“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” ~ the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke
It sounds so simple: say what you mean. But, all too often, what I try to communicate gets lost in translation…literally. Let’s face it! Communicating effectively in a second language is not my strength. Many days, I have a failure to communicate. But, last week’s problem was not because of ineffective communication in Spanish. It was a problem with forgetting my cell phone.
Last Sunday, our god-daughter invited us to her presentation at the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Her father, Jairo, had tried to call us for a week to invite us to Alba’s presentation. Unfortunately, I had turned off my old cell phone…the number that Jairo knew. So, Jairo had to walk to our house to give us the invitation.
That was my first mistake. I gave Jairo my new number and asked him to send me a text message with directions to the place where Alba would give her presentation. That was my second mistake. Jairo doesn’t know how to send a text message. Who knew?
We made arrangements to meet on the mainland at 7 am. But, we neglected to tell each other where we would meet. That was the third mistake.
I explained to Jairo that I would have our taxi driver, Francisco, take us to the border for Alba’s presentation and I would call him when we got to the mainland to pick them up. That was my fourth mistake. I forgot my phone!
It was a beautiful, cool Sunday morning when we walked to the port along the beach path. I wasn’t thrilled about walking into town at 5 am, but the overnight rains left a smooth and packed beach trail which was much easier to walk. The sun was beginning to rise as we boarded the ferry.
I filled my backpack the night before with all of the things I would need…water, house keys, flashlight, camera, money, passports ( if we needed them to enter the border) and a book to read on the ferry. I was prepared. What I wasn’t prepared for was a search through all the contents of my backpack looking for my cell phone. “Where’s my phone?” I asked Ron as I unloaded all the contents into his lap. “Where did I put my cell phone?”
Unfortunately, it was sitting on the kitchen counter at home. “Oh well, no worries. Jairo is going to meet us at the dock on the mainland,” I said to myself. Really, I was panicking. Without a connection to the world, I couldn’t check my email, look at Facebook, or call anyone.
What a sick feeling I had! What if Jairo wasn’t at the dock? What if someone needed to contact me? What if I have an emergency? Have you ever felt that way? I need my phone numbers, but they are all in my phone. Who keeps a paper list of phone numbers? Who actually knows phone numbers from memory? That’s what speed dial is for.
I had to calm my anxieties and the sun was rising over Concepcion volcano. What an amazing sight. I followed the path of the sun for our hour’s trip across the lake, while snapping hundreds of photos. I was mesmerized and it took my mind off my failure to communicate.
When we arrived at the dock in San Jorge, Francisco was waiting for us…but Jairo and Alba were not. We searched the restaurants, the ranchos, the waiting areas…no they were not there.
“Francisco, do you have any phone numbers of people on Ometepe Island?” I asked. “Yes, I have many,” he said. We went through his contacts and tried to call several people to see if they knew Jairo, but not one of his contacts had Jairo’s phone number.
We waited another hour and decided that the best thing to do was to return home.
The next ferry took us to San José on Ometepe Island. It was packed with Nicaraguans who had a long weekend to celebrate Independence Day. AND…they were all on their phones and laptops! I was so jealous.
We had to thumb home in our best Sunday outfits because the buses weren’t running. When we arrived home, my phone was exactly where I thought it would be… sitting on the kitchen counter…just where I left it… with 6 missed calls from Jairo, and a text message from Alba telling us that her dad would meet us at the rotunda in Rivas.
Sigh! Failure to communicate. I felt so bad that we missed Alba’s presentation. However, looking at the bright side, I got some terrific photos of the sun rising over Ometepe Island. I learned not to assume that everyone knows how to send text messages and I need to keep a small notebook with emergency telephone numbers in it. Most importantly, I learned that I don’t have to constantly be tethered to my phone. I would have missed some great shots while checking Facebook on the ferry.
I’m leaving for the states this week to visit my mother. I will definitely have failure to communicate, but don’t worry. I’ll be back soon. 🙂