TAoD tour day…?

Okay, so here’e2’80’99s a day.

2:00 am: Nashville hotel. Young neighbors come in, party an hour, maybe more.
4:45 am: Other neighbor’e2’80’99s radio alarm begins to play. Neighbor sleeps, LRK wakes, realizes that her own alarm clock (set for 5:30) has stopped.
7:00 meets driver for ride to airport to catch 9:00 flight, trip takes 10 minutes. Look for Starbucks to spend gift card nice reader has given me the night before: no Starbuck’e2’80’99s.
9:00: Flight takes off.
9:02: Child across the aisle begins to scream.
9:03: Child in front climbs up onto seat back and sticks finger in air blower, experimenting with loud and satisfying noise. Alternates with pushing the button to call the flight attendant for the next four hours.
9:04: Child across the aisle and back one row begins naturalist experiment of elephant noise, alternates with brother (next seat) looking out window and shouting ‘e2’80’9cOh my God!’e2’80’9d for next four hours.
11:00 Pacific Time (1:00 Tennessee time) plane arrives. LRK falls to the ground and kisses it, sprints to keep ahead of forty three children on her flight, looks for drink, finds none.
11:45: LRK’e2’80’99s bag finally comes off the carousel, after all but three of the families with children, although LRK could easily have carried it on but didn’e2’80’99t because she wants to be polite to the others using the overhead compartments. LRK swears she will never be polite again.
11:46: Ken Wilson, escort extraordinaire, catches LRK on his third circuit through pickup area. LRK seizes KW’e2’80’99s lapels and swears that if any child in her vicinity begins to cry, she will pick up said child and shake it. Expresses wish for drink and gets into car. KW laughs politely and drives to Thousand Oaks.
12:20: LRK finishes signing books and chatting to nice Mysteries to Die For lady, gets into car, expresses wish for drink. KW laughs again, offers tuna sandwich at local caf’c3’a9. LRK obediently eats tuna sandwich and odd iced tea with elderberry(?)
1:00-4:00: KW manoeuvres traffic while talking on phone and making witty conversation with LRK, takes her to Mysterious Books and Borders, where LRK meets many booksellers and fortunately no loud children, shakes hands and expresses appreciation that booksellers continue to sell books, signs stock, gets back in car. Again, no children; again, no drink.
4:20: LRK returns call on cell phone from agent, learns that blah blah something buzz in ears contracts maybe? And that The Art of Detection debuts at number 30 on the NYT list. Call other agents, Hollywood variety (having played phone tag all afternoon) and tell them, cut off twice by the company with the fewest dropped calls.
4:40: KW pulls into parking lot for Book ‘e2’80’98Em mysteries, long-time LRK supporters; signing, conversation, discussion of books read: agreements, disagreements, no drink.
5:15: Find apartment of Hour Twenty-Five radio program friends Warren and Suzanne, talk about writing and Sherlock Holmes for an hour.
6:30: Scurry into Warren and Suzanne’e2’80’99s bathroom to change out of wrinkled trousers and brush hair, drive to evening event at Vroman’e2’80’99s.
7:00-8:30: Vroman’e2’80’99s event. Familiar faces, friendly greeting and intelligent questions, reminder of why I do these things. Sell books, sign stock, shake hands.
9:20: Arrive at fancy hotel, leave bag in car, drop things across lobby filled with glamorous people who clearly have not been traveling all day. Stump up to room, hugely grateful that electronic key works and door opens. Drop things onto elegant purple velvet fainting couch next to bed that could easily sleep a family of four, open minibar located under flat-screen television the size of a bathtub, find non-lite Heineken in the very back of the minibar, open.
9:34: Call room service, ask for tortilla soup and green salad.
9:35: Turn on laptop, write blog. Drink beer. Aah.
9:50: LRK finishes blog, plugs in high-speed wireless connection. Connection fails.
10:00: Dinner arrives. Nice gent in white sets up cart in front of bathtub-sized television, chats, leaves. LRK sits down to fragrant soup, turns on plasma television. Plasma television does not go on.
10:26: LRK finishes nice dinner in front of dark television, considers sitting on edge of marble bath to watch smaller television in bathroom, instead decided to use dialup connection and complete virtue of day by sending off blog.
11:00: LRK brushes teeth, thinks about sitting on edge of bath to watch what feeble memory thinks is a second session of John Stewart eviscerating Wm. Bennett, decides she is mistaken and anyway if she fell asleep on the marble bath she would bash her brains out, and goes to bed.
7:30 am Thursday: car arrives to take LRK to airport.

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  1. Vicki Larson on June 8, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    Well. You certainly had a barrel of laughs. Why were there so many children on your flight? Holy Cow. I sncerely hope some of the other flights will be better. I can only comment on your day with a fine old Minnesota remark: Oofta!

  2. kait b roe on June 8, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    well, the high life of a famous author! makes me begin to wonder… do I really want to publish? Maybe I would rather stay sober.

    or as they say in Maine, Ayuh.

  3. Patricia Mathews on June 8, 2006 at 1:16 pm

    You can get tortilla soup in Nashville? Small world!

    Oh. By then you’re back in Ecotopia. My bad. Pity – an account of Our Food in the heart of Country couontry would have been interesting.

    Pity about the little monsters. Where were the parents?

  4. Anonymous on June 8, 2006 at 1:44 pm

    I’m sorry for your pain, but your description of it had me laughing aloud in my office, making my co-workers wonder what was wrong with me.

