Saturday, May 14, 2005

8 Days on the road to hell and heartland

For the last eight days, I've been in every flea ridden, cheap motel room you can imagine. The kind of rooms where the glasses, plastic, in the bathroom have spots on them even before you take them out of the plastic. My husband Thomas Friedman's latest book isn't doing as well as it should be doing or as well as he expected it to be doing. So we've gone from one city to another, with him doing multiple signings in each city. The crowds have been rather sparse. In fact, only my husband Thomas Friedman refers to them as "crowds."

I refer them to as "couples" and the occasional "threesome." Or rather I did until I noticed how the latter got Thomas Friedman's bushy eyebrows wagging. As if his libido needs any more excitement right now. Most night's it's like he's snorting or mainlining Viagra. I don't mind all that much, the five to six minutes give me a period to reflect and organize my plans for the next day. Right about the time that he's crying out, "Gut check time!" I've finished my personal inventory.

But the "neighbors" are far less than tolerant than I am. It was the rare night that management didn't ring up the room to ask us to hold it down. Thomas Friedman would get off the phone and lecture me about the noise level. I have no idea why, I'm not even bothering to fake moans of late. And I'm certainly not the one repeating, "Mommy! Mommy! Oh Mommy!" a half dozen times before finishing with the hollered cry of "Gut check time!"

But I'm grasping that Thomas Friedman, besides being hugely jealous of the actress who is outselling him, is also not one to grab the blame. One might even suggest that he's one to push the blame off on others.

I don't know what's up with me lately. I ran out of vitamins on the second day. I attempted to get the bottle refilled at a local pharmacy but Thomas Friedman freaked. I guess the world can not know that Thomas Friedman's wife has a vitamin deficiency? So I attempted to up my vitamin C intake via gallons of orange juice and fresh lemons but for whatever reason, they did not induce the calm, pleasing feeling I've grown so used to.

I've been "a nasty little insurgent" during this time period according to Thomas Friedman. For instance, at a book signing at one store, I was flipping through this amazing book entitled Stop The Next War Now and that alone ticked off Thomas Friedman because I was seated right next to him at the table. Probably also ticked him off because when he was inscribing one book, the woman who was purchasing it told him he was the finest author and that his books were the best. I asked her, "Have you read this book by CodePink?"

Oh, did that make him mad.

Then Sunday he said to me, "Betinna, how about we do like the locals in this backwater town and go to the movies." I think we were in San Francisco and I believe it's a coastal city but whatever. Thomas Friedman was ranting and raving as he looked at the movie posters about how the quality films were no more and how he'd give anything for "one more good Steven Segal flick" when I saw there was a movie having a sneak preview. I went to buy the tickets to it because Thomas Friedman is convinced that he'd be recognized and mobbed if was in line for tickets. He may have been right because there was this one guy in the parking lot who kept pestering him with, "Aren't you?" but unless he's changed his name to John Bolton, I don't believe my husband Thomas Friedman was recognized.

So we go into the theater and Thomas Friedman says he's sure whatever we'll see will be mildly amusing in a sophomoric manner and offering his opinion of low brow comedies when the man from the parking lot yells out, "Hey, John Bolton! Pipe down! I'm trying to watch the trailers!"
Thomas Friedman's face went bright red and he assured me how lucky for that man it was that I was present because otherwise it would be "fist 'a cuffs."

"John Bolton, I ain't kidding! I'll kick your loud ass if you don't shut it!" yelled out the man as Thomas Friedman relaxed, to the point of shrinking, in his chair.

The credits came up and I don't think Thomas Friedman was paying attention to the movie until Jane Fonda, I'm sorry, "the actress." Thomas Friedman has forbidden me from ever mentioning her name. The actress walks on to the screen. Thomas Friedman starts hissing and booing and whispering things like, "Go write another workout book!" I'm missing most of the dialogue and trying to figure out what was said because everyone in the theater is laughing like crazy. I look over to Thomas Friedman and see that the man from the parking lot has him dangling in the air, holding him by the back of his shirt collar and advising him, "I've had enough of your crap, John Bolton! Either you shut it or we take it outside!"

The rest of the movie, Thomas Friedman didn't say another word. And Monster-in-Law was so funny that I laughed along with everyone else and didn't even really mind the smell of pee emenating from my husband Thomas Friedman. Maybe I've grown accustomed to it from the times when I have to wear the Peggy Noonan mask and he plays William Safire as I diaper him?
I am not sure. But it was a great movie. And I kept pointing that out as we left the theater.

Thomas Friedman pouted all night. Even when I offered to play Bill Keller and kiss his ass, he didn't really get into it.

That was basically life on the road. We ate at one McDonalds after another. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. I found out that the culinary efforts of Ronald McDonald make my husband Thomas Friedman rather gassy. Between bowel explosions, he explained that "is often a by product of fine cuisine."

Thing got nasty in Seattle where one young male at a bookstore called him "a decaying waste of flesh and mind." Thomas Friedman said the young man was a rabble rouser. I don't know about that but the ten-year-old did look rather sharp in his Boy Scouts uniform and certainly had a great vocabulary for his age.

I told him that he should work that into a column, about how smart the youth of today was. Thomas Friedman did not like that idea at all and if you saw his Friday column in print, you know that he attacked the youth of today as behind every other nation in the world. Thomas Friedman can really hold a grudge.

As we pulled out of the last town yesterday and headed towards home in "Pixie" (the name Thomas Friedman has given to the vintange automobile he bought for our road trip) (did I mention it was a Pinto hatchback?), Thomas Friedman reflected, "I have spent eight days on the road to hell and heartland!"

If he hadn't kept sobbing, I might have reminded him that "we" had spent eight day. But when he finally did stop crying, it was only to pull over and make me drive for the next twelve hours straight.

It was not a pleasant journey. We got home about, finally, about an hour ago. Thomas Friedman told me to "climb the walls" until the sun comes out and then he will go get me more prescribed vitamins. He also made a joke I did not understand. Something about it was too bad we were not in Florida because then he could have just borrowed from Rush. Who is this Rush?