Sometimes you're the windshield; sometimes you're the bug. And sometimes you wind up inadvertantly recreating that scene in Spinal Tap where the band plays an Air Force base, right underneath the flight path of fighter jets, and can't hear a single chord.

So it went today. I drove two hours for a reading and signing with the Junior League of Morristown, NJ, in the National Guard Armory, at a big "Home for the Holidays" event where there's all kinds of great stuff for sale, and an author's luncheon, which was where I came in. The crowd was wonderfully receptive. The women at my table seemed happy to chat. But due to the acoustics of the cavernous building, the churning sound of some kind of heating system overhead, and the persistent drone of Christmas carols, not only could I not hear myself think -- and granted, I probably wasn't missing much -- but I couldn't hear myself read. And trying to decipher the questions from the audience turned into an exercise in lip reading.

Ah well. These things happen. Nobody ever said it would be easy. Mama said there'd be days like this. They never promised me a rose garden. Et cetera.

Meanwhile, am I the only one who's surprised to find that Dave Eggers is selling his novel on Eggers-heads will remember that he promised that the marketing for the book was going to be an exercise in grassroots marketing, where he'd shun the big chains and sell only at a hundred hand-selected independent bookstores. If folks wanted to buy the book online, well, they could just surf on over to the McSweeney's website. Only now they can also get it at Amazon. So does that mean the experiment was a failure....or that Eggers wants to have his indie-cred alternacake and rack up big sales, too? (Also, if you read the whole McSweeney's piece, you will notice that El Eggers has started referring to himself in the first person plural. Yes, the dread royal we!)