Anticipating long lines and no parking spaces, when my husband’s schedule and mine didn’t match for an early morning ride to the Lyric Theater for the Governor Mark Warner-Google CEO Eric Schmidt talk, I made a mental list of who might be a high-tech groupie with me.
Nanci Hardwick, CEO of Schultz-Creehan, was up for going with me, but she planned to arrive later, too late, I worried, to get in. I schemed another scheme.
What I needed was a Virginia Tech Professor Emeritus who created and maintained a massive site, wrote two blogs, followed contemporary events with acumen, and set his alarm at 6:00 AM every morning, even on weekends, so he could write a few hours before the day began.
Wednesday night, I called my dad.
At 7:15 AM on Thursday morning, my dad arrived. I knew when I opened the car door the heat would be blasting, as it always had been, so his daughter wouldn’t be cold. It was. And just as he had when I was a kid, my dad drove his hope-filled daughter where she dreamed of going.
I’m from here, was in Tampa for twenty years, and now I’m back. Ah, Tampa, the land of air like wrung washrags, parking lots euphemistically termed highways, lines for mall bathrooms like the entire troupe of Beijing dancers waiting to perform in the Olympic stadium, the land where all adventures require an arrival early enough for a commute to Reykjavik.
In the quiet, just dawning light of a morning in downtown Blacksburg, my dad parked in one of a dozen open parking spaces on Draper Road, just around the corner from the Lyric Theater. He kindly hustled with me around the corner as I hurried to see whether my scheming had come to naught, whether I would have to ask my dad to drive me back home because there would be no use in waiting, because everyone had gotten there before I had.
Only one guy.
So, okay, I'm not in Tampa any more.
But this was Google! Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google! Surely, the new edition of the American Heritage Dictionary would place by the word “ubiquitous” the Google logo! And Governor Mark Warner! Where was the crowd?!
Still, here was one like-minded guy. He was rolling out what looked like a tarp. Surely it was a blanket on which he would camp out in line. A fellow tech star fan!
With great delight and anticipation, I asked, “Are you in line to see Eric Schmidt of Google and Governor Mark Warner?!”
“No,” he said. “I work for the Lyric. I’m changing the marquis.”
I treated my dad to coffee at Bollo’s, then we walked back to the Lyric. As a high-tech fan, I sighed with great relief.
I took out my cell phone and my reading glasses. A 75-year-old man and almost 50-year-old woman composed and sent a Twitter tweet to cover the latest, breaking, local high-tech news for Handshake 2.0:
"1st in line 4 schmidt & warner @ lyric"
This post is part of a series by Anne Giles Clelland, founder of Handshake 2.0, on the visit of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, to the Lyric Theater, Blacksburg, Virginia, October 23, 2008.
Links to the series:
"Highlighting Folks" with Twitter
Jeff Sturgeon of The Roanoke Times wrote about the event in Google CEO says Virginia ripe for new businesses on Roanoke.com. Here's coverage from Virginia Tech's Collegiate Times, the Warner campaign, and Virginia Tech Campus Gallery.
You don’t have to be Google to get your company’s story on Handshake 2.0.