When I was in my early 20’s, I was a secretary at a disreputable art school in San Francisco. I supported the Graphic, Advertising, and Computer Design departments. I moved between departments during the day and tried to look industrious. My favorite boss was the Graphic Design director. He had previously worked at a design school in Pasadena and felt he was too good for the place (spoiler: he was right). He was known to be difficult, and frequently was in a fit of pique. His office and style of dress were both immaculate; he couldn’t bear clutter. He was demanding with his students. This is back in the day when all design students learned hand-drawn typography, and if a serif was out of place he would dramatically fling his arms to the heavens as if he could not believe someone would insult him with such shoddy work. He played favorites, and for some mysterious reason I was one of them. He loved me, although my style could best be described as New York Trollop and my nasal NY accent was grating on a good day. I was a great assistant though, which wasn’t hard when all he required was that I listen to his rants and keep my desk neat.
I was much less fond of the Advertising Design director. He was an old fashioned sexist who thought nothing of ordering me to make coffee whenever he had a guest. He had a tendency to leer and the department was a wreck. It was the exact opposite of the Graphic Design department, paper and magazines cluttered every inch of the office. There was an old Mac that you practically had to hit like a broken TV to get it to work. I saw my main function as taking a plow to the godawful mess.
In one of the department offices there were piles and piles of old California magazines scattered all over the floor. I was left to my own devices most of the time, so I would read the magazines as I cleaned up the room. My favorite feature was Anne Lamott’s restaurant reviews. They were unlike any food reviews I had ever read. She would recount long, tangential conversations that she and her friends had over meals, the food an afterthought, or tell a story about the time she was pregnant and crying as she waited for her friends to show up at the restaurant. Her stories were often disconnected from the point of the review.
Between the Dark and the Daylight is a serviceable mystery anthology that I enjoyed.