Now I realize that may not sound like a big deal. But here's the thing about being on chemo, at least for me. On the rare occasions when you actually feel like eating something, it's usually a very particular thing. And if you can't get that particular thing, it's more upsetting than usual, because in that moment, nothing else sounds good.
But there wasn't much I could do in this case. So I left the restaurant and drove around aimlessly until I stopped wanting the omelette and started wanting a sandwich.
I won't even go into the harrowing details of my sandwich search. Suffice to say I went to three different places, and came up empty-handed every time. At one place the sandwich-making person was going way too slow with the person in front of me. at another everything was too expensive and the atmosphere was all wrong, and at the third they didn't take credit cards and I had no cash. I finally ended up going to Goldstein's for a bagel sandwich, which was not at all the kind of sandwich I wanted, and which I didn't like when I finally ate it.
I was very cranky after that.
Thankfully, I was in a much better mood on Sunday, so when I went with a couple friends to the LA Times Festival of Books at UCLA, I actually had a great time wandering among the seemingly endless array of booths (booksellers, writing societies, small presses, Scientologists, etc), and attending a couple of panels. I'd hoped to make an early-morning panel featuring author Uwem Akpan (Say You're One Of Them) among others. but unfortunately we arrived late and couldn't get in. So we went to the food court to get some lunch instead, where I paid way too much for the worst chicken teriyaki bowl I've ever had in my life (a friend called it teriyucky).
After that we went to another panel about the "Poetry of Engagement", which was more interesting than it sounds, particularly when a woman in the audience who everyone thought had a question for one of the panelists turned out to have more of an almost-rant about the environment (when she turned to the audience and asked who still used plastic bags at the grocery store, I wanted so badly to raise my hand, just to see if she would yell at a cancer patient about killing the earth, but I didn't).
Later, we tried to get into Jane Smiley's interview of S.E. Hinton, but alas, it was a packed house. So we roamed around for a while until it was time for a fiction panel called, for no discernible reason, "Closing Time". You'd think they'd have had some beers or something for everybody, with a title like that. but no. More's the pity. Still, it was entertaining. My favorite bit was when author Wells Tower was talking about revision, and said that at first people think of revision as being the clean-up after the party (the party being the initial act of writing). Then as you get more experienced, you start to think that revision is the party. But after a while you recognize the truth – that actually there is no party, it's all just a lot of hard work. I laughed at that, because a) he said it a lot funnier than I just did, and b) it really sums up how I feel about writing most of the time, but especially lately, and I was glad to know I'm not alone.