Thursday, July 14, 2011
The 3 Messengers Part III, The Response.
Before cutting short The 3 Messengers, I believed that the writing would flow straight from my Uncle Henry's death through Catemaco into that incredibly propicious week in March. And when I cut it short, due to exhaustion and the belief that it would be easier for you to follow it in 2 parts, I firmly believed that I was halfway through the story. I emailed Robert and informed him that I would be writing about him and connected him with the 1st piece and then the 2nd piece. However, today I am hoping for the spiritual and mental energy for writing the 3rd piece and I haven't yet introduced Robert. For a moment I became concerned about my jumping back in time. However, when I finished the 2nd part, I realized that I must introduce Karla in order to introduce Robert. And in order to introduce Karla, I must explain how Michael met her and how I didn't meet her for years... So...
After waiting 4 hours for my bus to Mexico City in the bus station in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, where they didn't stamp my passport (something that became a concern 8 years later), I crossed half the country 14 hours at night. In the first half hour the bus stopped at a restaurant and the bus driver told us we could get off to use the bathroom or buy something to eat. At least that's what I thought he said since I didn't understand Spanish. After 2.5 days of travelling on Greyhound, I stayed put, thinking that the driver would return in 5 minutes and I didn't want to risk being stranded in the Mexican frontier. However, he and the passengers didn't return for an hour. They were cenando, eating dinner. I figured, like with Greyhound, this bus will stop in another bus station to change drivers in maximally 8 hours or the thoughtful bus driver will stop for breakfast. I was wrong. The bus didn't stop again until it entered Mexico City 13 hours later.
All was fine. Michael had hooked me up with one of his new friends, Silvia, he had met through Manolo his chamanism teacher and she offered me her dining room floor for sleeping in her apartment in Mexico City. I was able to shower and we went to a Ticket Bus where I bought tickets for Oaxaca leaving the following morning. I was afraid of staying one minute extra in Mexico City without Spanish. Years later I would realize that the very large tourist, historical and cultural sections of Mexico City were very tranquil and offered little threat. Margarita, the ranchera/campesina fell in-love with our walks exploring the city on foot and crossing the city on the Metro, periodically asks me when we will visit Mexico City again. However, since I am not psychic, I couldn't know that about that Mexico City and I fled to Oaxaca 18 hours later, where I met one of Jonathan's friends who was visiting friends there. I spent 9 days in Oaxaca and fled to Veracruz because I felt that if I had stayed there longer I wouldn't have learned Spanish, burning the little money I brought with me, all in vane. There were so many young American and European tourists there looking for new friends and new lovers, speaking in English. One young lawyer from San Francisco asked me, "Ross, what do you have against me that you ignore my dinner invitations?" With that question, the anti-English barrier was broken, I went with her to dinner and I went to the movies with others and for pizza and beer with yet others and I lifted myself up from the seat of my pants and I gave myself a kick in the ass that sent me tumbling into the February gray and drizzly Port of Veracruz. The following day I fled that depressing and dirty city for Paso Doña Juana and Poncho and Lety with their cabaña on the beach, delivering the photographs that Lety's brother developed for Michael in Suffern, NY. Being Michael's friend, Poncho and Lety treated me like a visiting prince. However, after two days I told them (with the help of my Spanish/English dictionary) that I must leave for Xalapa; that I had an appointment for teaching English to Michael's friend Karla. Poncho and Lety looked at me with suspicaz, as they would do 3 more times in the future (both are Scorpions and easily feel rejected). Poncho told me, Look, this is your home. You don't have to do anything, you don't have to spend money. You can live here indefinitely. The food is free, river crabs to the left, ocean fish infront. No work, just fishing... And he meant that. And I understood the significance of that offer. However, I felt responsible towards someone who I didn't know; Karla.
Little did I know that when I landed in Xalapa on the Valentine's Day, Karla was landing in J.F.K. International Airport in Long Island. Later on, Margarita would tell me that that evening she had been dancing with her girlfriends from Las Cañadas (one of them would become her sister-in-law Rosa) in a club, having the time of her life. For the most part the campesina women dance with the women and the Campesino men dance with the men. Michael sent me with the telephone # of his shamanism teacher Manolo who lives in Xalapa....-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-
Did you hear the scratching of the record? Time to retrace our steps 5 years.
