I spend a lot of time on the road. Festivals, talks, book signings. I always bring a cooler with my meals. I also bring a microwave. Yes, you read that correctly. I travel with a small microwave and bring it into my motel/hotel rooms to cook my dinner that I've brought from home.
Sometimes in the morning, I venture to the "House Breakfast" room to consider an alternative to my mostly-coffee, in-room meal. Hotel breakfast meals are usually sugary muffins or sugary cereals with a choice of banana or orange. There is also what I call the "Outer Space Eggs" box. This is a plexi-glass cabinet. Inside are usually three trays. One has piles of sausage patties, and one has piles of bacon. The third has yellow, folded, half circles of spongy rubber material. Think yellow Frisbee heated up until it can be folded in half. And squirted into the folded Frisbee is a kind of milky, orange, polyurethane material that is a fourth cousin to imitation cheese sauce and served at four degrees above room temperature.
Please know that I appreciate that hotels provide food-like items. And I especially appreciate the efforts of the people who do the work of preparing and displaying the food. They do what they're told and work with what they're given. And after the groggy-eyed customers have attempted eating, the workers clean up the mess.
But Outer Space Eggs are to real eggs like colored water is to Scotch - a prop for a stage play that even a desperate actor wouldn't actually consume, a prop that the audience knows is a folded, yellow Frisbee.
Writing is the best job in the world. But even the best jobs have a downside.
Outer Space Eggs.