I never sleep well the night before I travel. Even though I set my alarm clock, and the back-up alarm on my cell phone just to be sure, I always sleep fitfully and awaken at least an hour early. Such was the case on Wednesday when I was out of bed two full hours before the taxi was scheduled to pick me up and take me to the airport. Plenty of time to shower, shave, have some breakfast and, most importantly, upload an extra early blog entry. The dogs sensed something was up, especially my eldest pug, Jelly, who followed me around, from room to room, despite her hip dysplasia and arthritic shoulders. As I dropped by carry-on bag next to the front door, she stood in the hall giving me that “You’re not leaving without me, are you?” look.
Alas, on this day, my traveling companion would not be Jelly but my writing partner Paul. We were headed cross-country to pitch our take on a scifi novel were hired to develop for television, essentially our plan for a potential t.v. series that included a series overview, character synopses, and story arcs for the first season and beyond. Science fiction is tricky to pitch, especially when you’re talking Hard SF. Sadly, most broadcasters shy away from ship-based shows on the grounds that their appeal is too narrow, preferring instead what they see as more accessible scifi. In other words, more Revolution and Under the Dome and less, well, Stargate. Fortunately for all involved, the project we were pitching, with its near future setting and topical themes, falls into the latter category. Scifi fans – and, apparently, viewers who run screaming at the mere mention of hyperspace and warp engines.
The flight was relatively uneventful. I was wedged in between a heavy set fellow in the aisle seat and septuagenerian by the window who insisted on flossing his teeth at take-off and landing. At one point, he indicated a desire to use the bathroom so my neighbor and I got up to let him through. Some five minutes later, he returned and, rather than wait for us to get up, attempted to squeeze in between us. At one point, he was practically sitting in my lap as he scrambled to negotiate the three inches of space between my knees and the seat in front of us. He eventually got there, but it was touch and go. For a while there, I thought we’d be sharing a seat for the remainder our trip.
Once he’d finally settled back in, I was free to check out the lunch menu. This is what I ordered:
And this is what I received:
We touched down in Toronto some three hours later at approximately 5:30 p.m. local time. I figured the timing was perfect. We’d catch a cab back to the hotel, relax, and then catch a cab to Buca, my favorite restaurant in – well, North America, where we’d be meeting someone for dinner. Two hours. Plenty of time, right?
We waited twenty minutes for a cab and, by the time it wound its way through the congested highway and street, we were checking into our hotel and hour and forty-five minutes later. We hurried up to our rooms, dropped off our luggage, and caught a taxi to Buca where we finally arrived, only ten minutes.
Dinner was fantastic. You’ll have to take my word for it because, sadly, my cell phone battery died as we were seated so I have no photographic proof. We had home made bread with rosemary, olive oil, and sea salt, crispy pig ear, duck egg yolk and truffle bruschetta, two kinds pasta, two types of pizza, and a duck sausage plate. And a tiramisu for dessert – split three ways because, at that point, we were past done. Oh, and I had a couple of Manhattans. By the time I staggered back to my hotel room at just after 11:00 p.m., I was thoroughly exhausted and looking forward to a good night’s rest. Unfortunately, I was still on west coast time so I lay awake in bed for another three hours before finally falling sleep.
I was hoping to sleep in, but no amount of blanket burrowing would shield me from the sunlight that made its way through and around the window blinds, so I was up at 7:30 a.m. But really tired. So I lay in bed for another three hours. I decided to skip breakfast and just help myself to an orange juice from the mini-bar. Well, there was no orange juice in the mini-bar. Or grapefruit juice. Or bottled water. Instead, these were my choices:
We had two pitch meetings, back to back, and both went very well. Or, at least they seemed to go very well. In both meetings, the people we were pitching to took assiduous notes throughout, presumably on the presentation but, in all fairness, they could well have been jotting together their shopping list or seizing the opportunity to work on their novel.
Following a quick post-mortem and late lunch, I caught a cab to the airport where I arrived three hours early for my flight. Akemi texted to inform me that Jelly had, as usual, been acting strangely since I’d left: quiet, moping about, not eating. When I got home, she was back to her old self, barking, bouncing around and begging for treats. According to Akemi, she was completely changed dog. Which is touching, but a little worrisome given that I’ll be going away to Tokyo for two weeks in November.
So, that’s that. Hopefully, we’ll hear good news back from the broadcasters in the coming weeks. In the meantime, it’s full steam ahead on that other project we have in development (big conference call on Monday) and preparations for that Tokyo trip.
What have you all been up to while I was away?