It is late at night, I am on a plane, and someone around me is having a very bad gas attack.
Is it Noise-Canceling Headphones Guy? Or Movies-on-the-Laptop Guy? Actually, my money is on the guy in the seat in front of me. He started the flight by unwrapping, and presumably devouring, an extremely pungent package of take-out Chinese from the airport's Food Court. You surely get what you pay for in this world. And sometimes your neighbors do, too.
I had such high hopes for this flight. Four quiet hours, with the workday behind me, nobody to bother me, and nothing else to do: just think of what I could accomplish! I have this musical I'm thinking about writing, and this seemed like the perfect time to start laying out the plot and the songs. I've been planning this writing session for weeks.
But here I am, and it's been a long day, and there's this TV screen in front of me, and maybe I'll just flip through the channels for a minute....Look, it's the improbably muscular Robert Irvine on "Restaurant Impossible," trying to save a cafe, family-run for three generations, that has fallen on hard times. Can he do it? In only 48 hours? How can I turn it off before I see how it ends?
My creativity never fails to come to screeching halt when I travel, especially when I'm on the road for work. It seems like I should have lots of leftover time--after all, I'm not cooking, or driving carpools, or doing laundry. I don't know where that extra time goes; but I never seem to have any. I think I end up spending a lot of it just outside walking around wherever I happen to be, because I hate hanging out in hotel rooms, mostly because I don't like the way they smell. Which is, in any event, nowhere near as bad as the smell of this plane at the moment.
And yes, I will have another bag of Terra Blue chips -- thanks very much.
Truth is, my home didn't smell too great when I left it, either. A nasty odor had begun seeping into the first floor bathroom, and leaking from there throughout the house. I couldn't for the life of me tell what it was, although it had the noxious whiff of something-very-bad-and-expensive-to-fix-happening-inside-my-walls. So I called the plumber, because he is the guy who solves things in my house. I love my plumber. We have a special bond because once, while he was under my kitchen sink working on the garbage disposal, he had a visitation from his long-dead father. It was a beautiful moment, actually. Thankfully, earlier this week, this wonderful plumber made a house call in my absence, and yesterday he left a message on my cellphone to tell me that while disassembling the bathroom sink to investigate the problem, he had found a decomposing dead rat. Nice. But this wonderful plumber went the extra mile and disposed of the rat, thereby solidifying his lofty ranking on the list of my very favorite people.
At the moment, Chinese Food Guy is giving the decomposing rat a run for its money.
I am pleased to report that Robert Irvine has saved the restaurant by perching a piece of broiled salmon on top of a pile of polenta and also by painting the restaurant walls white. The tension was pretty high there for a while; glad I stuck around to see the surprise ending! And look, the next show is about a bakery, family-run for three generations, that has fallen on hard times! Will the prim British pastry chef, whatever her name is, be able to save the business? Can she do it? In only 48 hours? How can I turn it off before I see how it ends?
It will be very, very good to be home. And by now, more than 24 hours post-rat, home should be smelling pretty good.
You will be pleased to hear that the pastry chef has saved the bakery by perching fondant roses on the top of a very hip looking mousse cake, and also by painting the restaurant walls teal. The tension was pretty high there for a while. Glad that I stuck around for the surprise ending.
And here I am, ready to de-plane, having accomplished nothing beyond the demolition of a few bags of blue potato chips. When will I next find four hours together to try to do any real writing?
December. Flight home from a business trip to Kansas City. I guess that not writing my musical will have to wait until then.