September 2, 2007

Welcome to the 20th Century!

Well, well, well...
We got a telephone! As you know, Angela and I recently moved here to Berlin. We thought that nothing compliments a place to live quite like a telephone. So we ordered a phone line to be put in. To do that, we had to go to my by-now-nemesis, the ICE, or Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad. We went to the branch in San Ramon, since we technically live in the area of San Ramon. There, the friendly agent told us it would take anywhere from a year to two years to install the phone, since the box in Berlin was evidently full. He pointed out, though, that some of the lines from the box were broken, and that the agency could possibly fix them, which would free up a line for us. Still, he said that it might take a long time for it to “occur to” the ICE to fix the lines, which is why he gave us the 1 to 2 year waiting estimate.
We left the agency, and I showered a flurry of profanity and anti-bureaucratic insults at the ICE’s door. I was a bit annoyed. I mean, a phone isn’t totally necessary, but it still kind of sucks to be cut off from the outside world. Angela does have a cell phone, but there’s hardly any reception here in the mountains, which makes a cell phone even more annoying and intolerable. Also, if you have a phone line here, you can at least get internet, even if it is dial-up (official motto: “Better Than Nothing, But Just Barely.”) That saves us a drive to town to use an internet café.
In the meantime, I also talked with Angela and found out something quite interesting. As it turns out, there wasn’t even a telephone at all in Berlin until about 10 years ago! Not even a public one. In fact, the ICE didn’t install a phone until the people from Berlin and two neighboring towns gathered together and demanded phone service. And this is like 1997 we’re talking about. It’s weird to think that my grandma grew up with a phone but my wife didn’t. In any case, I guess I should be happy that the ICE didn’t install a series of soup cans connected with string.
So, we weren’t sure what to do. Then it occurred to me: why the hell were we trusting the ICE? Those guys are so full of shit that it wouldn’t have surprised me if they had already had a phone installed in our house and just didn’t know about it. Well, that wasn’t the case, but we did try talking to the people in the branch in Palmares, a little city that I am beginning to like more and more. I went to the counter and told the guy my situation. I told him that the guys in San Ramon said it’d take up to two years to put in the line, and he said, “Oh, for God’s sake…” and pulled out a map. In about 3 minutes he’d found a different box in Berlin, and put in an order for the line. We had a phone two days later. So, the Soviet-style sons-of-bitches in San Ramon can suck shit (See that? Repeating the initial sounds of words? It’s called alliteration, specifically consonance, since I’m repeating the sounds of a consonant. I guess I do learn something by teaching my students about poetry…). And Palmares has another feather in its cap.
Now, we just have to get some decent internet. The guy at the agency in Palmares told us we should call their office every week until they gave up and installed it. Hasta la victoria siempre, I guess. But we do have a phone now, and if you ever want to call it, the number is 452-3357. If you’re calling from outside Costa Rica, the country code is (506). The website has some good, cheap phone cards. So, let’s talk.
Also, I’ve finally been adding some crap to, the flagship website of Sitzco Amalgamated Enterprises, LLC. The site is coming along nicely, and has a few new pages. I’m adding stuff every week, though, and I hope that people will check it out (and will someone tell Andy Parsons he can start checking it again every day?). You can start at the “What's New?" tab on the left, so you can see what’s been added recently.
That’s it for now. Hope you’re all well!

365: Picture a Day Project    365 Leftovers    All My Pictures    Sitzbook


Anonymous said...

What does amalgamated mean anyways? We saw it on the side of a truck down here about 8 months ago and have been baffled by the word ever since. That doesn't mean we haven't been using it excessively in all forms of speech. Just wondering. Amalgamate you later.


Sitzman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sitzman said...

I don't know. I always assumed it was something dirty, like a combination of "balls" and "monkey fart." It isn't?


Jennifer said...

Wow. I wasn't sure that there was a less efficient place than Brazil, but congratulations. You officially have the bigger headache. I'm glad that now you can at least tell us about it!