I had mentioned fleeing Mónica for the East Village at night before she returned home from work. I had mentioned my friend Laura "Java" and our radar connection in the Lower East Side meeting randomly on Rivington Street. If I ignore this triangle, we miss the whole point of the journey...
Back to Spring 1998.
On Sundays Mónica enjoyed visiting open air markets on West Broadway and West Houston in Greenwich Village. One of those Sundays we stumbled across Michael and M´nique's alternative hippy tables selling beautiful hand-made crafts from indigenous Peruvians they had met during their 2 year journey from Mexico to Argentina. As I have said before, M & M promised their indigenous friends a market for their wonderful products in New York City and even paid the shipping... Mónica became very intrigued by Australians selling Latin American crafts on the streets of New York City and became engaged in a long conversation with Michael. At the time I was still very shy and I stayed a few feet back towards the curb and the street watching their conversation. It turns out that Michael and M'nique ended up in New York City because of Michael's dream of becoming a stock broker on Wall Street, believe it or not. In Mexico, 2 years earlier, they had met a very wealthy man at a Rainbow gathering in Mexico. It turned out that this man had an international commodities trade company on West Broadway around the corner from Wall Street. Since Michael has this incredible way of gaining friends, the international trader invited Michael and M'nique to his villa somewhere nearby. They talked about Michael's dream and the new friend considered Michael over the following 2 years. Infact, that man visited Michael's parents in Sydney before making his final decision.
You don't believe in fate? I use to say that I knew Michael during his 5 years in New York City. However, if you do the math, he and M'nique were leaving for the Americas when I was moving in with Randi, in Queens. When Randi and I were graduating from Hampshire College, Michael was taking Spanish classes at night where he met M'nique. M'nique has always been very cautious, very Virgo. However, when Michael said to her, "In a few months I will be leaving for a 2 year hike across Latin American, would you accompany me?" M'nique said, "SURE!"
Before I began realizing how and who was M'nique, I was an advocate for Michael separating from her. I felt that she was very spiritually restricting. I was wrong. We all need friction, brakes, a prevention against destroying our tires, axels, suspension systems in emergency ramps at the bottom of steep hills. Someone should be there with us to help us think twice, to help keep us on track. When I think back to the end of my life in New York City, I feel sadness at not having developed a better friendship with M'nique.
During my coffee house haunting in the East and West Village, I bumped into a beautiful young Jewish woman of Iraqui descent, Rivka. I became so enchanted by her and even walked with her towards her NYU dormitory in the West Village a few times in the wee hours of the morning after Alt.Coffee on Avenue A had closed. Rivka introduced me to her childhood friend Laura (later to change her name to Java and now to the Hebrew, Ilanit in Israel). I dropped Rivka for Laura who was so profoundly interested in everyone and everything, creative, she was like a nymph with her energy floating around her. Michael and M'nique consiguieron (how do you say that in English?) a table in the St. Marks Place Market, M'nique manning it during the week, while Michael was learning the international trading business around the corner from Wall Street. I introduced Michael and Laura and they immediatedly hit it off, the two of them Sagittarios, fellow travellers... Laura introduced Michael to many esoteric ideas and movements, along with street activist movements, one of them being the movement for "Take back the streets" pressuring the Mayor's office to offer safer bike routes. Years later, Joey and I were invited to a few of those night time bike rallies where we blocked traffic with hundreds of bikers biking. Little did I know, nor did I think about this until this moment, that years later my aunt Mary Beth would become a main advocate for amplifying and protecting bikers rights after she witnessed her husband's death by a NYPD Tow Truck when they were returning from eating dinner in Chelsey. With Laura, Michael became very active in the Community Gardens movement in the East Village. On one occasion I helped paint banners in Laura's apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn, preparing for one of the Community Garden marches. When I was a little boy visiting from central Jersey, Henry and Mary Beth took us to their community garden around the corner on the Upper West Side. The community gardens were created for converting vacant and abandoned lots into productive green space, part of a take back the communities movements, since the vacant lots had tendencies towards becoming spaces for gang fights, and drug sales amongst other forms of delinquency putting at great risk the lives of the children living in those deteriorating neighborhoods. Giuliani could put all the police on the streets that he wanted. But nothing combats delinquency better than creating safe and comfortable public space maintained by the community living within those neighborhoods. Abandoned buildings and overgrown lots create a desprecio (the communal devaluation of the communal self, a loss of self-respect and the opening for all types of additional negativity within that community). Love and true respect for oneself is the #1 prevention against suicide. If you look at the history of New York City over the past 50 years, you will witness communal suicides from the Upper Upper West side, through Harlem, to Northwestern Brooklyn to the east and Coney Island. When a community and a person loses faith, it and they become desperate. With desperation comes psychological and spiritual exhaustion causing the inability for making good decisions and the incapacity for participating in local politics and the incapacity for participating healthfully in the lives of the children who may later grow into gang members, drug dealers, thieves and prostitutes... If you want to prevent this, you've gotta offer better options. One of those better options is a community garden, cleaner and safer streets, happier and healthier people personally active within their own lives and communities.
