Cafe Hitch-hike


Guide me, Witch Doctor

Although the day started out chilly (for these parts), I made my way to the beach and took my weekend hike. The sun was warm although the air was cool and the water temperature was down to 72 degrees, but the shore was busy in parts with surfers, paddleboarders, and people enjoying the sun. I love winters down here.

I saw more middle aged women also taking hikes, either solo or with another friend. I usually see people in their 60s and up taking walks, so this was different. The beach has been an elixir for me for so long. As I walked and saw stretches of beach with sea mist before me, I thought I was also walking through it from where I was. It's probably what's kept me anchored here for as long as I have.

I rewarded my long hike (about 3 hours) with an arepa. I was tempted to get a hallaca (though the restaurant called them tamals), but decided to get the white corn cake with white cheese, various meats, a little avocado, sweet plantains, and pepper sauce. They served a sweetened cafe con leche while I waited, and I ordered a Cocosette (a wafer with toasted coconut cream) to go with it.

Puppy Dog still got her walk this morning. We saw a dead coral snake on the road It was flattened and covered in frost. As I was purchasing my condo 2 years ago, we found a coral snake skin on the sidewalk, and I took it as a sign (shedding old skin? Growth?). About 2 or 3 months ago, I saw a very healthy looking one poking from under a privet before retreating under it. I do take these as signs, and then I found a dead one (letting something go).

I then saw a mature cottonmouth on one of our walks. It was dark and I thought it was a fallen palm frond. The dog went to sniff it. When we heard it hiss, the dog instantly jerked back and I pulled her further. We love walking and in the brush, but I keep an extra eye on snakes and went so far as to learn more about identifying them and their usual behaviors. We make noise, and hopefully they retreat from the noise or feeling the vibration. They're a fact of life in this subtropical zone.

My mentor and I had a talk about love and passion last week. We seemed to mutually agree that while falling in love is the most wonderful thing that can happen, well... there's a dark side to it. I remembered the euphoric feeling followed by being pulled by both feet towards a pit. Ooh, yeah, there's that lovely rush followed by a vine grabbing my ankles to drag me into a sinkhole. They say love is transformative, but it also feels destructive. Maybe that's the flip side of love or passion that no one wants to talk about.

The song above describes a good part of what all that is like when it happened to me.

I've known about my mentor's last committed relationship where he committed a hara-kiri of sorts. He lost a lot because of it and still lives with it today, but said he would gladly do it tomorrow if he had the chance.

At one point, I asked that part of my psyche that is in charge of my receptiveness to love and passion, do you want to kill or enslave me? Strip me of my will? Break me of my sanity? Subject me to humiliation or torture?

I remembered a time when I fell for someone in my 20s. It was a wonderful, beautiful, and stimulating thing through and through, but I felt like someone dunked me into the seat of a Formula 1 vehicle, and its speed and velocity absolutely frightened and overwhelmed me! I felt myself keeping my hands on the wheel the best I could while a speed, a force I never knew coursed through my hands and under me, and it was terrifying! I just waited, almost anticipated a collision at some point because I had no idea how manage all that intense energy and if I could channel it.

I walked away from that talk feeling a mix of things. One one hand, I wouldn't do myself any good by pathologizing the last time I had felt that way or its effect on me. I was in love, and I couldn't control how that happened. Yeah, the relationship later made me scour my soul of many things I never touched and perhaps a complex or two, but who the fuck would ignore the call when love knocks on the door? What was wrong with that? And falling in love with the wrong person? Just about everyone who's lived experienced just that, right? Having it drag us into parts unknown? Oh, oui!!

I also had to laugh because a part of me felt like throwing out all the well-intended relationship advice: don't be co-dependent. Be your own best friend. Stand on your own two feet and be independent. You unconsciously tell others how to treat you so you are responsible for that. Affirmations can change your mind. Love is love but infatuation is projection. My mentor heavily agreed with these things. I joked I should write an anti-self help book for relationships. I'd call it something like: Screw all the advice.

My mentor told me that a lot of that advice is like the witch doctors in days of yore, where a guy (or woman) would dance around in costume or paint in an attempt to understand something unknown and bring that understanding to others to defuse the anxiety or fear they felt. All they could do was present their primitive and limited understanding of something that was really wide, deep, and complex. I kind of snorted when he said that, but it made sense to me.

Love is like deities in mythology where they are great and also monstrous. They achieve and create amazing things and do horrendous deeds and to each other.
I'm perplexed, frightened, and nauseated. As if people nowadays aren't awful enough to one another, love itself is its own type of a radioactive material. What is one to do?

downwind | upstream