To the Philosopher, All News is Gossip
Apologia pro Poemate MeoFri, March 28, 2008 - 7:23 AM
"He said 'I'll love you 'til I die.'
She told him he'd forget in time.
And as the years went slowly by
She still preyed upon his mind
He kept her picture on his wall
And went half-crazy now and then
But he still loved her through it all
Hoping she'd come back again... "
(Braddock & Putman, "He Stopped Loving Her Today")
There is a very big story that we tell ourselves in the west about the power of love and the romantic ideal. From the chivalrous ballads of the medieval romantic period through their successors, the sappy movie, we wish to believe in the eternal power of love and commitment as a counter-balance to betrayal and death. We live and die for a sense of narrative completion and fairy-stories of love are beautiful. Love and literature give us pretty stories, and as a winter sparrow may fly the length of a great feasting hall from one door to another and out again, so are we in our path through the light. From darkness to darkness we have our stories, and it is pretty to think the stories matter. I believe that stories matter, and so I shall tell a few on myself and of a character I shall call Catherine Lynne Carter.
I first met Catherine Lynne Carter in 1994, when I was working as a security guard and she was a first-year student at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon. Cate, as she is now known, had just arrived. A privileged daughter of an alumna, Cate's mother had been Lynne Carter, a biology graduate from 1966. Presumably it was at Reed that Lynne had first been exposed to the carcinogens that would kill her when Cate was ten, so as much as anything, Cate was arriving into grief.
The day I met her though, bright eyes and clear skin, someone had broken into the Toyota truck her father had purchased for her to use at college. Richard Carter was a man whom I only met briefly, but from seeing Cate I can imagine what her mother must have been when he married her so young so long ago. Rich was a smart man, a Vietnam-era veteran, slightly prone to paranoia but very focused on Cate. As a woman, she was unfortunate to have inherited her father's nose, but he had compensated heavily for Lynne's death by doting on Cate, his only living child. I'm not sure entirely what all Rich had done in his professional life, but having worked as some sort of executive at Intel, he had been shown Cate love through home-cooked meals, sending her on trips as a teenager and to the prestigious private prep school in La Jolla, Bishop's Academy, whose most famous alum would become serial killer Andrew Cunanan. With plaid uniforms and field hockey, however, Bishop's had done well by Cate Carter, who was talented and beautiful and as intelligent as most babies can be, given good food, care, and access to education. That afternoon, though, someone had stolen her car stereo.
My official title at Reed College was "community safety officer," which meant I was to patrol campus, tend to locking buildings, watch for damage and keep the low-income riff-raff away from the clientele. A working-class student who had graduated from Reed on scholarship myself, my job was either at the upper end of being a security guard or in the bush leagues of community policing. I loved what I was doing and, had I seen the future, I probably would have stayed for life. It was a beautiful day to be patrolling the Reed campus, and among the many pleasures of my job was that sometimes it brought me into close contact with beautiful young women such as Cate Carter, who would sometimes flirt as I helped them or took a crime report.
Flirting is a very interesting thing among young women, and in retrospect I understand it primarily as a defensive mechanism. Attractive to social predators and unsure of their status, flirting gains them the attention and protection of the powerful. It is a kind of bonding and invitation that they habitually use with almost everyone, appearing more attractive and being more attentive and ostentatiously kind in ways that they shall eventually outgrow. At the time though I just enjoyed the flirting, took Cate's report and made a mental note. Smart and pretty, I would look forward to seeing her around over the next four years. How little did I appreciate how that would work out...
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|And you're going to tell us more, right? I hope so! Thank you, and take good care of yourself! ~ Misha|
Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.Yes. It is from a book project I've been thinking about and avoiding for the past few years. I hope never to complete it, but the time has come to start. I'm looking forward to finding out what the ending is! I have definitely lived in interesting times...
|Wait, are you thinking of writing a book? I was writing this morning, yup, I am writing a book. BTW - gorgeous photo!|
CatherineLynneCarter.com in the form of primary documents which detail Cate Carter's various legal actions against me in the courts (and rumor mills) of Portland, Oregon.
The initial bones of the book are up at |
There is some more interesting stuff emerging from the work that the private investigator is doing, but we'll see what comes of it. My basic goal is to use this bizarre case as a study in what happens when gender and class privilege intersect.
shoot herI'd just have her shot.