You can see how silly it is to name airports after real people when you substitute your own name for theirs. ‘I was stuck in Colin Cotterill for two hours last night.’ ‘I flew into Colin Cotterill from Eric Stone.’ ‘Colin Cotterill is closed due to heavy rain.’. In fact they sent me to George Bush which, given my relationship with the family, was a cruel twist of fate. It’s way out of Houston and there’s no public transport so the taxi fare could have fed a family of eight for a month down on my gulf. Luckily the driver was Etheopean so it was a bit like donating to Oxfam.
Minotaur put me up in a very swish hotel called Zaza. It’s very dark and the waiting staff parade around in little black dresses. But only the women. It is working a little too hard at appearing ‘hip’ and I’m a firm believer that if ‘hip’ doesn’t come naturally…it isn’t. The ‘do not disturb’ sign says, ‘I’m busy putting on my makeup’. Not funny. Not hip. But it does have a very cool buffalo skull on the front of its shuttle bus. Hip. It’s in the museum district so I am surrounded by potential culture. But first I have to do something about my new elbow. Two days ago my left elbow inflated. It’s as if a new limb is attempting to grow out of it. But at the moment it feels squishy like it’s full of cottage cheese. This morning I headed off to find an upper extremity doctor. This is a medical hub and there are micro-specialists. Ear, nose and throat are three different buildings. The left elbow clinic was recommended to me by a retired doctor who attended our panel last night at Murder By The Book. More of that later.
People don’t walk in Houston. When I mentioned to the concierge that I might stroll down to West Holcome he suggested it was the equivalent of walking to Mexico. i was there in half an hour. But as i neared the clinic I remembered Sicko, the movie, and that people go bankrupt in this country paying medical expenses. I’d left my credit card in the hip hotel safe and I had barely $300 in my pocket. Would it be enough? Would I be turned away because I had exotic medical insurance? Would they laugh at me because people don’t use bank notes any more. Perhaps they wouldn’t know what they were. I was so paranoid by the time I sighted my destination that I turned round and headed home. My elbow will have to wait til I get back to Bangkok. They’ll jab a nail in, drain out the cottage cheese into a bucket and stick a bandaid on it. A dollar fifty.
But I digress. This is all about Murder, the best events bookstore in the country. It was me, Stuart Neville and Jim Benn. Three little authors from Soho are we. Jim’s a really old person so they couldn’t hear him at the back especially beneath the whir of his respirator. Stuart’s Irish so we’re all waiting for the dvd version with subtitles to see what he said. So it was up to me to carry the show and win the audience around as always. McKenna was so pleased, she and her mum took us out for Mexican food afterwards at the Tiempo. I’m told the food was very good. I can vouch for the beer.