There it was, written in white neon, right smack in front of me. “You could be anywhere. Why are you here?” I mean, I had to look across the garden and into the window wall up on the third floor in order to see it, and a couple of bars of the window frame were blocking some of it, but I swear that’s what it said. I’ve tried to confirm it, but the picture I took is blurry; Google street view was taken during daylight hours, so you can’t see in the windows; there are no interior photos of that space on the The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York website; and googling the phrase and the location (or even parts of it) yielded no results. Without going all the way back to see it, I can’t prove that’s what it said. You’re just going to have to take my word for it.
Now, that’s a weird sign to read,
- especially when you are sitting in a community garden, listening to readings of horror stories sponsored by the Horror Writers Association, and there are only about a dozen people there
- especially when you found the event quite by accident because of all the streets that pass between 11th and 10th avenue, you chose 52nd for some reason, and about three quarters of the way down the block you heard a person reading out loud, so you crossed the street and the threshold of the garden gate to see what it was
- especially when the whole reason you are on 11th Avenue in the first place is because you went back to Ample Hills Creamery to get more ice cream on account of it was so good last time
- especially when the reason you were even in that neighborhood at seven thirty at night is because you stayed after work for a couple hours, and the last site you were at was in Times Square
- especially when the reason you were there was because the girls had gone, and it was quiet and air conditioned and you had good cell signal and plenty of power strips to plug your phone in
- especially when you are glad you picked that spot because you need all those things for all the careful communication that had to happen to all the involved parties
- especially when you are waiting for a call back from HQ about what steps to take next for a student in distress in her life outside GWC
- especially when while you were waiting and the girls were still there, more than thirty years of programming experience allowed you to look at the scrambled output of a picture of Sponge Bob a girl was trying to filter and in ten seconds suggest a one character change to her code that fixed it, and there were high fives and jazz hands all around
- especially when you walked into that building knowing that you were going to have to escalate the email you just got, and it was late in the day on Friday and you hoped someone would still be around, and they were.
And when you read a weird sign like that, you get to thinking that there aren’t too many people who could do what you just did (I hope it was the right thing), and that you and your team each were the right person in the right place, at the right time. Then, you know exactly why you are here.
What if we are all exactly the right person, in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time? What would you do differently?
Proof of the blurry picture. You can just make out the white neon in the gold windows, right under the tree branches.
Proof of the Horror Writers Association (less blurry):