I’ve been at my mid-life crisis career for almost 18 months. Time is flying (flight attendant humor). I have had incredible opportunities in cities large and small. I’ve eaten delicious food, viewed innovative artworks, attended moving theater, and heard memorable music. I have a vast library of cell phone photos documenting my explorations and perusing through the collection today I started laughing at the above pic and dubbed it a favorite. I was in San Francisco with a little bit of time having finished work early. I rode Cal-Train into the city as BART was on strike. Made my way to the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) because lucky for me some of Margaret Kilgallen’s work was on display as part of the Energy That is All Around exhibit. I witnessed the Diego Rivera mural at the school. I walked the streets of North Beach at dusk and enjoyed dinner at Coppola’s Café Zoetrope (tucked in a cozy copper clad building) My waiter was Ryan Darley, a young man attending SFIA who I have known since he was three. I was satisfied that the night was full, but… there was a flyer announcing a literary crawl with authors of all genres reading their works at various venues across the streets of San Francisco. Well, TC Boyle’s name (T. Coraghessan to be exact) caught my eye and his reading would begin minutes from the moment of my noticing. I jumped in a cab and sped to some part of town called the Tenderloin or was it the Castro? The details escape me, but an urban adventure was unfolding.
I read The Tortilla Curtain years ago as part of my first book club. It was also one of the first time I had read someone contemporary who wove together a tangled tale of complexity, of many right answers and equally as many convoluted wrong turns. He was intellectual and clever, dark and sarcastic, humanist and caring. I’ve read several of his books since then. He gets environmental, he gets political, he gets human nature, he gets humor, he gets the shadows that exist in all our lives.
The reading was great. I admired the talent that can tell a tale so smartly. Afterwards I had him sign my book. He is tall and thin with wild hair and a seemingly wild side (he is a longtime married family man). I never know what to say when I meet ‘famous’ people. Oh, I have a whole list of blunders I’ve made. He started the conversation, “I dig your jacket.” I finished it, “I dig your books.”
Then when I looked back at the images captured that night I laughed again. We look like we are up to no good… trying to hide a shared illicit moment. The background at the art studio just contributes to the atmosphere. There are sequined mushrooms on my blouse, and a question asked… something about my morels.