Part VI: “Miguel’s Most Artful Persuasion” (841 words)
“Loco Leads the Locals, in Blindfold!” I can see the headlines now. What’s been dinging my buttons all these years about this angelology is very simple, amigos: I’ve been pitching my own example of high expectations, of perfectísimo, here, for years, obsessive in my twirl, in almost every action I’ve chosen to do, as my concept of creative living. Subtle compulsion, with all the best intentions. It’s worked milagros here for many, including me, raising up with others the lives of hundreds.
My most constant word in español en mi vida loca is “Perfecto!” I haven’t been lying. So much really is in Teote for me, past chunchas—things--which here are Dollar-Store-Puro, unless handmade by local artisans with some excellent craft. I never thought I’d been pushing my expectations of myself on them, but I have, lo siento, and they’ve almost universally lived up to this unconscious challenge, grácias a Diós, so in most ways, everyone’s a winner, a good sign of Ángel Flying. Yet, still . . . it’s been a ton to work for, for nigh on 16 years! They must breathe a sigh of relief when I leave for another year.
My God, what an unconscious, gringo controller I can be, though in my soul a Chéli! I’ve been denying my own fear of flying off target here—Believe me, I have, big time, in the past!—protecting my crazy life from Nicaragua’s blatant craziness with excruciating standards of personal perfection. Voila! I’ve created what I most fear--unattainable external demands like the ángel-chuncha--the standard outcome for this type of subtle mania. We manifest what we most fear, almost all the time. In the process, I’ve unwittedly projected expectations on a whole Olmec-Mayan clan; then, I’ve been unfairly angered for seven years, put off by their simple expectation of the same ángel perfectÍsimo from me! Now that needs rectifying by forgivenance. Then, says The Course in Miracles, another miracle can happen.
Clarity of vision, por favor! Projection’s an old, old story of mine; the pattern’s emerged frequently, especially in the 70’s, but also in my just-past teaching, my academic standards a consciousness-raiser for my increasingly successful students, but—“Diós, perdóname!”—I was such a whipmeister, albeit with a grin. I feel sorry for them, now. Pretty controlling, as my wives have said. But, now that I’m a Nicaraguan gentleman farmer, in my family compound, I need to settle down.
I’ll retire the whip until I’m playing Zorro, in bandana, cape--a black rain poncho--and a zip-zap-zingy, handmade leather faja, bought to play a wicked banker in a Glenwood melodrama, now here, hanging at the head of mi cama, where Nicaraguan dons keep them, against the terrors and ladrones de la noche. Mamacitas keep one hanging en la cocina as a visual discipline tool, as well, to chase piglets out of the casa. I’ll be The Masked Bandito, a surprise sensation, at the family fiesta this year for me, with a marimba band, maybe, dancing en la sala de la casa de palomas, soon to be concrete for dancing and no fleas, with chocolate cece y gelado in five angelic flavors: Ay, Chihuahua! I doubt, though, if Catarina Zeta Jones will appear at this April’s Palomas Ball.
This time, I’ll take a growth step here: instead of covering up my fear of failure with perfectionism, when faced with choices, I’ll rise into a “more or less” approach, straight up the spiraling way of balanced opposites. I’ll say what Nicaraguans say, “más ó menos,” when asked, “Como está?” I’ll answer “Más ó menos” in the mañanita, with my usual angelic smile, instead of “perfecto,” except when extending complimentos to my well-paid familia workers, for their “perfectísimo trabajo, gracias.” That sounds muy tranquilo for us all, especially for this viejito don. Más ó menos is perfecto. The only time I’ll claim my majestic angel status is when working one-on-one with others and when I’m polishing my writing, where I’m definitely a Giant Ángel de Diós, though of the almost secret kind.
How life twists most here when I least expect it!
Now, what’s the Michelangelo thing to do? Ah, in truth, the artist in me whispers in my ear, in answer: each of us is clearly an angel, standing sword ablaze against the sky, a smile to hosts of others, the standard gleaming of righteous angels. Nice. While I’m not sprouting chicken feathers or getting married—Diós no la permite!--and I’m staying extra-close to mi tierra and my clothes, I’ll trip a light fandango with these darling family ángeles, as we perfect, más ó menos, our Indio-Espano-Celtic melting pot of love, just one more wrinkled don de los Estados on a well-saddled pinto, with silver jangles and spurs, slowly trotting up the spiral to the Angels from the bottom of the well, sombrero in hand, en paz. Más ó menos, perfectísimo. I’m finally resting in my old, world-weary heart, safe with the protection of San Miguelito, in Teote, Nicaragua.