Do you know what this is?
It’s my almost-empty peanut butter jar, which means I’m just about due for a trip back to the United States of America…I’ll be on The Book Tour!
The good part of The Book Tour is that I get to meet lots of people who bake from my books and read my blog.
This is what I’ll be doing the rest of the time…
1. 6:47 am: Wake up.
2. Figure out what city I’m in.
3. Search for remote control buried under covers and turn on TV.
4. Remove eyemask and earplugs.
5. Get out of bed and mentally think about trying to find a place nearby for breakfast that won’t set me back $37.85 (ie: the overpriced hotel dining room) for two eggs, imitation-butter-slathered toast, soggy home fries with lots of freaky-colored paprika added for no reason but to try to make them look more ‘gourmet’ but in fact they look scary and gross, and watery orange juice. Bottomless cup of coffee is $4.75 extra…since they know you’re going to order it anyways…why not overcharge?
Thankfully it’s bottomless, since you need to drink four cups before you feel anything resembling a caffeine jolt. And it comes with those little plastic containers of half-and-half that have the consistency of house paint. (Isn’t it cheaper, and better, to give you fresh milk? And who the hell uses half-and-half anymore?)
6. Reconsider staying in my hotel room and making coffee in the provided coffee-maker adding powdered-milk substitute.
7. Find nearby Starbucks. Figure out their stupid size-system that makesabsolutely no sense and just sounds pretentious and I can’t bring myself to ask for something vente when I just want a medium-sized coffee with a bit of milk. Grab a puffy, super-sized Apple-Blueberry-Cranberry Streusel Bagel and bottle of icky-green Odwalla Power Juice intended for menstruating women and head back to the room to watch Diane Sawyer interview some actress who shaved her head for a movie role.
8. Eat breakfast and switch channel to Good Morning, Springfield. Weathergal Jenni Johnanssen is interviewing a 107-year old grandma about her needlepoint fetish. Some vitally important news about Katie Holmes baby, which everyone still assumes is a product of Tom Cruise. Change channels to QVC. At least they’re honest about what they’re selling.
9. Shower and shave. Pack up clothes from night before. Smell socks and decide to throw them away. Briefly feel bad for the housekeeper, leave her $3, and wheel my luggage out the door.
10. Get down to desk and realize I forgot my shirt hanging in closet. Go back up to the now-smelly room, find out room key needs to be re-set and I need to go back downstairs to the desk and there’s now a line. Of course the person in front of me is having a problem with his credit card while simultaneously carrying on a cell phone conversation with a business associate who is probably in the next room.
11. Explain to the bellhop that I don’t need help (ie: $3) with my little carry-on suitcase.
12. Try to get someone to explain how to get to airport.
No one knows.
No one even seems to know how to get around the city they live in. Much disagreement at the hotel front desk about how to get to the airport but after a little conference amongst them, they draw me a rudimentary map
(Don’t people ask them that all the time? Why don’t they just have a photocopied map with directions?)
Go outside but can’t figure out which rental car in the parking lot is mine since they all look exactly alike. Eventually find mine, distinguishable by the York Peppermint Patty wrappers on the floor. Discover Palm Pilot is frozen and fused to the vinyl front seat.
As I’m turning onto the highway, realize I left my only razor in the bathroom and I forgot to shave.
13. Drive to airport in morning rush hour listening to Howard Stern interview identical-twin lesbians about their silicone implants which their stepfather bought them for their 16th birthdays.
Get stuck in traffic and realize that I have no idea where I’m going but it doesn’t really matter since I can’t move anyways. Watch drivers applying make-up, reading newspapers, picking their noses (they stop immediately when they see I’m looking and pretend they’re scratching their noses), and eating KFC breakfast burritos.
14. See sign for airport, find a gas station to fill up the car, and pray I don’t get shot. Drop off rental car, answer lots of stupid questions intended to try to get me to pay more money.
15. Get to airport and gasp at long line snaking around check-in.
16. Get in line and gasp when realize I need to use the bathroom.
17. Get out of line.
Find bathroom. Go in stall. Consider crying.
Reconsider that at 46 years old, I shouldn’t be crying. Go to bathroom instead.
18. Check-in, find gate and wait while some idiot yells on his cell phone to his business associate. Change seats and sit next to woman wearing a good bottle-and-a-half of horrid perfume, reading Real Simple magazine and dog-earing pages. I read a USA Today that someone left behind.
Not much news, but there sure are a lot of pretty colors.
19. Get on plane, decline the vile coffee, and fly to next city. Eat the apple that’s fallen to the bottom of my shoulder bag, resting in the detritus at the bottom along with an uncapped Sharpie and find my last, long-lost Ambien.
