An Absurd Reality


Dear Friends,

The dawn chorus awakened me this morning. Instead of jumping out of
bed, I spent some minutes admiring the sturdy wooden beams that adorn
our ceiling. Through the window, I beheld the web-like pattern the fluffy
white clouds were making against the beautiful blue sky. I breathed deeply,
aware that Nature’s magic is not to be taken for granted. Get out early today
and enjoy the feast for the eyes that never fails to amaze and lift our spirits.

I had a very interesting experience on Friday when I visited our local Vital
Records Office. It had been a while since I was last there and the new truth
confronting me is that I am not the only one who is undergoing changes! My
former contact person has been promoted and sent to the San José office. The
news surprised me and it took me several minutes to adjust to being asked to
show identification to the stranger who is now working in that position.

As is typical of our small town, the clerk was friendly and took a long time to
outline in writing what I needed to bring for the certifications I requested.
When he told me I needed to purchase a tax stamp, I replied that I thought the
country had done away with those. He answered that while the physical stamps
were no longer required, I would have to go to the bank to pay the tax and bring
proof when I came to pick up the documents. I smiled at the situation, glad I
had lots of time since the bank and the Vital Records office are a distance apart.
This is Costa Rica and that’s just the way it is!

I arrived at the bank and sat awaiting my turn. I don’t venture to the bank that
much anymore since most transactions can be done on the internet. I was again
surprised by how many of the “old” tellers have retired and been replaced by
(young) strangers! I was ready with my identification, feeling nostalgic for the
old days when everyone knew my name. When I finally reached a teller, he was
confused and argumentative about my transaction. It felt like he was refusing
to “sell” me the 20 sets of tax proofs (since they have no expiration, I thought
I would get extras!) and he wanted to send me back to the Vital Records office
to confirm what I needed.

By this time, I was no longer smiling at the situation. I remained calm and told
the young man that in his computer system there must be a chart that outlined
the fees for my transaction. If you’ve been to BCR you know all the tellers have
an audience so everyone was privy to our conversation, including his supervisor
who was standing behind him and greeted me by name. He was frustrated but he
humored me and in a few minutes was printing and stamping the required proofs.
The fees came to about $0.75 and the transaction took 20 minutes! This absurd
reality made both of us laugh, the silver lining in this anecdote!

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

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