Late summer 1998, Laura said to Michael. "There's a chamanism teacher visiting for two weeks from Xalapa, Veracruz. I think you'll appreciate Manolo's class." Not only did Michael appreciate Manolo's class, Michael changed his whole life, moving away from Wall Street towards all forms of Holistic education and care, homeopathea, Riaki, meditation, chamanism... In fact, two months after I left for Mexico, Michael and M'nique returned to Australia, where Michael created his business Holistic Services Group http://www.holisticservices.com.au/programs/share/index.asp?P=368&L=2&SNID=1&ICID=20&
The 7 years opened and closed for the two of us at the same time, shooting off into the following 7 year cycle that ended with the birth of Michael and M'nique's son Jarrah and with my becoming a permanent Mexican resident.
Not long after I introduced Michael to Laura, Mónica ruined the friendship between Laura and I. While I was at Maimonides Hospital in Borough Park Brooklyn, Móníca broke into my email and began a conversation with various friends of mine including Laura. When I called Laura from the hospital, she was very distant with me and told me that she was in communication with Mónica who told her things about me. She was angry and hung up on me. (Just a note, ---because the piece on Mónica hasn't yet been terminated--- Laura and I weren't romantically involved in the least bit and Laura knew about my problems with Mónica. What Mónica did was not that of a jealous wife upon discovering that her husband was cheating on her. She was a manipulative and controlling monster bitch who wanted to literally fuck me up the ass with a strap-on and who kicked me in the throat once and who claimed that I couldn't remove her from my apartment "make me!" Upon packing up her things she also packed up things of mine, such as my college diploma. Why?) Because Laura and I shared the mutual friend in Michael, I would be in contact with Laura on and off over the following 4.5 years. She wouldn't talk about what Mónica told her. I guess it doesn't matter, since the ball had been set in motion.
When I suddenly decided to leave for Mexico, Michael was preparing for his trip to Xalapa, Veracruz for assisting Manolo. However, upon arriving to Xalapa, Manolo told Michael, "I don't have time for entertaining you. Find something to do and return in 2 weeks for the events. Michael journeyed to the coast and met Poncho and Lety. On a recommendation by Manolo Michael entered the mountains around Pico de Orizaba and spent one week at Las Cañadas where he met Margarita. Manolo occasionally took groups to Las Cañadas because it is an organic vegetarian ranch that offers alternative education and a Temezcal (sweat lodge) and was friends with the owner Ricardo Romero who would later kick me off his ranch for "dating" his cook. 8.5 years later I would bump into Ricardo at a patron saint fiesta in the very small rancheria Tepatzingo where Ricardo obtains most of his workers. We would have a surprisingly satisfying conversation, Ricardo and his wife Tania, relieved that all had worked out for Margarita and I, probably feeling guilt at having attempted at coming between the two of us. They invited us to visit them 2 weeks later, when Ricardo's summer vacation courses had concluded.