20. Pick up rental car. Listen while they try to talk me into all sorts of things that triple the price. I decline. Grave predictions are made by the rental car rep.
Feel guilty. Buy insurance.
21. Drive around new city in Chevy Cavalier (“Would anyone really buy this model of car?“, I think to myself.) Find hotel. (Getting better at this. I only got lost twice.) Fend off bell-hop that wants to help me with my little carry-on (ie: $3). Desk clerk tells me there’s no reservation under my name. Call cooking school. Tell desk clerk to re-check. Desk clerk finds reservation. Room isn’t ready. Won’t be ready until 3 pm. It’s now 10:30am and I’m in a strange city in the middle of nowhere.
Look for bathroom, sit in stall.
22. Ask at front desk about a good restaurant nearby for lunch. They suggest TGIFridays, Bennigans, Cracker Barrel, or Paneria. (My cunning strategy of asking, “Where can I get something fresh for lunch?” invariably makes them draw a blank.)
23. Eat The World’s Largest Chicken Salad with Country Ranch Dressing (on the side) served on a pile of deep-fried noodles which I intend to pick away (but actually they taste pretty good even though I know they’re really bad for you) accompanied by The World’s Largest Glass of Iced Tea in a glass with more ice than Antarctica. There’s barely room for tea.
I drink my iced tea shivering, wondering why in the middle of December the air-conditioning seems to be operating at full blast.
Waitress asks me at minimum of three times, “How is everything?”
I want to answer, “Please leave me alone.”, but I’m too polite and I know she’s just doing her job, so I say, “Fine, thanks…” (…but please stop pouring more ice tea whenever I take a sip from my glass!)
24. Go to room, which smells like pine deodorizer. Unpack fresh socks and undershorts. Realize I don’t have any more fresh undershorts. Decide to multitask: take warm bubble bath while washing undies. Listen to television “news” about Maddox Jolie’s hair and complaints about how expensive gas is in America.
No one mentions the war.
Stop at Walgreen’s to get new razor. Am transfixed by the shampoo aisle. What does someone do when faced with a choice of 87 different kinds of shampoo? I am paralyzed with indecision and wonder at Walgreen’s, and leave with my razor and two York Peppermint Patties.
And Teen People magazine.
25. Find cooking school and meet the assistants who are lots of fun and enthusiastic. I suggest they wear nametags since within seconds after they tell me their names, I’ve forgotten them, and from then on have to pretend I remember their names.
I barely remember mine at this point.
26. Set up for class. Guests arrive. Teach a fun Chocolate Class. Great class and only one person tells me they’re allergic to chocolate. No one asks “How do you stay so thin? or “Why do you live in France?” (er“…watch the news lately?) or “What do you think about low-carb chocolate?” (See previous question, Why I Live in France…there’s no such thing as low-carb chocolate!) or “Are French people really rude?” (Um, yes some of them are, but I guess since no one is rude in America it’s quite a shock.)
People laugh at my jokes and like everything I make.
Sign books and chat with guests.
Buy a few things at the store before I leave.
Realize I’ve spent most of my teaching fee buying kitchen tools.
27. Go back to my hotel. Realize I’m starving and haven’t had anything to eat since lunch eleven hours ago. Ask at front desk where I can get something to eat. They recommend TGIFridays, Bennigans, Cracker Barrel, or Paneria. (I give up asking for fresh. Too optimistic.) And I’m too cheap to order the room service soggy club sandwich for $23 and the glass of wine for $12 (I’ll need at least 2), plus 20% service charge and the $3 room delivery fee and $5 tip they’ll inevitably linger around waiting for.
28, Take a hot shower in a bathroom with the World’s Greatest Water Pressure. God I love America.
I vow never to return to Paris.
29. Peel off poly-fiber bed covering and slide in bed. Prop myself up with every pillow available in the room, including cushions from the sofa. Turn to HBO and find a late-night show about strippers in the San Fernando Valley. More than one looks like Mariah Carey. Oh wait, that is a Mariah Carey video. Brief and miscellaneous skin shots keep me from flipping channels until I can’t take it anymore and turn it off.
30. 3 am. Try to sleep.
31. 4 am. Realize I can’t sleep.
32. 4:30 am: I need to be up in 2 hours.
33. 4:35 am: Can’t find my last Ambien. Take an Excedrin PM.
34. 5:15 am. Fall asleep.
35. 6:54 am. Wake up.
Realize I have a plane to catch at 9:15 am and I have no idea where I am.
See socks lying on floor by television and spilled bottle of Excedrin PM.
Pull the covers back over my head. Search for remote.