This is the third time it’s happened, and it pisses me off. There are eight empty six-person tables at the Pasadena Public Library, and he sits directly across from me. Unarticulated library protocol is that if you must share a table, you fill the empty lane, so to speak—sit on the opposite end chair as the other person. Never the middle, and never, never do you sit directly across from someone—leaning forward so that the book you’re reading brushes her computer, your long nails picking through pages without reading them while she shifts uncomfortably and tries to continue working, your greasy hair falling into your eyes as you steal glances at her.
The first time, I had turned up my music, changed the angle of my computer, and powered through it. The second I had waited an appropriate half an hour before I got coffee and changed tables. This time, the culprit—a young man wearing a leather motorcycle jacket and leather pants—sat down across from me, squeaking and shifting in his stiff animal skin attire, squish squish creak squish, creak creak. Seriously?
So, I packed up my papers and water bottles, threw away my empty coffee cup, and relocated myself to a table across the room. It was incredibly rude of me. Seriously, though, today is not a day I felt like pushing through, like blocking him out, when I’m already dealing with enough blocks to writing. What is the threshold of behavior that makes it okay to be inexcusably rude? I don’t think I allow myself to be rude enough when I’m uncomfortable. Although, perhaps rude–negative connotations abounding–is not the correct word here.
Perhaps my patience is not what it should be, and perhaps the fourth day of rain is wearing on me. (And so I wonder how on earth I’m suggesting relocating to another climate—a Midwestern or Minnesotan climate—when four days of rain makes me moody and mopey.) Perhaps it is also because I took a day trip to northern California yesterday to meet with a very nice editor and the whole thing just wearied me… physically and directionally. After a day splashing around Berkeley blocks and public transportation in the constant rain and occasional downpour—thank you Mom for letting me borrow your oh-so fashionable Wellington rainboots—well, I’m pooped. As it turns out, the idea of flying to Berkeley for the day—how very business traveler of me, how very adult—is very different than the execution. The idea: up early with the corporate folk, drinking coffee in the airport together, dressed in our business best; then an organic lunch with the hippie college students; then a stroll down to the bay and an informational interview with an acquisitions editor—sign me up, Southwest: you airline you, with your ridiculously low fares and delicious honey roasted peanuts!
Well, all of these things happened, just soggier, colder, and more suggestive that, after all, it may not, be feasible to make a living as a travel writer. Not yet, at least. And not ever, I wonder. Or at least not if I want to actually travel. What with “the internet” and the ease with which it connects people to the people they’re looking for, I learned that many companies prefer to hire “travel” writers who live in the destination they want to publish a book on.
I need to focus my area of expertise. (Hell, I need to find an area of expertise). I need to be more strategic in how I market myself and what I chose to write. For, after all, to paraphrase a quote I just stumbled across: I can do [write] anything–I just can’t do [write] everything. I need to be the only person that could write a specific article, guidebook, memoir. Whatever. And, I should build an online presence for myself. Write a blog that’s a resource for blank.
So—I spent the day mournfully looking at the rain and pondering ideas to fill in the blank. And, it is perhaps unnecessary and redundant to say—I’m feeling overwhelmed.