That bastard, Armistead Maupin.
I can’t remember the last time I was so wrecked with anticipation and ups and downs and twists and turns by anything, much less something that’s not a thriller nor mystery nor adventure. I can’t remember the last time I finished a book, either, but that has nothing to do with anything here.
Things I learned:
- When San Francisco pounces on you, it’s both a gift and a trick: She thinks they’re the same thing
- Sometimes twenty years out of contact with a friend isn’t wasted time, it’s just necessary
- No matter how I end up dying—slowly and expectedly or swiftly and without warning—I will be surprised by it when it does come
- No matter how others end up dying, no matter when they died, I will always be surprised when I learn of it
- Explaining individual behavior in terms of group dynamics isn’t a justification, it’s a rationalization
- Fact and fiction are not as arbitrary nor well-delimited in the mind as they are in reality
- History only repeats itself from 10,000 ft
- Aging, for me, is mainly the ever decreasing ability to carry forward all I ever was towards whatever I am becoming
- San Francisco: people die, the earth shakes, lives are tossed in the tumult, but the center still holds
This is not to say that I haven’t learned anything from the first part of the book, but only “bitch stole my Flying Dutchman!” sticks in my head. It was my reaction to his description of Sutro Tower in the fog, strongly familiar to my own description of it. I wrote down for the first time almost two years ago, but I’d kept it in my head for years prior. I kid Armistead (but seriously, what’s up with that?).
Going from third person limited to first person singular was a bit jarring when I first started reading what I did (and still do) regard as the seventh Tales of the City book, for better or worse, but there’s a meta-effect to it which brings contrast to the past versus now, and age 29 versus 43. Intentional or not, agreeable to the author or not, it primes a canvas he has been painting off and on for over 30 years.
<br/> When I finished the last page of the book, I closed it, cried a moment and turned on the TV, where Lindsay Wagner was hawking mattresses. I laughed.