    If we ever meet up, I’ll buy you that drink you deserved.

  5. bani on June 8, 2006 at 2:03 pm

    Permit me an Internet acronym: ROFL! You poor thing. But such dedication to us, your blogreaders! I for one am grateful.

    I thought the iced tea sounded yum though. Then elderflower (normally flower, not berry actually) drinks are a big Swedish thang, ya know.

  6. Elisa on June 8, 2006 at 2:37 pm

    Ah, the reality (as opposed to romance) of air travel. I once did a flight back from Bangkok that was similar. And lived. Just. I hope you find that coffee.

  7. Anonymous on June 8, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    I promise if you can ever make it to the wilds of New Jersey (or even Philadelphia – much more manageable than NYC)I’ll not only buy you a drink, I’ll bring your very own bottle of wine to your earliest signing, complete with corkscrew and glass.

    For the sanity and love of your readers, please soldier on!

    (I’ll even duct tape my children’s mouths if necessary!)

    Loved Art of Detection, now have to go and read Locked Rooms for the third or fourth time.


  8. beadtific on June 8, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    Oh. Oh my. As a former travel professional (note the word former) I highly recommend;

    1) Earplugs. Soft squishy ones.
    2) One of those neck pillow thingies to sleep with on plane
    3) Upgrading to first whenever possible. Totally worth it.

    Once I had a transatlantic flight next to a squirmy two-year old who managed to get green peas and white sauce in my hair, all with one casual flick of a fork. Before I had a chance to start picking them out, she helpfully mashed some of them against my head in an abortive attempt to be helpful. By the way, my hair is blonde, so the contrast was quite nice.

    Enjoy being home and safe! (At least I hope you’re home and safe.)

    And wow, wasn’t that Jon Stewart/Bill Bennett interview awesome?? My husband and I watched it three times, gleefully. Mua hahaha.

  9. mrsatroxi on June 8, 2006 at 7:49 pm

    Reminds me of every trip I’ve ever made to Wal-Mart.

    I always want a drink after that, too.

    I wish I could’ve traveled to see you. (Although I doubt I would’ve had the guts to actually meet you. Just, you know, lurk. In a nice way.)

  10. 2maple on June 8, 2006 at 8:16 pm

    Sometimes I think that all the bad things pile up at once in some sort of great cosmic practical joke! (Getting back at you for that crack about air travel having lost all it’e2’80’99s romance perhaps) After a glass of anti-whine and writng it all out, it still sounds like you haven’e2’80’99t lost your sanity or your sense of humor’e2’80’a6good for you!

    I never check bags if it’e2’80’99s a reasonable carry on size unless I have a lot of connections ‘e2’80’a6you shouldn’e2’80’99t feel guilty about it’e2’80’a6that’e2’80’99s what the bins are there for and the hassles aren’e2’80’99t worth it!…I guess past headaches have turned me into a bit of a defensive traveler. C’est la guerre!

  11. KB on June 9, 2006 at 12:29 am

    Please name drink of choice. Stop. Will arrive with said drink Monday in Seattle. Stop. Bless you for surviving. Stop. Bless minibars. Stop.


  12. Chris on June 9, 2006 at 3:03 am

    Well, you are really having a time of it! I hope that it the tour is a big success for you – it should be!

    I have removed myself from Edinburgh and am now in San Francisco – glorious weather! And yes, as I thought, I was straight into the nearest store to buy TAOD, which I am now several chapters into, and loving completely. And it is an autographed copy! A consolation prize for missing the event at Stacey’s next week.

    Havea wonderful ‘rest of tour’ and a relaxing and peaceful return home.

    Best wishes

  13. Anonymous on June 9, 2006 at 6:46 am

    Dear Laurie, oooomigawd. Yes, that was me there at Vroman’s, same Meredith. Had I but known, I would have brought you a flask. You were perfectly articulate, but did seem a little tired. In light of the day, remaining conscious was an accomplishment. Incidentally, I also love TAoD, as much as my family of readers does. wishing you a more mellow rest-of-tour.–Meredith T.

  14. Anonymous on June 9, 2006 at 12:16 pm

    ROTFL here as well. Thanks for the insider’s look at the life of a glamorous, successful author on tour.


  15. Anonymous on June 9, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    I’m not sure why this was funny, but I, like another poster, was laughing out loud. The whole thing sounds utterly grim, apart from the readings. Hang in there.

  16. Anonymous on June 9, 2006 at 8:27 pm

    Oh, you poor thing! There should be a kid’s section on airplanes and let’s see just how quickly it turns to Lord of the Flies time then. And I have to echo Patricia: Where were the parents? Honestly …

    Congratulations on surviving the day and thank you for mentioning Vroman’s! I used to practically live there before I moved to London and you brought a lot of fond memories back for me.

    I hope the rest of your tour is much less eventful!


  17. Ellen C on June 9, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    Wow. That’s a lot of children on planes. I’d like to pretend my own child is angelic whilst in transit, but I’m afraid I can’t do it with any degree of versimilitude.

    I met you today at a library in Phoenix, and I just wanted to say thanks for answering all my questions. I’ve reported in to my sister, and she was satisfied with my efforts on her behalf. You mentioned the possibility of sending Russell to Paris at some point, and I hope that you find a chance to do it.

  18. Carol on June 19, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    I love all these Russell books and hate to nitpick but in LOCKED ROOMS it should have read Augean stables not Aegean stables. Did anyone else pick up on this???

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