The waiting game

I’ve been thinking a lot about slow moving events lately – things that take unthinkable amounts of time – and trying to imagine what it would be like to sit through these glacial events as a spectator.  Continental drifting, the lifespan of stars, Bush’s presidential terms…

I’ve been doing this because I’m trying to imagine an event that would give the sensation of dragging on more agonizingly slowly than a bored, impulsive guy waiting to hear about his first book deal.

I’m on month number four of this ca-ca.  I’ve never been a patient man, but this exercise in waiting is quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever done – except for that time I researched a Lonely Planet guidebook for Romania and Moldova, in the winter, behind the wheel of a 1990 Dacia 1310.  So all in all, 2006 was not a serene year.  And people ask why I look so beleaguered lately.

My agent Bridget knows I’m suffering extravagantly, but one can only work so fast and so hard on selling a book proposal without getting on an editor’s shitlist, who themselves have about 12 things on their plate at any given moment and probably have to answer to people even more impatient than I am.  I know she’ll contact me the minute anything happens – she has my email address, mobile phone number, my landlord’s home number, the payphone at the corner café, and the coordinates of the Morse Code relay station in the hills outside of town, just for luck – but I’ve reached that desperate, clingy stage where any contact from my agent, even if it’s just to say “No, nothing has happened in the past 37 minutes”, satisfactorily pacifies me.  By the way, I love throwing the phrase “my agent” into casual conversation .  It’s even better than saying “my attorney” and “my physical trainer”, though I’ve decided that “my publicist” is probably the ultimate.  I’d give anything to use “my harem”, but unfortunately that no longer seems to be PC.  Stupid Microsoft.

However, I haven’t succeeded in programming Bridget into zapping off spontaneous emails to me once or twice a week to give me a status report, even if nothing has happened, in order to satisfy the bare minimum of appeasement that I require to get through the weekend.  So to get my fix, I have to email her first.  But I feel like a big, high maintenance baby doing this all the time, so in order to cover for my bleating status requests, I try to spice up each email with some kind of amusement for her benefit.  Here’s a recent missive:

Well, it’s been a big week here in Italy.  I met and fell in love with an opera star.  It wasn’t love at first sight – she weighs 450 pounds – but it turns out that it actually is what’s inside that counts.  Sometimes you just have to look really hard, or in her case, order a battery of high-intensity x-rays.  Anyway, it’s been wonderful.  I’m helplessly drawn to her, as if she was a force of nature.  In fact, her bountiful mass does generate an unusually strong gravitational pull for a human; you just have to be extra careful around her with beverages, is all.
Her name is Margarita Gigante and unless something more appealing comes along, I’ve decided to go on tour with her as her roadie.  Hauling that trunk of muumuus is a three man job and I’ll need to get my forklift license.
So, no pressure, but my run as a writer will inexorably close if there’s no book deal by January 12th, when we depart on the “Il Tour di Quando Mangiamo” (The When Do We Eat Tour).

See how I kindly provided entertainment for three paragraphs before asking for my pacification?  That’s the kind of guy I am.  Selfless.  Generous.  Godless.  Fragrant.  Bootylicious.  Effectively, perfect in every way. 

I realize that Bridget probably has about ten other people on the hook who are also waiting to hear about their first book deals and can’t be expected to send me regular updates and good news, once or twice week, even if she has to lie, which I wholeheartedly encourage her to do.  In fact, it appears that she doesn’t even have time to read this blog all that often anymore.  However, I’ve been informed that there’s a 17 year old intern at Bridget’s office that thinks I’m the bee’s knees and so I would like to take this opportunity to encourage that intern to be my cheerleader on the inside.  Regularly talking about me, asking about progress on the proposal, reminiscing about funny stuff I’ve written, whisper-chanting my name into Bridget’s ear during her naps and, above all else, whenyouturneighteendumpyourboyfriendandcallme.  Ahem.

So here’s to hoping that 2007 will bring me luck in the publishing world and that several hundred thousand girls are inspired to ask for travel books on their 18th birthdays.