I think the most interesting thing to me about discovering the flower was that it wouldn’t have happened had I not made two meaningless choices.
The first choice was the lone comment on Mouth Taped Shut.
Ever since the beginning, I’ve always tried to crack the codes, but I could never do it fast enough. People already posted the links to the images and I just never had any reason to comment.
A clue led to New Mexico just shortly after being in Arizona and Nevada. I thought if Utah was happening it was going to be soon. So I made my first comment under the New Mexico image, and I debated even doing that.
That’s when I got a reply from Plato (@Kierkegaardi) about how Utah only seemed likely because of the Sundance Film Festival, but that’s in January and the film is being released in December. The comment almost gave an “I know something you don’t, and don’t get your hopes up” vibe.
I thought of the possibility anyhow. If it were to come it’d probably be when I was working or something; I’m one of those people who would love to catch a foul ball, but I know I never will. The possibility of ME finding a flower was pretty low in my mind.
The second choice was my car.
The night before the clue, I debated between taking the light-rail train or driving to school the next day. I ended up choosing to drive just so I could sleep in a little bit. Had I not, I probably would’ve been too late. The train that goes to the University of Utah stops at the Salt Lake City Library (the location of the clue), but waiting for it to come and then stopping a few times before getting there would’ve killed precious time.
I was waiting for my 2:00PM class to start, and decided to check Twitter. I noticed the MTS tweet with the SLC clue, but I really didn’t have time to look it over. Before I could catch up on all the tweets, my professor began his lecture. About 20 minutes into the class I found a small window of opportunity to check Twitter again and finish reading them. That’s when I noticed I’d been mentioned in somebody’s tweet, which really only happens when I’m being spammed. I looked, and I realized the same person was mentioning me multiple times.
Turns out, this person informing me was Plato, the same person who commented on my lone MTS post. Had I never made that comment, my only discovery would’ve been finding someone else had discovered the flower. My disqus profile is linked to my twitter account, and that was the only way Plato could get to me.
I checked to see the first tweet had only been sent 10-minutes prior. The other tweets were giving me directions and what to look for. I didn’t hesitate; I grabbed my bag and left right then. I ran as fast as I could to my car, even causing one group of girls to scream as I zoomed passed them. I looked like the kid on campus you make fun of because you know they’re overreacting about whatever it is they’re running to.
I was overcoming a cold, so breathing was hard, and I could feel my blood sugar beginning to drop (I’m diabetic). I didn’t care. Nothing was going to stop me.
I get in my car and make the short trip to the library, which was about 5-10 minutes from the UofU. Luckily for me I had classes that day or else I’d have been traveling from my home, which is about a 40-minute drive.
One tweet from Plato said: “5.5 hrs left. Just S/E of Salt Lake Public Library. Look for green statue @ 240 East 400 South.”
Now, the thing about Salt Lake City blocks is that they’re HUGE, and the streets are WIDE (something to do with oxen being able to make u-turns in the days of yore). So not having any idea what the statue looked like, I madly searched the whole perimeter of the giant block for this green statue. Going only off the tweet, something was telling me southeast meant southeast of the block itself. I ran across the street south of the library and looked at addresses. 270, 260, 250, 216. 216?! WHAT?!
At this point I was a little confused, and I didn’t want to sit around waiting for the 3G on my phone to take forever loading pages. Time was precious, but it was now the only option I had.
I brought up MTS and looked at the comments in hopes that somebody put the link up. For some reason the links didn’t show up in the comments; it was just a blank white space people were replying to. I knew it was there, so I pushed at it ferociously hoping the coordinates page would load (whatishiddeninsnow.com/familytree). Suddenly it did, and I could finally get a glimpse of the statue that I was looking for.
I plugged in the address from Plato’s tweet in my maps app, wondering why I hadn’t before. Lo and behold, it directs me to the giant courtyard in the middle of Library Square, SOUTHEAST of the library. This whole time I’d been searching around the block, not in it.
I finally found the location of the statue, where there was more than one, and started looking under the pillars that held each of them up. The only other person around was a homeless looking kid, who sat on a ledge and just kind of glimpsed at me occasionally. Being that there was nobody around, I started wondering if it had already been found. Salt Lake isn’t the biggest, but its metro is fairly large. I couldn’t have been the only one looking for it.
I came up to the last statue, looked under, and there it was: a small manila folder taped under it. My immediate reaction was, “You’ve got to be kidding me?” Going back to my foul ball mentality there was no way this was actually happening.
I opened it up, and inside was a Silver Star Razor wrapping with the written words “Salt Lake Coffee Roasters. Ask front desk.” The Salt Lake Roasting Co. was just across the street, so away I went, running with excitement.
I walked straight up to the counter and begin an awkward conversation with the girl behind it:
“I found this… thing. It said to come here.”
“Oh. Did you just find it randomly, or… does it have to do with the… uh… scavenger thing?”
“Yeah! It’s for the scavenger hunt!”
“Oh, okay! Just a second.”
She went away a moment and came back holding the recognizable package addressed to Henrik Vanger. I could tell she was curious as to what it was, and I was a little confused myself since I didn’t know if anybody involved was going to approach me and give their congratulations. A part of me wished it was like a Simpson’s scenario where David Fincher just walks out from behind something and says, “Hi, I’m David Fincher. Congratulations!” – I’m starting to feel like I should’ve stuck around a little longer, or at least questioned the employees on who brought the package in. It really only took about a minute for me to walk in, get the package, and walk out. Regardless, I had another class starting soon that I really needed to be at, so I just left. I tweeted that I’d found it (which was enough apparently), thanked Plato, and coughed up a lung for the rest of the day.
**To read a recap of everything written about TGWTDT marketing campaign, click here**