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"Si, Pero No" "Yes, But No"

by Dr David, Editor, Publisher

It's pitch dark. The bell of the church that is right behind my house just struck 5:00am, but I've been up since 4:00. I try to get to bed earlier, but this is what happens more often than not when I retire before midnight; waking to insomnia.

I was a compliant child, but I really disliked getting up for school, especially during those winter months when it was still night at 7:00am. I still dislike being woken up. One of my greatest delights is not having a schedule, including the ability to roll over and go back to sleep. With rare exceptions, we're all still reacting to our childhoods.

These days, or nights, when I can't sleep, after lying there trying to deny it for 30 minutes or so, I get out of bed and write. Frequently a fair bit of what I write before dawn doesn't see the light of day, doesn't make it into the final draft. These wee hours are a different world. Dr Ben Hole, my main mentor, whose practice I assisted for many, many hours, would tell his patients, "You can call me up in the middle of the night, but you'd better think twice about the advice I give you."

Technically it is Monday morning. Although the utterly black sky looks as far from morning as anything I've ever seen. Saturday we took a drive to Atotonilco and stopped at an outdoor restaurant for an early dinner. The ambiance was delightful, dining aside the pond under the trees. However, the pizza proved my oft-stated adage that the farther you get away from New York, the less the pizza is like pizza. The sauce, cheese and toppings were fine, but the crust was a strange, unfinished creation.

I used to own a pizzeria in Hartford, Connecticut. My father before me made pizzas in his tavern. In a world where truth is regularly contested you may be sure that New Haven is the pizza capital of the world, because it holds the title for the most pizzerias per capital. There, on Wooster Street, are the two original thin crust shops, Sally's and Pepe's. Everyone who is making thin crust pizza today apprenticed at Pepe's or Sally's, or learned from someone who did, or isn't making good thin crust pizza. The alchemy hasn't filtered down to Mexico, yet. (Centanni comes close.)

It's tempting to let the dough rise too long, because doing so makes it easier to stretch. Unfortunately it also permits the fermentation process to begin, giving the crust a slightly bitter, beery taste. The pizza oven stone must be completely hot, over 400 degrees. The dough, to prevent its being burnt by that extreme heat, is partially suspended just off the stone's surface by a thick dusting of corn meal. Then, although I shouldn't, because it's like revealing how a magic trick is done, I'll tell you the mail secret. Put the cheese down before the sauce. Nobody notices and the dough, because it is kept drier has a chance to cook. A slice of proper thin crust pizza stays firm, erect when held by the crust. Well, I didn't come to Mexico to order pizza.

After dinner, the sun low in the sky, we strolled behind the restaurant visiting the happy chickens scratching in their yard outside the hen houses. Then we circumambulated the large tract of cultivated land adjacent. Returning to our car and navigating the long driveway out we passed some children, who with their dads were tossing some exceptionally aerodynamic model airplanes a short way out into the field. The planes soared up into the sky dove down and looped up again with each toss. It's my opinion that kids and restaurants are not a good mix, but the wide open spaces of Atotonilco more than mitigated my objections to the little darlings. Unconfined, playing pond-side or along the driveway, they were at times delightful.

This morning lying in bed, no doubt influenced by those model airplanes, trying to fall back asleep (you really can't try to fall asleep; trying is antithetical to the letting go that is the sine qua non of falling asleep), for the first time in over half a century, I remembered a model airplane of another kind I had as a child. It was heavy plastic, red and white, with a wingspan of close to three feet. With a miniature, gas-powered engine it must have been radio-controlled, but I wouldn't know since I never flew it. Dad had probably found it left behind by one of his tenants. We never even tried to get it off the ground. It's a fitting metaphor for my childhood, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The "we" who went to Atotonilco last Saturday are my girlfriend, and I. Now, "girlfriend" is a loaded term. Without getting into it all, it might be better to say that we are "going out." We've all got our ghosts and, recognizing hers, she has on more than one occasion, and recently, advised me to date other women. My ghosts in these matters, hungry as they are, are, I think, a little friendlier. After a string of disappoints together, following her advice, I sent a Facebook message to another young lady, whom I had admired for some time.

The first time I saw D. she was naked and framed in a variety of paintings on the wall of EC Bell's art studio. A master of realism, EC has chosen to spend his later years painting dreamy nudes. It's good work, if you can get it. EC is a friendly, unassuming sort. Over the years we've chatted a bit at his various openings. When his studio was on Calzada de la Luz he proudly showed me his collection of model gas-powered, radio-controlled airplanes. Stopping by sometime later for a private visit he showed me a video of him flying one somewhere outside of town.

