Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Got Nerves of will need them to live here. Part I

Though life in Costa Rica has many benefits, one must understand it has it's share of problems also. One advantage to reading blogs is, perhaps, to glean a little insight and avoid a few potholes. Part II will follow.

I think we northerners have different requirements than the native Costa Ricans, that life can require much more flexibility than what I ever imagined. I find my most difficult times are the days I need to pay bills. After paying bills automatically for so many years, and I hardly ever wrote a check or carried cash in my purse, this is stepping back, in some respects, perhaps into my parents time of experiences. The catch22 is that the technology is here in Costa Rica also, but the knowledge has not caught up with it yet. They are operating on memorization, just like they do in the schools here. They have memorized how to do things on a computer, but have no understanding of what they are doing, or at least of what consequence it may have. And correcting errors, or undoing the mess, is out of the question.

Without going into the long, believe me, long story of my banking adventure...I will suggest that you embrace alternatives to banking at Banco National, here/after called BN. I knew when I went to the bank to pay three bills, the same ones I pay each month shortly after the first of the month, that, this being so close to a holiday, I may have to wait for a while. And I was "tranquilo" with that. I waited patiently in line for over an hour to get to the cashier, giving her enough forms of ID, my USA bank card, list of bills and their account numbers, and was fully prepared to be asked for everything short of my first born. As usual, she took my card into Neverland, and after a short wait, she returned only to tell me that my card was regetted! Imagine that! Due to my stunned look, I'm sure, she replied that she had ran the card twice and handed me one "declined" notice. I begged, "Please", (in my broken Spanish) "run it one more time, plllleeeease." She went back and moments later, returned, as through a revolving door, and told me "no" again. Now, I am tired, my back aches, and I wonder why I had not gotten in the MUCH shorter "Aged, and Handicap" line. As I turn to leave and try to figure out "What the Hell am I going to do?", I see the line is just as long as it was when I came in an hour and a half ago. I decide to go to the bank about a mile up the road, and get dollars out of the ATM at a bank where I can not use my MasterCard bank card at the teller, they only give you money for Visa cards, but I can get money out of the ATM. Are you starting to see the irony in all of this? I get as much as I can out of the ATM, remember most cards have a daily limit, and drive back to BN, with cash in hand, not enough, but to pay 2 bills, and part of another, thinking I will return on another day hoping the line will be shorter to pay the remainder of the bill, when I can get more money out of the ATM. Does this sound like fun? I go into BN, and yes, the line was just as long, so I stepped into the line with 8 or so people, the "Aged and Handicap" line. I wait for my turn, get to the teller, and he tells me "I am not old enough!", and I am betwixt reaching through the hole in the glass, and kissing him, or something less sensual. And for the record, I am old enough! He points at the LONG line, and says I must go to THAT line. I made it perfectly clear that I was not going into THAT line, and waved my fist full of dollars at him. I remember babbling something about having been here before, and NO, I was not going to that line, and take my money! At this point, the lady teller next to him, who had originally 'declined' my card, got his attention, and said that she would take me next. He was relieved, and I would not have to resort to obscene gestures. After paying my bills, and happily walking to my car, I realized I just spent two and a half hours trying to pay 3 bills, and would still have to come back for another episode. Reruns are hell.

No comments: