It’s been quite a ride.
On Friday, 4/28, I went to dinner to a great restaurant in Escazu, near where I used to live. The food was great, but, possibly because I was a gringo with a beautiful Costa Rican woman (which the local males resent), I woke up with food poisoning on Saturday. I don’t get gastrointestinal stuff, except in Costa Rica, after being mistakenly identified as a rich gringo attempting to seduce a tica to the dark side.
This was all the more annoying because I was leaving early the next morning for California. With medication, the most serious symptoms dissipated by the end of the day, with one exception (to be continued…)
Sunday’s plan was as follows:
- 6:00 am Take an Uber to the airport
- 8:00 am Fly to California
- 2:00 pm Arrive at LAX and take a car to Palm Springs
- 4:00 pm Pick up my car at a nearby storage garage
- 4:30 pm Get to Spectrum before they close at 5:00 to pick up my new modem
- 5:00 pm Find the owner and pick up the keys.
- 5:30 pm Move into the new apartment.
I give you this degree of detail so you can appreciate the amount of work I had to do from Costa Rica to arrange all this. And, because Monday was a holiday in CR and I didn’t have to teach, I arranged with the owner, through the agent, to move in Sunday evening, a day before the lease would normally begin. The movers were scheduled for Monday, and I would be up and working by Tuesday.
The Monday prior to my departure, I contacted the owner, whom I had never met. He said he’d call me on Wednesday, and he did. When we spoke, he seemed jolly enough, and I wanted to start off on the right foot, since I would be leasing and subletting his apartment in the coming year. When I confirmed our meeting place and time, he mentioned that everything depended on the people moving out of the place where he was planning to move from my place. I paused and said that I thought everything had been confirmed (since it had, in writing, by the agent). To that he replied, “Oh, don’t worry. We’ll find you a bed.”
Since all invited to read this blog have known me for years, you can imagine my feelings at that moment. However, aware of my sharp tongue and my edge when trying to control myself, I did the only thing I could. I shut up. After a few moments, he asked me if I was still there. I said yes, but that I was digesting this new information. He then followed up with, “Look. I’m 75 years old and, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s not to sweat the small stuff.” Yep, my new life-coach.
So, for the second time in as many minutes, I kept my cool and simply told him I was looking forward to meeting him. I then hung up and spent the next hour practicing deep-breathing. “Visualize your breath as it passes through your body….”
The next day, I followed up with an email. This is called “memorializing a conversation” in the business world. I first thanked him for permitting me to move in Sunday evening; I then informed him that the movers were scheduled to arrive at 11:00 on Monday and that I would be able to change that as long as I had prior notice; I finally offered to have my movers help him with any of his items. I even mentioned that, for me, moving out of a place where I’d been for two months, traveling for 13 hours, and moving into a new apartment, was pretty big stuff.
I cc’ed the whole thing to the agent.
The next day I received a nice email from the owner informing me that everything was fine as planned and not to worry. He also mentioned “on a personal note” that he preferred communicating by phone, as he was not tech savvy, nor did he want to be. Messages received.
Starting Sunday morning, all went as clockwork. For me. I cannot say the same about the man next to me on the flight.
You see, the earlier referenced symptom from which I still suffered on Sunday was severe flatulence. Yep. Imagine five and a half hours in a middle seat on an airplane next to someone unable to stop farting. As I mentioned, I don’t usually suffer from this type of ailment. I typically have respiratory and back issues. Never having experienced this, I was hard-pressed as to what to do. Since I was on the aisle, I watched the bathroom near me; whenever there was no line, I ran inside, closed the door and farted as much as I could. It appears that my inexperience had convinced me that I could “get it all out at once.” Sadly, that was not the case.
As anyone who flies knows well, there is a definite protocol for disembarking an airplane. No matter how tired or anxious to leave, everyone waits one’s turn. Not so in the case of the fellow who had sat next to me. He shoved me to the side and bolted toward the airplane door. I was going to say something like “no reason to be rude” but I thought better of it. He had a really good reason.
My motto of recent years once again comes to mind: One’s later years are a series of humiliations tempered by rare moments of joy.
At least I’m home. I really like my new place. And the owner’s a good guy.
Ciao for now.