KIDS, it’s the holidays again. Various holidays. I more or less celebrate Christmas, which means I get nostalgic for my childhood, drink heavily, sing some songs, and eagerly accept gifts from fools who do not yet realize that I consider my company to be the Greatest Gift of All.
It also means I have to do some traveling.
The Duchess hails from Texas, and we travel there every year to visit her family. This is usually enjoyable enough. As long as you completely ignore the actual travelling part, which is horrific on so many levels. Getting up early to catch flights, making your way to the airport, enduring airport “security”, sitting in a deathtrap squished in with several hundred other people. Ah, travel. The destination is almost never worth it.
Of course, I try to make these trips productive. I try to write. I always bring along reams of material on my laptop, determined to make the travel work for me instead of against me. It never works. Travel defeats my efforts to write every time. Every. Single. Time.
HOW TRAVEL DEFEATS JEFF’S EFFORTS TO WRITE
First of all, there’s the plane. You board, exchange some nasty words with the flight attendant who seems to think you stole a blanket from the first-class cabin, settle into your seat. No point in starting any work, because they’re going to tell you turn off all your devices soon anyway, right? So you read Maxim magazine. Feel stupid for, once again, purchasing Maxim magazine, which takes about thirty seconds to leaf through and brings nothing but shame, possible arousal, and then more shame.
Then, you take off. This is of course terrifying. A billion-pound thing is being hauled into the air via someone’s shaky understanding of physics, operated by some unseen military washout. HOLY SHIT. If you think I’m not clutching The Duchess’s hand so tight her fingers turn white, you do not know me.
After that, who can work? I’m shaking and soaked in sweat, and we’re not safe yet, because now we’re a billion-pound thing hurtling through the air at several hundred miles an hour. HOLY SHIT. So naturally I start drinking. How many tiny bottles of sweet booze does it take to get to Texas? I can tell you precisely: Thirteen.
Let’s just say not much work gets done on the plane, right? Aces.
Then there’s the hotel. Assuming you spend any time in it. Which we don’t. The hotel is always a speculative place, sort of like the Hatch in Lost. Sure, it’s there. There are things in it, like wireless Internet and a desk, a minibar. We will never know for sure, because we will never spend any time there. Sometimes we sleep there, but I’m usually so bloated on Texmex and BBQ that I’m in a dream-like state whenever I return to the hotel, floating along the hallways while Dean Martin sings Ain’t That a Kick to the Head and dancing cowgirls circle around us, singing.
In between are, of course, relatives, restaurants, shopping excursions, arrests, hallucinations, conversations with Jesus involving insincere pledges to never drink that much again, and deer jerky. So, so much deer jerky.
So, with my fingers perpetually greasy, and always hovering in a sweaty gray area between drunk and hungover, not a lot of work gets done outside the hotel, either. And then the trip is over, and we’re back on the damn plane (HOLY SHIT) and nothing’s getting done there, either, usually because the flight staff all remember me from the previous flight (or because my name and photo have been posted on secret flight attendant web sites along with unflattering descriptions of my behavior) and somehow I always wind up locked in the bathroom with one of the airphones, desperately trying to contact my lawyers so they can meet me at the gate.
They never do. Possibly because I do not, actually, have any lawyers. At least not ones I’ve ever paid.
So, the next week is going to be a black hole of unproductivity. This also means I sail into the New Year immersed in a strong sense of shame and panic, because I’m another year older and nothing much got done, as usual. I have hundreds of novels to write and so far I’ve managed about 20. HOLY SHIT.