesen: EIGHT

By Anne (amytych@yahoo.com)

January 7, 2005

Well, it was three months since my last visit with Lee, but it's a whole new year!

This trip came up rather unexpectedly. Danielle, who had missed the November get-together for "The Foreigner," said she was going to try and see the show on Jan. 7. So I contacted Lee, who had offered comp tickets for her. So I decided to join her. Unfortunately, Danielle got sick about a week before the show and couldn't make it. I needed to get away, so I went ahead to New York.

I arrived at the theater just before 7 p.m. -- timed on purpose after Mav and the gang saw him on Nov. 13 around that time. I had literally just picked up my ticket and turned around and I saw him walking toward the theater. He was all bundled up in a winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves. He looked rather adorable with the hat on, I must say. I went outside to greet him and he turned off his iPod and gave me a hug.

I asked him how he was feeling. He said OK, not great. "Well, you look good," I said, because he did. *g* He just gave me one of those charming grins of his. I think I also said it was good to see him again. Soon after, he said he had to go inside and get into character. I followed him in because it was too cold to stay outside. He asked how Danielle was and I said, *coughing a lot.* He nodded, expressed some empathy, and went downstairs rather quickly. I heard him exchange a joke or something with the ticket girl at the bottom of the stairs because both he and she were laughing. Then I heard him swear, which I think was part of this humorous exchange. By the time I got to the bottom of the stairs, he was heading toward the backstage area.

When I got to my seat, it was in row J!! That was only nine rows back (there's no row I)!! Is he good to me or what? 

The play was great. I think I actually enjoyed it even more this time. I know I laughed more. And I actually was able to follow the non-Lee action better. Ha! That story that Matthew tells in the foreign language? I was clueless the first time. This time I actually followed it. The audience seemed even more lively than the last time too.

Lee's performance was more manic than the last time. He really seemed to be having a blast. At the end of his first scene, he stuck his tongue out again like he did before and the audience really got a kick out of that. And that part where he said, "I think we oughta jest take this place. Jest take it!" and he pumped his arms? Well, recall how manic he was Nov. 13th and multiply by about five. He kept repeating "take it" and just pumping his arms and waving his knife around. The audience was laughing. They really responded to him and that really made me happy.

Overall the audience seemed more pumped that it did in November. That part when Matthew told the funny story in the foreign language? The other actors could *not* stop snickering. That actress who played Catherine was the worst and I recall she did it in November, too, but she was worse last night. Everyone was cracking up. Then, when he was teaching them a foreign language, they were all snickering. The only one who didn't crack up was Lee and he really couldn't because Owen was supposed to be pissed off, but I still admired his ability to refrain when everyone else was losing it.

During curtain call, Lee got a few whoops that weren't from me. I got a kick out of that.

After the show, I went upstairs to wait for him and the courtyard was soon full of too many people. He must have come out one of the other doors because I saw him standing at the top of the cement stairs. He was looking for me, but couldn't see me because of all the people. He turned around and I had this moment of panic that he was going to leave. I nearly knocked people over to get to him. LOL. He was talking to this woman, who apparently knew someone else in the cast from when they were in junior high school. I waited while they finished.

Then Lee gave me another hug and a kiss this time. I decided to be bold and asked him if he had time for a drink. I asked quickly before he had time to say he had to go. Ha! He said yes. We started walking down the street and I told him that I enjoyed the show even more tonight. He seemed to think that was pretty cool. I said I thought the audience was very enthusiastic. He agreed. I told him it seemed like he was having a lot of fun on stage and he just smiled. 

Then he asked me about my upcoming surgery and by that point, we were at Rosie O'Grady's, which was very close to the theater -- even closer than O'Lunney's. He said he'd never been there before. He found a table near the front window and we'd barely taken our coats off when this man came up to Lee and started saying how wonderful he was on "Oz." Lee shook his hand and said, "Thanks."

I commented that he probably gets that all the time. He said, "Anne, I have to admit that I was here earlier and I paid that guy to come up to me just now." He's a nut. He asked what I wanted to drink and then went up to the bar to get it. That's when he first talked to the bartender, but I don't think he told Lee he was a fan at that point. I don't know what they talked about because the music was really loud in there.