However, 8.5 years earlier, I met with Manolo at a cafe in Xalapa. We had a tense conversation, since he had spoken with Ricardo Romero who had told him that Ricardo hadn't spoken with me and hadn't given me permission to enter the ranch. Manolo said that I couldn't just appear and think that Ricardo would receive me. I was confused because that last week I spent with Michael, I told Michael to send Ricardo an email informing him of my impending visit. Michael had said, "That's not necessary mate. You just show up at their milk and cheese shop in town, in Huatusco and they send their mini-bus for you and take you to the ranch. It doesn't need to be so complicated." But I wasn't comfortable with Michael's informality and insisted upon him writing Ricardo. And he did just that... After being kicked out of Las Cañadas and spending a week with Poncho and Lety on the playa, I rushed back to Las Cañadas and asked Margarita if she would marry me. She said yes. But we decided to hold off on saying anything to her family, since we first must figure out how we would live together. That night I had a confrontation with Ricardo who told me that I disregarded his rules, that there were Mexican forms of doing things and that I ignored those forms and that I had appeared at his ranch uninvited and unannounced. I informed him that that was not true, that Michael had emailed him and that he hadn't responded to the email. And that was where he caught himself in his own lie. He said, "Yes, but I have the right to not respond to that email..." I further reminded him that when I was waiting those 3 hours for his response at the store in Huatusco February 17th, I had told him that there was absolutely no need for me to spend time at his ranch and that all I would do was deliver the photos that Michael sent with me for them and leave. Afterall, I didn't like Huatusco. It was ugly, gray and cold. I didn't like how Ricardo was receiving me (Michael hadn't informed me of Ricardo's character. In fact, later on Michael would inform me that he had only spoken with Tania who said that she would speak with her husband about be. I don't like being naive and socially unprepared. I prefer being alone than being in unnecessary conflicts constructed over malinformation and misunderstandings). After waiting 3 hours for Ricardo to give me a yay or nay, Ricardo radio-ed the store saying that he would send the answer with Margarita's younger brother Gregorio in the morning. I was angry that whole night wanting to leave that moment. But I had met Margarita that evening at the store. When I presented myself as Michael's friend, she surprisingly kissed me on the cheek. So, deliberating awake that whole night, I decided that I must wait for the following morning when, at the very least, I would deliver Margarita the photographs taken by Michael at the ranch. However, Gregorio appeared and informed me of Ricardo's message that I would work with Margarita in the kitchen...
During the conversation with Manolo, Manolo spoke about the universal importance of pairing man with woman, of creating healthy relationships. 2 months later, Ricardo told me that Manolo warned him about me, that I lied and that Michael never told me to show up at the store without a warning. I was surprised that Manolo would say such a thing. But, was also surprised that Ricardo would blatantly lie, using another real person as the conveyor of that lie. However, if Manolo had such powers of perception as he was teaching around the world with the base of Carlos Castañeda's writings, then how was it that he didn't realize that he was participating indirectly in the pairing of two people from distant realities who would create something very important for themselves and for others?
I'm sorry Michael. You are a beautiful person. But that doesn't mean that every person seemingly well intentioned has good intentions and that not all people are beautiful. Manolo had said that he had competition in the teachings of Carlos Castañeda and that in the end, he must pay for his life. It's kind of like selling the Gospels of Jesus in the doorways of the Cathedral...
During the two months of living at Las Cañadas, I didn't meet Karla. During the following years Margarita emailed Karla. But Karla didn't return her messages. While Gregorio was still working at the ranch, Karla had said that she would visit with Margarita the times Margarita was at her family's ranch. However, she never appeared. Then one day, 4 years later, during a beautiful crafts fair in the lakes, Karla appeared with Conchita... And that finally brings us to date.
As I had said repeatedly the 3 years we sold our cupcakes in The Lakes of Xalapa:
One day a man will appear at our stand. He will take interest in our cupcakes and will want to help us. I don't know if he will actually participate in the buiness. But he will have the economic means of helping us financially. It was something I firmly believed...
And then negated that belief kind of as a New Year's Resolution: