I was settled in at my desk, reading emails, editing writing and updating calendars. I was quietly minding my own business, wondering how much I could get done before tonight's exercise (unwanted but very necessary) class. As happens quite often throughout the day, my phone buzzed with a text message. This time it was Misha, on his community texting line that I joined a while back.
"Hey! I'm in Chicago right now and I'm heading over to check out the Bean (aka "Cloud Gate") at 3:45 pm local time. Want to join me? Come say hi and we can stare at our reflections in the sculpture together & maybe take a picture. Hope to see you there."
What? Suddenly I'm paying a lot closer attention! What???? My brain slowly starts processing the shocking invitation. Misha's in Chicago?? Checking the time... it's 1:46 pm. Misha is announcing where he'll be in 2 hours? And he's inviting us to meet him??
For those who may not recognize the name, "the Bean, aka 'Cloud Gate'" is a famous tourist attraction in Millennium Park on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Also for those who may not remember, I live in Chicagoland. On a good day, I could maybe make it downtown in the middle of the day in 90 minutes. Add in another 30 minutes to park, walk to the Bean and find Misha - OOHHHH, that's cutting it close! Should I even try? Is this a prank? Then I remember that just a week or so ago, responding to accusations that it wasn't truly him texting, Misha tweeted a video (or picture?) of himself sending the message that we all received via text! So, no, this was really Misha! Should I go?? My day was planned... do I have gas in the car? This is crazy! Am I really considering this???
With about 30 seconds to decide, I ponder, "what would you think of yourself if this turns into an EPIC Misha meeting and you weren't there?" Oh, *&^%$! I text a family member. "Just do it!" they say. Running out of time to debate this.... Oh, go, girl! So I flip tabs on my browser, buy discounted downtown parking (an absolute must in downtown Chicago), then race through the house throwing on jeans and an #SPNFamily hoodie, grabbing my phone, my keys, my coat... what am I forgetting?? My charger! My phone is almost dead! So I grab my charger and bolt out the door. I'm driving by 2:01 pm!
Half way downtown I realize I don't have my charger. This can't be happening! I must have put it down in my rush to lock my house door! Oh, well, still 50% charge.
I'll save you my narration of the frantic commute in horrible traffic, the mad dash to find a space in an unfamiliar parking garage, running down sidewalks to get to the Bean..... OMG! I take the steps up to the Bean 2 at a time... it's 3:45 EXACTLY! Now, where do I go?? Find the largest group of people...
Thankfully, in that massive group of people, I see a welcome sign!
So I join the group and we wait... and wait... and maneuver around to watch all the park entrances... and wait...until...
I see him!!
I was one of the first to see him from my vantage point, but I guess I'm not as pushy as I need to be sometimes. We yell, "Hi, Misha!" and suddenly everyone turns and pushes forward. From being in the front of the crowd, I'm suddenly about 5 rows back. I must say, though, everyone was very respectful of Misha's space. No one rushed him, or crowded him. Thank goodness. As he approached the crowd, he took a phone call! I'll just wait here then...
"Hi" he says back to us! 'How's everyone feeling?'
The loudest answer? "Cold!" (it wasn't really that bad. I think it was about 30 degrees).
The crowd started getting a bit close, so he walked around a bit looking for an elevated place to stand so we could all see him. He made some small talk then asked "Do you have any questions?"
I look down at my phone. 2% power. Really??? I switch it to low power mode to keep it running as long as I can. Sorry, no video then.
Of course, we have questions!
Hilariously, the first question: "Are you a bot?" Obviously, they had also seen the whole bit a week ago where he was accused of being a bot!
'No, I'm not a bot! I'm real.' (I might miss the EXACT words as I'm doing this from memory, but the meaning will be correct.)
Next question, "What brings you to Chicago?"
I expected a family trip, or visiting friends, or just passing through. No. Misha's answer surprised us all. He said he had considered beforehand whether he should tell us the real reason he was in Chicago, but in the end he decided to share it with us.
'I'm here for a hip replacement.'
What? Is he kidding? At first, we didn't know whether Misha was being Misha and messing with us. 'I didn't know whether to tell you, lest you think I'm getting decrepit, but then I figured you already think I'm decrepit so I might as well admit it!' He was being serious! He came to Chicago for hip replacement surgery! He said he met with his doctor in the morning. 'I saw the titanium that they're going to put in me... wait... I guess I will be a bot when they're through with me!'
He was being serious! I want to ask, "when?", "are you okay?" or something to acknowledge the news he just shared, but what does one ask in a group of a hundred people in a public park?? This was a friendly gathering, not a press conference!
His news was followed by several other questions and a few momentary conversations with individual fans. "Is Vicki with you in Chicago?"
'No, she isn't here now. She is coming, though.'
