In My Mind Carin Vacillated Between Saint And Whore


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My Apartment

1978

Just as I was beginning to take myself a little too seriously, into my life walked this fun loving, carefree, girl who was a friend of a friend, and we hit it off right away. Carin was a recreation major going into her senior year at CMU. She was eight years my junior, and a die-hard feminist. In addition to the physical attraction we had for each other, we also shared a common interest in the spiritual side of life.

Carin grew up in a spiritual family. Her father was a Methodist minister while her mother was into spiritualism of the occult variety; she especially followed the Seth books. Seth had “passed over,” but frequently embodied the same “host” and offered up lots of “wisdom.” Carin’s father was a little less “cutting edge” with his brand of spiritualism, but he was no less a believer. Back in Junior High School, I did some reading on Edgar Casey, extra sensory perception, space aliens, etc., and my mind remains open, but, I also let the debunkers do their work before I choose between the probable and improbable. In my searching, if that’s what you want to call it, I look for the “miraculous in everydayness.” I have to admit, though, talking ghosts might be easier to find sometimes. Be that as it may, I found Carin’s parents extremely interesting and nice. Actually, I was very lucky to get to meet them since our relationship came very close to not happening at all. I found myself in competition with another fellow for Carin’s affection just after the two of us became intimate, and, being left hypersensitive from my last relationship which ended because of “the other guy,” I was in no mood to take chances with Carin. I was scared, but I managed to overcome my fears. In fact, you might say I wrote myself out of my own paranoia. I suspect whoever said “philosophy doesn’t bake bread,” wasn’t much of a writer.

3-18-78

It’s been awhile. It’s been fun. The young lady back a page stayed; my first relationship in two and a half years. It’s been good. But why does history have to repeat itself? She just received a phone call from the guy that gave her self-actualization seminar. I was doing the dishes, standing next to her while she was talking to him on the phone. She enthusiastically agreed to go with him for coffee, but then she asked if she could bring her boyfriend along and there was a long silence. She then said “okay,” and hung up the phone.

Instantly a dark cloud envelops my body. What’s new, nothing! Opening up to Carin felt so good, and then crash, the valve slams shut. My body vibrates with the shock wave. My stomach snarls and tightens. What can I say? What can I do? I say nothing, and the dishes come clean one by one.

In another time, this overpowering melancholy would have taken me with it. There’s no bottom to it. I know that; just infinite compression and tightness. In its own way it’s still here, hanging over me, enveloping me while I wash dishes. I can’t fight it, either. The memories I so desperately want to forget get relived. I wonder if she can tell? Maybe I should tell her. But I don’t. I can’t. I’m too upset to say anything. I just keep washing dishes, watching, and waiting, in silence.

If that guy on the other end of the phone had said to her, “I don’t want to meet your boyfriend. I want to talk with you,” and she agreed to meet him, then where did that leave me—the dish man? To an independent observer, it would be perfectly clear: The guy on the phone was making a pass, and Carin was going for it. She was going to check him out.”

Well this is my situation and consequently I am tormented. What am I to do? I may be wrong, and if I am, I am guilty of thinking the worst, and what if I am correct? This nausea can turn out mental tangents until Hell freezes over, regardless of who’s right or who’s wrong. My thoughts form my reality and this reality is where I have to live. Infinite tightness, creating truth; I own it, I created it, it’s truly mine. Carin has her truth. I have mine. She controls her truth. I control mine. We cannot know each other’s thoughts; we can only react to each other’s behavior. Imposing my truth on somebody else is a lie; whether it’s true or not! And so I wash dishes, quietly.

As I swim in my thoughts the cloud thickens and sinks, but there is nothing I can do or say. But even though I know all this I still can’t stop my mind from conjuring thoughts. I am immersed in that cloud, and helpless. I go through the possibilities, one after another, some good, some bad. When the tally is taken I realize I have achieved nothing because the tally has no meaning. It’s a big joke. I am responsible for myself alone, and if I want it differently then I lose because I can only be accountable to myself. But, my conjuring thoughts continue, and Carin vacillates between being a villain and a Saint, the girl of my dreams and then the worst kind of whore. The man on the phone becomes a teacher, a lecher, and then the devil himself, and through it all I keep washing, washing, washing.

Well, I finished the dishes, and when Carin left, I opened some beers. On the stereo, John Prine was speaking for both of us when he said, “Now some folks they call me a coward cause I left her at the drive-in that night, but I’d druther have names thrown at me, then to fight for a thing that ain’t right.” I didn’t go with the cloud, I’m very happy for that. For this place and time, everybody is doing the only thing possible. Nobody has committed a sin, nor are they wrong. There shouldn’t even be a conflict. Everything is as it should be. God, the more you understand the more you’re tested.

I went through a lot of thinking from dishes to pen. I hope I caught some of it on paper. My thoughts are what motivated this writing, and this writing is what pulled me out of my thoughts. Thank God my life is more stable now. I even stopped smoking cigarettes again, yesterday. Carole Sue sent me a birthday card expressing her willingness to get back together. What normally would have caused a great deal of inner conflict has, thanks to my relationship with Carin, been reconciled without discomfort. Now, even my relationship with Carin has been reconciled without discomfort. I’ve learned how to become content while allowing other people the opportunity to discover contentment for themselves. My stability is not a consequence of my relationship with Carin, rather, my relationship with Carin is a consequence of my stability. And, I like that. I guess it’s time to say adieux because I’m just a wee bit too “tipsy” to continue.

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4 Responses to “In My Mind Carin Vacillated Between Saint And Whore”

  1. Dag T Says:

    Thanks for sharing, Dave! It’s a text I love to read, thoughts I’m following with pleasure. Additionally it makes me flash-back to 1978… Great great great!!!
    Sunday greetings from the french existentialist in black 😉

  2. sue s Says:

    Now this I can understand–been there and done that–still think you perhaps could consider a publisher –at some point–maybe?
    The writings on religion? Do you consider a ‘belief’ to be the same as a religion?I do try hard to read those blogs you write–that is to say I read them–but my eyes start to cross with the effort of understanding—But thankyou for shaking up my thoughts–and now I have found Sartre again–he was lurking on the top shelf!

  3. dave Says:

    Thanks for your support Dag T. I hope I can keep your interest. You have mine, even though your interests and communication skills are far more expansive then mine.

    I am not trying to be self-depreciating here sue, but the stuff that I really value that I write about would probably be torn apart by those much more capable than I. However, if you want to talk about publishing, nobody writes about what they value better than you. Again, as I have said before, Anny Dillard is super great at writing the way you do, and I get the same feelings from you as I do from her. I’m glad to hear that Sartre was lurking on your bookshelf, but I have very mixed emotions concerning him. Actually, I think his life long collaborator Simone de Boviour (I don’t have the correct spelling in front of me) was probably the better philosopher (not as creative, but better)and it was with his early works that she was the sounding board for Sartre–that part of Sartre that I creatively use in my own epistemology. Don’t worry, though, that’s a long way off.

  4. dave Says:

    I guess I forgot something: belief is all we have, it’s everything. It either helps us survive or it doesn’t. It either adds quality to our lives, or it doesn’t. It either sustains us in the worst of times or we die (in the Viktor Frankl sense).

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