D. first contacted me last February on Facebook asking me to publicize an event at her Belle Muse gallery and event space. I announced it in my calendar and went to the event. After the event I spoke with EC and introduced myself to D. We were standing in the large gallery space, surrounded by EC's nudes. D. was charming. Noticing my confusion, anticipating my question she directed my attention to a section of the wall and proudly said, "These are me." It was erotic. Either alone, her paintings or her incarnate being would have been so, but both versions together almost made me blush, and she knew her effect.

They talk about the patriarchy and the power of men and there is a lot to that. But women, especially young, beautiful women enjoy their own power advantage.

That evening, I spoke about with D. about my wish to publish another article on EC. We stayed in touch on Facebook around that. She sent me a notice of another event in March. Then Covid hit.

Jesting, I say about Woody Allen movies that I don't like them, because they are too much like my life. ("Life is full of pain and suffering and it's all over much too soon." "'The food at this resort is so bad.' 'Yes, and the portions are so small.'") When I watch movies, and most other times, I like to escape. My life, especially my romantic life, involves a fair amount of fantasy. For those of us who are not artists or half mad our default brain function is overwhelmingly mundane. As creatures we worry about survival, the practical, day to day things of existence. Love for me is something sacred and beyond.

We are great friends, but my current relationship does not soar or only briefly so. We fly, but we never get too far above the ground, and always, too soon for me, I find that it is time to land. I do take some responsibility for that. If you'll bear with me, that is the point of this article.

As I say, after various disappointments with the woman I am now dating, in early July, four months after having last chatted with her, I sent D. another messaged:

7/8/2020

Me: Todo bien?

7/9/2020

David!!!
Qué gusto!!
You read my thoughts! I was actually thinking about writing you then you did it!
Todo está súper bien!! How are you?

7/13/2020

Me: I am happy that our minds are talking.
I am also very well, thanks, but I would be better if you would come to visit (dinner?).

D.: Nice to hear that you are very well!.......Thanks for the invitation David! Yes, I'd like to visit you sometime soon.

7/21/2020

Me: I need your magic in my life.

D.: Thanks a lot David!! I need yours, too! Let's set a time for dinner!

Dinner got postponed a couple of times. Over the weeks we chatted a bit. After she sent me a heart-faced emoji my flirting became overt and she played along.

7/26/2020

Me: Thank you for your congratulations on Lokkal, your recognition. I hope you will be a big part of its success... central... to balance me, to channel the abundance. There will be a lot of energy, a lot of money to reinvest in the community, Launching is only the start.

D.: Thanks for making me part of this! I feel flattered!
Yes!! it is just the start! ;)

8/6/2020

Me: I have been very busy myself all day and I have so much more to do to publish my newsletter tomorrow.

D.: Oh well, then I think we both are on the same page..... work, work, work!

Me: The heart beats and then relaxes. How hard it contracts is not as important as how much it relaxes, because then the blood enters and feeds the heart's own muscle. I hope together we enjoy some sweet, deep relaxation to balance the work, work, work, to feed our hearts.

D.: Yes! we will!

Mexican culture is characterized by, "Si, pero no," "Yes, but no." Not universally so, it is, yet, a pervasive attitude. Generally Mexicans have a harder time saying "No" than do their neighbors north of the border. Rather than refuse outright they say "Yes" and then do not comply. In fairness to D., Mexicans, are also by nature, more romantic; their very language is more lyrical, more poetic. Leave it to me to misunderstand. There really is no fool like an old one.

Last week dinner with D. finally came off. My Asian stir-fry was a hit. The conversation was great. D. was kind, intelligent and charming, too kind and charming for me. Some women flirt until they know that you are attracted to them. Assured of their own desirability, that's enough. D. was assured.

I get confused. Maybe I need to play harder to get. They say that the bank does not loan money to people who really need it. Well, there's nothing wrong with having kind, intelligent people in your life, on whatever degree of intimacy.

I'm learning, love is not something you can possess. Trying to hold onto abundance is like trying to fall asleep. It's dawning on me, like the day gradually brightening outside my window, that no one is going to do it for me; that the balance and love I'm looking for is not to be found outside, at least, not before I find them inside.

I watch the birds circling the dome of the church. Even pigeons are elegant flying en masse. Over and again, fifty or more disappear on the far side, then in gyres wide or close, higher or low, pass, madly flapping overhead. I imagine the soar and the dive, the six directions of freedom, the fluidity of the air... The church clock strikes eight.

**************

Dr David tends to see life in terms of lines from Bob Dylan songs. One stanza that comes to mind apropo of this article's theme is;
"Is it really any wonder
The love that a stranger might receive
You cast your spell and I went under
I find it so difficult to leave."

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