Everyone sensed that he wanted to move on with other questions, so the questions resumed.
How did it feel to have his cookbook published?
Misha said it felt good to have the cookbook out now. He said he doesn't like doing interviews, and the publicity tour involved a lot of interviews, so that was frustrating for him. He thought the cookbook might actually do some good to help people enjoy eating healthier, and its proceeds are going to charitable causes so that's all hopeful.
Someone also asked him about the video that was just released with the Supernatural cast singing "The 12 days of Speighmas" to director Richard Speight, Jr. Misha said they did that carolling after the longest day ever on the Supernatural set. He said they filmed until 5am, in the woods, in Vancouver, on a cold winter night. He said that always makes everyone "hate the director." The next day was an extremely short day of filming, followed by the shortest day on record for filming a Supernatural episode. Laughing, he teased that Speight just gave up on filming with that cast before the holidays! He said Speight shot the widest master shot ever and said that surely they could get someone out of that! (He was joking about the giving up part!)
When asked how he liked playing Lucifer on Supernatural, Misha admitted that he loved playing that role. He said that before he starting filming, he called Mark Pellegrino to ask for advice in portraying the character that Mark had so expertly established. Misha said he told Mark he didn't want to "cheat" but asked for tips. Mark revealed that he thought Lucifer always approached foes deciding if he was going to "kill them or F--- with them." That gave him the edge he needed in each scene! Misha said that he has found that to be sound advice for life in general!
Someone wanted to take a selfie, someone passed him a note, someone gave him a gift. Then I got a chance to ask a question, "What are your thoughts about Castiel's ending in Supernatural?" Yeah, no pulling punches! Oh, heck, he knows me.
He laughed, then smirked, then looked away and smiled.
Let me paraphrase his answer best I can.
'It will be funny! You'll laugh.' Pause. 'That's not true.'
'Let me tell you a funny story. Last night when I got in town, I couldn't sleep, so I took 2 Tylenol PM. I rarely take Tylenol PM, so I was tripping a bit, as you know you do when you take Tylenol PM. Still, it didn't work, so I just laid there, tripping on Tylenol PM, and thinking about my ideal ending for Castiel. It was then that I realized there were tears streaming down my face. Yeah, you'll be sad.'
Another group gasp.
Here are two videos of his answer to my question. The first gets more of the beginning of his answer while the second gets more of the ending. Thank you to both Kaitlynn and Tins for sharing their videos with me.
Misha high-fiving about Tylenol PM and how it made him cry while thinking of his ideal Cas ending for the show. What a surreal experience I got to have today. @mishacollins Thank you ❤️ #Supernatural pic.twitter.com/b34MfMUm7I— Kaitlynn ❄️☃️ (@lotsofschmidt) December 16, 2019
After a few small interactions, he realized he said he'd take a picture with us.
'You have to all move to the right so I can get you in the shot.' We all started sidling to the right, like a blob of bobble heads that were glued together, shoulder to shoulder. SNAP.
"Wait! You said you'd take it with us at the Bean!"
"Oh, Sh*t! You're right! Everyone over to the Bean!" This wasn't so much sidling now as frantic maneuvering to be right up in front!
When I’m traveling, I just text everyone I know in town to meet up. I texted these guys to come meet me this afternoon at the @artinstitutechi.— Misha Collins—Get The Adventurous Eaters Club Now! (@mishacollins) December 16, 2019
Text me if you want me to let you know when I’m in your hometown: (323) 405-9939 pic.twitter.com/OOYElQq1pE
Yeah, I'm in there somewhere! Here are the pics from my perspective! I'm in the middle of the throng of fans!
Sorry, I love the view...
Our time together was drawing to a close. He had places to go, things to do...
A few people walked with him the long way around the park to get to the curb. I may have been one of those people. Luckily, there was a split second when he looked in my direction. I wished him well for his surgery. He paused and thanked me, then pushed through the crowd to keep moving. I was hanging back on purpose. I wasn't going to try to get a selfie (now down to 1% on my phone) or an autograph. I snapped one last picture at the curb before his cab pulled up and whisked Misha away to his hotel.
It had been less than 1 hour from the time I arrived at the Bean to the time he drove away.
Did that just happen?
Thank you, Misha, for choosing Chicago as the place where you told your #SPNFamily and friends about your surgery. Thank you for trusting us to meet you in the park. Thank you for your patience with pictures and autographs and questions. Thank you for being you. And God's speed with your surgery. I'm sure you'll be in great hands. You'll have a lot of people praying for you.
Please join me in wishing Misha well as he faces his surgery. May you have a fast and easy recovery my friend!
[Update: Misha posted more details about his surgery in an Instagram story on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Refer to WFB's News story for links to pictures from that post plus more information about the surgery, his surgeon and his recovery.]
Please credit if you copy the pictures.