He came back with the drinks and we talked some more about my health stuff and he asked me how I was feeling about everything. Then I got out a picture for him to sign for Dusty. I also took out my "Oz" Season 3 DVDs and sheepishly asked him to sign them because I have his sig on the other two and I need to have the completed set, ya know? He asked where I wanted him to sign it and I told him anywhere he wanted, so he did it on the actual DVD with Beecher's picture -- the third one. *g* It's the first time I've asked him to sign anything for me since I saw him after "The Exonerated" in January 2003.

We talked about the play some more and I told him that the audience responded to him and that I got a kick out that. Then I babbled about how I loved watching people respond to him. I told him I would often show people his shows/movies just to see their reaction to him. He imitated me staring at them. I called him a smart ass and told him that I didn't stare at them. I asked them, "What did you think?" He just kept smiling.

He asked me where I was staying and I told him it was an apartment building that rented some rooms out as hotel rooms in Herald Square. I named the building and he knew it. He said he had a friend who lived there and he'd been in the building. He said people were always asking him where to stay and so he was looking for good recommendations. He knew the building was nice. (My room on this visit was actually twice the size of the one six of us squeezed into back in November. I had a whole extra bedroom! I guess it's less busy this time of the year.)

At one point, he said something completely adorable, and I just could not control myself. I said, "I have to hug you right now." And he gave me the most adorable grin. I got up and walked over to him and hugged him and I started to let go because I didn't want him to feel like I was invading his space, but he held me tighter. It was almost like he was pulling me back in for a tighter hug, so I reciprocated. It was a really long hug and I noticed he smelled very yummy. *g*

Then he told me that he recently saw Nic. He confused me for a minute because he said, "Your friend from Boston." I wracked my brain. Then I remembered Nic had seen him. "Nic?" I asked. The light bulb went off. "Yeah, Nic," he said, grinning. I said, "She's from Pennsylvania." He said, "Oh right." Then I mentioned Melony had met him too and I had to jog his memory. "You teased her about her name. It's spelled M-e-l-o-n-y." Then he grinned. "Oh yeah, I told her it should be pronounced Meloni." He's a card.

Of course, he had his moments where he teased me, too. At one point he said, "You made all this stuff about Danielle up, didn't you? She was never coming." I said, "Yes, Lee it was all a ploy to have you all to myself." LOL! Then he got this shocked look on his face and said, "You killed her, didn't you?" I laughed and said, "Yeah, her body's in the trunk. I'm dumping it in New Jersey on the way home." Hey, he's teaching me how to be snarky. Heh.

It was about this time that the bartender came up and sat in a chair opposite of me. He started talking about "Oz" and how much he loved the show. The whole time he spoke he looked at me and *never* at Lee. I think he was nervous. When he left, I said, "He didn't look at you the whole time. He was looking at me." Lee nodded and said, "That was weird." I told him that he made people nervous. He laughed. I told him, "I was nervous the first time I met you." And added without any prompt, "OK, the first five times." He chuckled and then commented that everybody reacted a little differently.

The bartender stopped by another time and actually looked at Lee, and started talking about renovations of the upstairs. Sweetheart that Lee is, when we were leaving, he said, "I have to go say goodbye to this guy," meaning the bartender. Isn't he a doll?!

I asked him about L.A. He said he's probably going in early February but he hadn't set a date yet. He said he was up for a part in a TV movie about Elvis. I didn't hear him when he said that and I asked, "Who?" He snarked, "You know, Elvis. King of rock and roll?" Smart ass. I asked him about the DVD signing and mentioned that my sister wanted to meet Dean but that I didn't want to go if Lee wasn't going to be there. He said it was possible he could fly back or just wait until after the signing (if there is one. He didn't know.) He said he hated missing the last one.

Then he thanked me for making the contribution to the Komen Foundation in his mother's name. This is the second year that I did that. I told him I liked to do it and he gave me another smile. God, he was killing me with the smiles, I swear to God.

I started talking about all the fans who'd given me messages to relay to him and somehow we ended up talking about French fans. He was there for a vacation last summer and apparently got recognized a lot. He said, "I need to go back to France. And I need to go to Israel." "Why Israel?" I asked. "Oz is huge in Israel," he said. I had no idea. Cool to know. He also said he went to Italy for a summer vacation, too.

There was a TV on in the bar and sometimes Lee's eyes were drawn to it. There was an ad for an Ethan Hawke movie and he mentioned it and I went into a tirade about Ethan and how horrible he was in "Henry IV" last year at the Kennedy Center. "I heard that," he said. I still can't believe I did that.

