Tuesday was one of those days when we probably tried to do too much -- and had too much confidence in our ability to bend time and make it all happen. As a result, we were constantly running behind by about 10-15 minutes on everything (a phenomenon that friends refer to as Rand Standard Time). It's not laziness or indifference that makes us late. We really do value other people's time. It is, as we said, our overconfidence in an ability to get places faster than we should be able to get there.
But we digress. Around 9:15 p.m., the things we tried to squeeze in were over. We realized we had not yet eaten dinner. We also knew the RBBH was out at a late dinner with a couple of friends. So we were solo. In a serendipitious turn, we were also lost in St. Paul. Instead of using GPS, we used instinct. That instinct led us to Snelling Avenue when we thought we were heading toward University Avenue. You do the math on that one (those two roads intersect, so we couldn't have been much more wrong).
As unsavory fast food prospects spun in our head, a much better light bulb went off: The Nook. It's far closer to our new neighborhood than it ever used to where we used to live ... and, confession: We had never been there. That's right, one of the sacred burger places in all of the Twin Cities had somehow escaped us in the nearly two decades we have been living here. Clay Davis would call that shameful, and he would add another word as well.
But this was the perfect opportunity to fix a wrong. It was late enough that it wouldn't be overly crowded. We were flying solo, so we could sit at the bar. And, in what seemed almost too fitting, we arrived at around the start of the top of the 8th inning of the Twins game, which was being shown on one of the TVs at the bar (the other was showing playoff hockey, this being St. Paul, and not the Spurs/Grizzlies in OT).
We noticed Joe Mauer was leading off the inning at around the same time we noticed all the ingredients of the Mauer burger at The Nook, which is located a strong Mauer throw away from his old high school, Cretin-Derham Hall. His burger is called the "Joe Mauer Hit a Double Burger." We kept it simple, though, opting for a bacon cheeseburger. Mauer, too, kept it simple -- single instead of a double to lead off the eighth.
The inning progressed, of course, with Trevor Plouffe knocking in Mauer with the tying run and Ryan Doumit driving in the go-ahead run. The Twins, who hadn't led since Friday, were suddenly in the lead after one magical trip to burger paradise.
We had the narrative in our head, the perfect opening post for Wednesday with all the lessons of life and fate leading us to the perfect place at the perfect time to see this Mauer-fueled victory. With another Minnesota guy -- and presumed hamburger enthusiast -- Glen Perkins on to lock down the ninth, what could go wrong?
Well, of course, we know what happened. Two-out, tying home run, followed by another run in the 10th, and the Twins had lost seven in a row. We got up to leave, and another gentleman at the bar simply said, "brutal." We replied, "unbelievable." But really, it wasn't. Giving up those runs was hardly crazy. What was crazy was thinking that a chance arrival at a burger place near Mauer's old high school was somehow going to change the Twins' luck. What transpired wasn't a Hollywood narrative, but it was, at least, a better reminder of life's narrative than if Perk had recorded one more out. Remembering that will be the reward for the evening (also, the burger and fries were delicious).