Dean Clough

July 17, 2023

Portico Darwin: Introducing Catherine Carats


4 Minute Read
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In case you haven't noticed (and given that I rarely shut up about it, how could you not?), I have been on a personal quest of sorts since retiring.  A part of it has been to develop more patience and also to temper my volatility when things aren't as I wish.  Please: laughing doesn't help.

But for your entertainment and recognition, I'd like to present another in my rich cast of life's characters that I find less wonderful.  I do it so I can tell a recent story - shocker - but also to illustrate how a selfish general public can make personal growth difficult.  I am only half kidding, and what follows is completely true.

Now:  get off my f'ing lawn.

Let's review the characters.  There is, of course, the one and only Seamus Colonnity, the ultra MAGA right-wing blowhard.

Next, his opposite, the Psycho Woke icon, Madison Wright.

And recently, I introduced Roy Dirwin, self-entitled millennial.

Today, I am nauseated to introduce Catherine Carats, Spoiled Idle Rich Mom.

You know the type.  Blue eyes and bluer blood.  Just the right hair and better clothes:  casual, but impeccably stylish.  Gorgeous, yet in a mellow way, at least when not dolled up for some swish event.  Drives a long-wheelbase Range Rover, or worse, a Mercedes Geländewagen.  With a watch and rings worth more than many homes.  Work?  Not so much, but she did enjoy Bryn Mawr.

And well, my God do Catherine's precious children get to do what they want.  I know:  I saw it with my own eyes.  And I bet you have come across your own Spoiled Idle Rich Mom on occasion. 

I got a full dollop of Catherine Carats just recently, on the Saturday of the 4th of July holiday.  You see, thanks to the coordination efforts of Hunter Deuce, a fun group of us met to take in some free jazz at an annual favorite here in SF, the Fillmore Jazz Festival.  This is a street fair combined with music, picnicking and hanging around on the closed main street of our tony Pacific Heights neighborhood.  It runs from 10AM - 6PM and it is a Textbook SF event if there ever was one:  mellow vibe, and a wonderful mix of all kinds of different types of people. 

It's so chill, I am embarrassed at what occurred.  But I am also still pissed, and I have witnesses.

You see, a feature is its 10AM start time.  I take advantage of knowing few like to get going that early, so I was there by 10:45.  I was able to stake out an absolutely ideal spot, near the California Street stage, in the shade.  A parking meter providing the needed obstacle to pass-throughs.  Indeed, two different people literally said something like "Great spot!" 

First Ol' Purple Label and K. Helmsley Garfinkel arrived, followed on their heels by Hunter, and then Byron Browne IV and Louise Lederhosen.  Fi Deuce later joined and most of these friends saw me mix it up first with Catherine Carats, but then also with Roy Dirwin.

Here's what happened.  Naturally, and as I absolutely expected, it started to fill up around me.  More people arrived, sat down, enjoyed the absolutely Chamber of Commerce weather, and wonderful music. 

And then Catherine and her entourage arrived.  By that I mean she sat down on the curb near us with her nanny and her toddler.  Soon, a fellow Catherine arrived, her friend, Sally Stanford.  I had absolutely zero problem with any of this.

But then, Catherine and Sally decided they had every right to use my blanket.  The nanny, hesitant at first, joined right in - I thought she wanted to snuggle, FFS.  I snapped this photo as the walls were closing in; that's my leg at the bottom, as I was seated on one of our trick beach chairs.  The nanny's holding the baby, and Catherine has her back to me.

Before the incident, there was enough time for both commentary to and from Ol' Purple Label.  Me:  "What the fuck is happening here?  There is so much room - why are they on my blanket?"  OPL:  "Let's be clear:  that diamond on her right hand is the size of a marble."

Now, at this point, apart from me being annoyed, there was no real issue.  They wanted shade, I had some, and they felt empowered to grab some of it.  I griped about it, and then tried to re-focus on the great music and better day.  Let me emphasize I would have had no problem if they were standing up in front of me, or barely on my blanket.  The issue was how free they felt to fully violate what can only be deemed as "my space".

Because this is when the nanny picked up the toddler by his arms, turned to her right, and started playing with him.  Completely on my Kilpatrick Townsend Stockton swag picnic blanket, and literally at my feet as I was seated.  As a reminder, it was this chair and this blanket - it's not big, and certainly not large enough to share with strangers.

Would you have just shrugged it off and made your (fucking tiny) blanket available?  Doubtful, as this was beyond the pale.  But I also didn't have my finest moment, as I reacted - shocker - explosively. 

I bolted straight up and said something like "OK!  What in the world is the matter with you guys??  My God, there's all of this room, but your nanny is playing with your baby on my blanket?  Please, give me some space and get away from me!"

Not great, and I felt badly - but wow had this doyenne of entitlement and her servant pushed my buttons.  And even as I was flaring, I could see glints of affirmation from Ol' Purple Label and Hunter, both witnesses.  Still, I was shaken and wanting to forget it happened.

But then it escalated, and the crank-turner was none other than the male incarnation of Madison Wright.  If you can imagine Roy Dirwin as a Psycho Woke social justice warrior, in addition to a privileged millennial, you're close.

Because as it settled down, all of a sudden there's this thirty-something kid, in my face.  You see, this complete and utter stranger felt it his place to get involved.  He did so by painting me the bully.  "Big man!  Feel better now yelling at a mother and her child?  Chill out, man, and just let it go.  It's a beautiful day - don't be a jerk."

Already en fuego, I did not defuse, and instead said "You are talking to the wrong guy.  Get away from me and you have no idea what just went on.  I am the most benign person here - this is bullshit - go away." 

At this point, the beefy Hunter Deuce had taken my side, and the do-gooder wisely shuffled away, but while doing so, he was kind enough to give me the "I hope you enjoy your miserable life!" bit. 

I laughed out loud (he clearly missed Lottery Winner) and drank more wine.  Soon, and as planned, we were at the SF Athletic Club enjoying Giants - Mets, so all was mostly right with the world.  I must have apologized to my pals 10 times, but all agreed Catherine and her entourage's behavior was ridiculous.

But.  But.  But.  I could have handled it much better.  Naturally, the corporate anthropologist OPL had just the right words, albeit after the fact.  "'Hey, you know, we've got friends coming to share this blanket, could you give them some room, please?'" 

Somehow, soothing and logical words aren't what pop in to my mind in such situations.  I wish they did.

Although it was my better (and calmer) half Julie, upon hearing the story (she was away camping with her family), that commented:

"When exactly does one get to get mad?"  


Bored in the summer?  Why not make a free visit to the oft-updated Portico Darwin AI Art Gallery?

Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter . . . including a certain someone who has visited "about 20" of America's National Parks!


Featuring, of course, "Diamond Dogs", but also an incendiary "Station to Station" and much more.  Here is the late genius David Bowie, and his Killer concert recording, Live Nassau Coliseum '76.

About Dean Clough