There were times when he was talking that I couldn't hear him because of the loud music, so I would lean closer and ask, "What?" After about the fifth time, he said, "You know, Anne, sometimes I'm just thinking out loud. You don't need to know everything I'm thinking!" So I snarked right back, "Well, when I hear words come out of your mouth, I think you're talking to me, so I want to know what you said!"

Soon after that, he said he had to go and I said I had something for him. I took out a card I had with a gift inside, which made the envelope bulge. "What is that? Unmarked bills?" I said I had to explain the gift. So he opened the card and read the whole thing. It had a lot of writing on it. It basically said, "Thanks for being you."

The gift was wrapped in tissue paper and he remarked, "This better not be snot, Anne." Ha. Ha. He opened it up and it was a tiny ornament made from Mt. St. Helen's ash. I told him that I'd actually bought it in the summer of 2003 and just never gave it to him. He asked, "Is it a leprechaun?" which made me laugh. No, I said, it's a clown. Then I told him that I picked it out because the episode of "Weird Science" where he played Brad the evil clown was my favorite comedic performance of his. He nodded because I have already told him this. Then he said thanks and I got another kiss and a hug. *g*

Then he mentioned again that he had to go and that's when I said we had to take pictures. He groaned dramatically. I said, "Come on, it's tradition." He snarked, "OK, where's the camera?" So I took it out and he gestured for me to sit next to him. I said, "Oh, we're taking it inside?" He gave me a puzzled look. "Why not? If we go outside we'll have hats and coats on." I pointed out that he got snippy with me when I took pictures of him at Time Cafe. He thought about that for a minute and I reminded him that I had my video camera. "Oh, you had that damn video camera on me for like 20 minutes." It was actually about four. Heh. And then I told him that I have him on tape saying, "Note to self: Kill Anne." He laughed really hard at that. I think he said, "That's great."

When he first tried to take it, the shutter wouldn't work. It sometimes sticks, which I hate, so I told him to just keep trying. Finally he moved the camera close to him to see what the problem was and ended up taking a picture of the table. That's when the manager came up and offered to take our picture. He also had a hard time with the shutter. But we finally got the picture taken. And then I took the picture of him.

Then he stood up and started getting bundled up and I just sat there and watched him. I asked if he always wore a hat or just recently. He said, just recently. I said that was probably a good idea since he'd been sick. He teased me about not wearing a hat and yet I hadn't gotten sick. Then, he noticed I wasn't getting ready to leave and said, "Anne, what are you doing?" I sort of blinked. I'm so used to him leaving us behind and us sitting around talking about him when he's gone. I had no clue he expected me to go with him. So I got my coat on and we walked to Times Square and to catch a cab. On the way, I told him I had watched "Bark" at the hotel before coming to the show. I brought it along because I knew they'd have a DVD player. He said, "Oh, a DVD player, that's good to know."

When we got to Times Square, he remarked that it had changed so much since he moved there. Then he asked me, "How many people do you think look at this and think Blade Runner?" This totally took me aback. I've only seen this movie once and never run into any articles about it anymore. So I said, "Two?" He looked at me like I was nuts. "Two?! What kind of answer is that?" So I said, "The movie isn't really that popular." Oops. Wrong thing to say. "Yes, it is," he insisted. That's when we got into the cab.

It was short ride, unfortunately, and we talked a bit about his working on the play. Then we arrived at Herald Square. When the cab driver pulled over in front of Macy's, I waited for Lee to get out, but he just sat there. The driver mentioned that we were at Herald Square. Lee remarked that this was the wrong corner, but I pointed across the street to the hotel. "Oh," he said and got out of the cab so I could exit the passenger side.

I got another really sweet hug and a kiss and asked me to keep him posted about my surgery, etc. I started to cross Broadway and was half way across when I heard, "GOODNIGHT, ANNE!" I turned around to see him sticking his head out of the window, waving at me. That was the best part of the whole night. He's so damn cute!

Main Page
Meeting Lee

Meeting One
March 19, 2002

Meeting Two
May 19, 2002

Meeting Three
October 7, 2002

Meeting Four
December 7, 2002

Meeting Five
January 28, 2003

Meeting Six
August 31, 2003

Meeting Seven
November 13, 2004

Meeting Eight
January 7, 2005

Meeting Nine
May 31, 2008

Meeting Ten
May 2, 2010

Meeting 11
Dec. 4, 2010

Meeting 12
Nov. 23, 2011

Meeting 13
June 9, 2012

Meeting 14
Aug. 17, 2013

Meeting 15
June 14, 2015