Failure to Communicate


“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?

IMG_9268
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.
IMG_9276I 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!
IMG_9284It 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.
IMG_9286I  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?”
IMG_9307Unfortunately, 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.
IMG_9300What 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.
IMG_9321When 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.
IMG_9319The 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.
IMG_9324We 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.🙂

16 thoughts on “Failure to Communicate

  1. ah yes, the joy of having a telephone! i chuckled often while reading this!

    having disconnected from phone for over 15 years, i am almost always happy to be free of that nuiscance! there ARE times when a phone is of importance, but wow, do they ever rob me of quality time, and people learn to ‘plan ahead’ when it comes to me.. sigh, tempermental artists!!!!

    texting drove me nuts last year when my sister stuck a phone in my hand and said, ‘here, use this while you are visiting in the states…’ it was more of a curse than a gift, as i’d much rather be talking w/people in person than on the phone.. or on the phone and ignoring those i was visiting in person!

    gotta run but enjoyed your post! i was again in your beautiful area.. thanks!

  2. There are some advantages to not having cell service (so much for living in a ‘1st world” country) – you don’t get dependent on them. Your photos are beautiful.

    • Ron would agree with you. He hates using a phone and especially in Nicaragua. He won’t even answer the phone and leaves all communication to me. I told him he needs to at least try to communicate on the phone because I’m leaving for the states tomorrow. We’ll see!😉

  3. Everybody would be lost without their phones these days. What did we do before cell phones?

    I haven’t been texting long either, so I know not everyone knows how to do that. My husband had texting blocked on both our phones for a while. He has no interest in that at all. I had it unblocked on my phone because my sisters text each other all the time and our plan includes unlimited texting, so why not use it.

    It’s still a good idea to keep a book of phone numbers in case of emegencies. What if you have no cell service in certain areas?

    You got some great pics.

    • Thanks Sunni. I remember when we lived in a converted 1952 school bus in the middle of the Ozark Mountains. I wanted a cell phone. We had to walk to our closest neighbors to use their land line to make all phone calls. I checked into the price for one of the first cell phones in the 1980’s. Not only did it cost more than $800 a month, but it was as big as a refrigerator. Just kidding about the size, but it was huge and we couldn’t afford to buy one.

      • I hear ya. We didn’t have a land line growing up until way later and then it was a party line. Remember those? There’s no way we could have afforded a cell phone. I don’t think they existed before I was in my late twenties anyway.

  4. Theres always a reason, and a lesson…… a rhyme to the reason…perhaps.
    I’m a great believer that certain things like this always happen for a reason , a hidden one were not allowed to see at the moment ,,,or ,,,to see at the “right time.”
    Keep an open mind , and watch for any guidance into why all these events happened with such over whelming sychronicity to have you …not….meet up with them.
    Gods timing is precise ., faithful and justified ….all the time… and perhaps it may be ,,,,just a simple lesson of patience or letting go. Theres always a lesson…ugh!!!!!

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