To beep or not to beep

Hola from Costa Rica

It’s been a busy time for me.  I’ve been working a lot and have been hired by another Business English school.  I am looking forward to my first class assignment.

It’s rainy here in the afternoons.  Mornings are usually sunny and warm, followed by pouring rain and then cloudy skies.  I try to get my errands done in the mornings.  The photos above are from the same sidewalk two hours apart, the first on my way to the gym and the second on my way home. 

My gym is not airconditioned; it’s a local gym which opens onto the sidewalk and whose staff love to blast music.  I once politely asked them to turn it down when I thought my ears would start bleeding.  This is a very gringo thing: Most ticos do not complain or make demands.  Therefore, the very act of my asking for accommodation only confirmed that I am a spoiled norteamericano.  One kid who works there started intentionally turning up the volume when he saw me come in; so I stopped going in the mornings when he works. Willy and Leo, the other trainers, have been nicer about it.  Please know that I can tolerate loud music; it’s only when we get over the 75 decibels, at which level the sound does permanent ear damage, that I speak up.  And, for the record, I’ve been going to gyms for 40 years in various locations in the US and CR, and I have never encountered this volume level.  I’ve also taken to stuffing toilet paper in my ears when I arrive; it helps.

I had a few friends over last Saturday night.  What began as one friend coming over at 6:00 for a glass of wine turned into a group of four at arriving between 7:30 and 10:00. As the wine flowed, and I am not a wine drinker, and my evening meds kicked in, I got pretty light-headed. When the last person left, I could barely walk from the dining to the living area (about 15 feet) before collapsing on the couch.   

The funny thing was that, while sitting at the table surrounded by my guests, I understood everything everyone said in conversational Spanish.  I was surprised and delighted. So, the lesson of the day is that all I need to do is stay constantly liquored up and medicated and my goal of fluency will be achieved.

Oh, and about the beeping…..

I have had a rather bizarre problem over the past several months.  I have been hearing on ongoing beeping coming from somewhere in my house.  Every day, while reading in my big leather chair, I have heard the sound at irregular intervals, sometimes once and at others twice at a time.  Also, the sound appeared to travel; from the living room it seemed to come from the kitchen, and vice versa.  I tried a scientific approach:  One by one, I unplugged every appliance and electrical device in order to determine the source. Once the beep continued while an item was disconnected, I eliminated that as the source. I also looked in closets and pantries for anything plugged in or battery-operated, all to no avail.

Finally, about a week ago, I had Freddy, an electrician, over to fix my doorbell.  During my previous beep investigation, I had thought the doorbell was the source and had taken both the button and the receiver apart.  When smoke came pouring out of the electrical box and I saw the exposed wires, I thought I’d found the culprit. However, after Freddy repaired the doorbell system, timbre y caja, the beep continued.  Next, using an app in his cell phone which detects power sources, he placed it on different items in the room. Once he put it on my Samsung tablet, on which I download all my books, the app went nuts. When Freddy proudly announced that that was the problem, I informed him that the sound itself was coming from elsewhere, since I would have known if it was coming from the tablet in my hands.  (I have had guests who have witnessed and been stymied by these mysterious beeps.) But I started turning the tablet off when I wasn’t reading, and the beeping first decreased in frequency and then stopped altogether. So, it appears that the tablet was the cause of the beep but not the actual beeper; perhaps it was sending a message to some still unknown receiver downstairs.  Any theories would be welcome, except for any which postulate that I’m losing or have lost my mind.

Remember, I live in Escazu, also known as the City of Witches.  I now believe that there are ghosts as well.

Pura Vida until next time.