Last week I was driving the rural roads of upstate New York, going from Albany west on Route 20. My destination was the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, which had a special exhibition of Wyeth family figure drawings that I wanted to see.
I was scheduled for a work meeting at noon local time, and I planned to be in town by then and catch it on my computer using my Verizon hot spot for network access. Once I entered town about 20 minutes before my call, I drove down the main street and got lucky: In the middle of town, busy with people and cars all around, I found an empty parking space on the right side of the road that I was able to parallel-park into.
I left my engine running, since it was really hot outside, and got set up for my meeting with my laptop leaning against the steering wheel.
Then I looked up and out my side window, and this is what I saw:
This is the main entrance to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. People save their money to take their kids on vacation to come here as a destination. And here I was parked across the street from it for a prosaic business meeting.
I have to explain here that I do not know anything about baseball. I have been to exactly one game in my life and I was bored. I do not know any names of any baseball players, except Babe Ruth, oh, and maybe Joe DiMaggio – that was another baseball player, right? Oh, and I also have to add that in 1982, I once got a private tour of their home stadium and facilities by the chief financial officer of the Chicago White Sox; I was working on the season billing program for the White Sox when I was working for Ticketmaster.
I didn’t go into the Hall of Fame after my meeting. Rather, I tried to find some lunch down the street at a diner, but the diner was closed, so I stopped at the sushi place next door. I was reading and eating my myself. At the table next to me there were a couple of old Italian-looking guys in their late 70ies, one of them with a cane, having their lunch. While I am sitting there, a family man with his teenage son comes up to the old guy with the cane and asks him for an autograph for his son. They are chatting it up for a while, the boy awestruck, quiet and just smiling.
So I was at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and didn’t go in, and I sat next to an old legend whose name I don’t know.
I was definitely at the right time, at the right place – but I was the wrong man.