The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

My Photo
Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Hundred Miles in Half a Day: How My iPhone Battery Helped Me Find Donald Miller's Hidden Manuscript

(A Quick Preface: I used to update my blog a lot. But, now that I am married and own a business, my time to "write dumb stuff on the internet" has been decreased dramatically. The reality is I have just become undisciplined with my writing. I used to write more frequently on my blog as well as for my own amusement. But I have become lazy with my words. That is one reason for the lack of new content. The other reason is because something happened earlier this summer that I have longed to write about. It was an incident that totally disrupted our lives. I have wanted to write about the anger and frustration that I have been dealing with after this incident, but I am sure that my wife and my attorney would prefer me not to say anything. So those are the reasons, but I shouldn't use them as excuses. I need to get more in the habit of writing not only on my blog, but for other outlets as well. So, I will try to do better, cause I can't get much worse.)

So last night, Jen began to, well not really scream, it was more of a squeal.

"Tomorrow Indiana, Tomorrow Indiana!"

I thought she was saying something about one of our cats. She explained that one of Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years manuscripts was supposed to be hidden in Indiana. I had been keeping up with this contest/game/promotion not only on Donald Miller's website but also on his Twitter feed. (Quick explanation: Donald Miller is a writer and he is promoting his new book by "hiding" 60 manuscripts across the U.S. If you find one, he asks that you read it and then call him at the phone number that is listed on the cover sheet to talk about the book with him.)

I looked at Jen and said, "There is going to be one in Evansville."

She asked me how I knew and I told her about the similarities that I had noticed on the previous locations. I am sure that I am not the only one that has noticed the similarities, and though I joked that I "cracked the code" it wasn't hard to do with a little bit of research. So as we went out to run errands, we joked about how awesome it would be if we found one of the manuscripts. Jen said that they should hide the book in the Drive-Thru drawer of the bank that she works at. We kept thinking that be funny if we found one.

This morning I awoke to the rain coming down pretty hard, and I knew that the rain would force the job that I had planned for this morning into fruition. And that if there weren't any problems at the job, I would be done before lunch. So I thought to myself, if they reveal the location of the manuscript towards the end of the day, I could go to Evansville and find it. (For those that are geographically challenged: I live in Owensboro, Kentucky and Evansville, Indiana is about an hour Northwest. The only reason why my Facebook network says Evansville, Indiana is because Owensboro doesn't have it's own network yet. Don't get me started on that.)

So after I got through with morning job, I came back to the office and checked online to see if there was any news on the locations of the manuscripts. Nothing. I waited. I didn't want to go out of my way if they had already reveled the location. Still nothing. I sent some emails to my wife about the contest/game/promotion a few times. When they finally revealed that the location of the manuscript in Alabama and that Indiana would be next, I figured I had as good a chance as anyone else. All the while, there was no guarantee that it was going to be in Evansville. But I thought it was a pretty safe bet.

I sent an email to Jen and told her that I was going to Evansville to find the manuscript. I borrowed my dad's truck and headed towards Evansville, with a quick stop to a customer's place in between.

Jen got off for lunch and called me. I asked her to Google Map a few places that I thought might be prime locations for the manuscript. We came up with the best strategy we possibly could. When I arrived in Evansville, I stopped at a place called the Donut Bank because it was pretty central and had easy access to the Expressway that goes East/West and the highway that runs North/South.

So I waited. I refreshed my Twitter account on my iPhone every 10 seconds. Made a withdrawl of a couple of donuts and waited some more. I got bored and waited some more. I finally decided to move down the road a little bit because there was a school nearby and I didn't want to get caught up in traffic. So I stopped at a parking lot on Weinbach just North of the Expressway.

And waited and refreshed my iPhone. Waited some more and refreshed some more. I looked down and my Twitter feed said that I had reached my limit of 150 reloads an hour. I didn't know anything about this so I began to read the Twitter feeds on Safari and through the Facebook application. Something else popped up soon after that.

"Power At Less Than 20%"

I hit dismiss. I needed to go get a phone charger. So I turned out of the parking lot and headed towards Best Buy to get a iPhone charger. I parked the truck and started to walk inside. All the while, refreshing my Twitter. (By this time, I am a pro at refreshing Twitter.) I guess I had come under the limit somehow.

I walked through the first set of automatic doors and was heading through the second set of sliding doors when the tweet popped up.

(Hello Evansville, IN, here's your copy: 5721 E Virginia St #don_miller)

The Best Buy Bodyguard was just welcoming me into the store and I turned around in a sprint. The door began to close on me. Imagine the scene from The Fugitive. I am Dr. Richard Kimble and the Best Buy Bodyguard is Federal Marshal Gerard. Except the Best Buy Bodyguard isn't trying to shoot me, but rather trying his best to figure out what in the hell I am doing. I push the door open and finally escape and run out the other exit door.

I am sprinting. My sunglasses fall on the ground while I am running and I don't even think about stopping. I am pretty sure I passed Usain Bolt as I was running towards the truck. I hop in and quickly Google Map the location of the manuscript with the location of Best Buy.

2 Blocks away.

I hurried through a couple of intersections and when I got close, I turned right into a strip mall parking lot. I looked at the addresses and realized that the number was on the other side of the street. I look over and there is Vineyards Bookstore. Of course.

I hurry over across the street. I park haphazardly. I run inside. There is a young woman washing the windows of the doors.

I wheeze out, "Is this 5721 E. Virginia?"

She stops washing the windows. "Uh....................I'm................uh..............not"

This time I am trying my best not to, but undoubtedly berating her, "Is this or is this not 5721 E. Virginia?" I probably should have went on and screamed, "Did you or did you not order the Code Red!" but I didn't.

"I just started to work here not to long ago, I am not sure what the address is," she pointed to the customer service counter, "the lady at the customer service counter will be able to tell you.

I run through the store somehow not knocking over any Precious Moments figurines. (Did you know that Precious Moment figurines aren't worth anything unless they have the box. I learned this while working at a Pharmacy/Gift Store for a year. There was a room upstairs that had thousands of PM boxes. And I always had to go up there and find one for some 80 year old woman. It was maddening. I have never understood why they sell PM at Christian Bookstores because my way of thinking that Hell is most certainly filled with Precious Moments boxes.)

I lean on the counter.

"Is this 5721 E. Virginia?"

She said yes.

"Do you have a Donald Miller manuscript here?"

"Yes, I do."

She handed me a big padded envelope and had me jot my name down and my phone number. I was grinning and the young lady cleaning the windows said something to me, but I don't know what it was because I was only thinking of one thing: I got it.


Jen called me as I was getting into the truck. She was calling me to tell me the location of the manuscript. I told her that I had already picked it up. This time, she didn't squeal, she screamed. I told her that I couldn't talk long because my battery was almost dead. I didn't think about opening the envelope for a second, I wanted to save it until I got back home to open it with Jen.

I pulled out of the parking lot and headed back to Best Buy. I got my phone charger and I looked on the ground and my sunglasses were still there.

So I made a bet. I bet that in a state that has 36,418 square miles I could find Donald Miller's manuscript. I did the research. But in reality, it was luck and a slowly dying iPhone battery that got me within two blocks of the manuscript.

Can't wait to read it.