A tease from Washington DC

You are never gonna guess where I am right now. Bonus smartass creativity points for anyone who thought “The Home for Disturbed Travel Writers with Bad Breath? Finally?”

In truth, at this moment, I am technically in Arlington, Virginia, but for the past three days I have been crisscrossing my nation’s capital on almost no sleep, suffering the worst jetlag of my entire life and trying not to stare at the abundance of very attractive college coeds, that seem to spend their entire days jogging around town in those teeny, skin tight track-and-field brief-shorts.

Travel writing is a funny business. Things sometimes happen at an agonizingly slow pace (like paycheck delivery), other times they happen so fast as to breach the stoutest of urethras. Flash back to last Thursday.

It was a typical morning. Ten hours of editing ahead of me and I was kicking off my standard blur-of-motion, multi-tasking morning routine with military precision.

It’s quite a show actually. What I do is leap out of bed (the leap is critical), take one giant step and I’m in the bathroom where I shave, eat a B-complex vitamin, plug in contact lenses, and, erm, other stuff, often all at the same time. Six more steps and I’m in the kitchen, where I throw open all the doors and windows, make a coffee in the cute little one-cup, brewing whatits that every European home has, while chugging a water-soluble multi-vitamin. Then I drink my coffee and brew a second while inhaling two bananas and an apple. After I drink the second coffee, I get to work. While the kitchen routine is being executed – and on special occasions during the bathroom routine as well – the morning’s email is downloaded and read and sometimes answered.

It was during the second coffee brewing/banana eating stage that I read an eye-popping email requesting my presence in Washington DC immediately.

My banana snapped in half and fell on the floor, my coffee burned and my bladder evacuated itself. Some 36 frenzied hours later my itinerary was emailed to me and on Monday I was on a train to Rome to catch a Tuesday morning flight to Reagan International Airport.

So why am I in DC? That’s a very good question and believe me the answer is so effing inconceivable that it’s caused me to lose massive amounts of sleep this week. But I’m gonna be a jackhole and not tell you on account of the Jinx Factor – it’s just too great. I have a long and storied history of tempting the Jinx Factor and paying for it dearly. I compulsively blab about awesome opportunities before they actually happen and when God gets a load of this, he goes “I am so gonna bugger that little over-confident bastard”.

And then I go “Who me?”

And God goes “Yes, you, you @$%&*#ing, badly dressed, grammar-challenged heathen.”

And then I go “But I’m so cute.”

And then God goes “Cute my virtuous ass. Haven’t you ever heard of a nose hair trimmer?” And then he snatches the prize away before I can think of a witty retort.

Example: Remember how I got a literary agent last summer and we crafted the greatest book proposal in modern history for my memoirs? Well, eight months later I’ve almost had a book deal like four times, including two agonizing runs with the same sadistic publisher. I couldn’t keep my yap shut about it and therefore I was denied.

Vengeful God, 783; atheist travel writer, zero.

And really, I’ve already said too much. I should have just posted more complaining about editing guidebooks with precarious internet service, pretending that I was still in my lake-side hermitage in Umbria, a good four kilometers (uphill) away from the nearest wine shop like nothing happened. In fact let’s just go with that:

Hey all, I’m still just editing like a miserable dog in my village that doesn’t even sell bread, miles from the nearest train station or even a native English speaker. I’d love to chat, but I gotta go drink 12 cups of coffee and write sarcastic stuff about saints, while waiting for the slowest internet connection in the free world to open Thesaurus.com so I can look up a superlative more evocative than ‘great’. Ta!