(To read El Gringo Feo’s Costa Rica Diary from the beginning, start here.)
Sunday, September 2
The nearby hoots of howlers burst into my room this morning. Those are my peeps. I know those guys. I wonder if that’s Big Balls leading the chorus …
The rest of yesterday felt anticlimactic after my monkey encounter. I went on a supply run earlier in the day and spent most of the afternoon reading. When it came time for evening vespers, I almost bailed, listening warily to distant thunder-rumble in the mountains, dreading the thought of getting caught under a metal-roofed shack on a hill.
But then I said, what the hell. You only live once.
It looked as if the storm might skirt north of me so I ascended the driveway. But at sunset — 5:43 p.m., to be exact — the clouds closed pincerlike, forcing sol to sink with a whimper.
Thunder bolt and lightning
very very frightening me
This poor boy fandangoed down the gravel driveway amid bangs and flashes and rainfall. After a dinner of leftover veggie calzone, I listened to the next lecture of Writing Great Fiction, the Great Courses audiobook I’m working through. That spawned a few hours of fevered keyboard pecking as I did that lecture’s exercise and started fleshing out a few key characters I want to introduce in The Book. The whole time, the sound of rainfall punctuated a series of albums I listened to — Open (Cowboy Junkies), Maggot Brain (Funkadelic), and Faithless Street (Whiskey Town). Three very different yet common-themed masterpieces. Eddie Hazel’s guitar work on the song “Maggot Brain” is simply brilliant. It’s criminal that he doesn’t fully get his due while we drool over every outtake available from Jimi Hendrix.
All of this, sadly, was heard via portable speaker. While it sounds good, it’s no match for my AirPods. After 72 hours on rice, I pulled my recently laundered gadgets out, plugged them in and … nothing. DOA. They did not survive a vigorous spin in the washing machine. Can’t say I’m surprised. But I already miss them.
AirPods, a Eulogy (2016-2018)
Rest in Peace, my friends. Your time on this mortal coil was not in vain, short as it might have been.
You let me smile benignly at 30,000 feet while infants screamed and jet engines droned.
You filled me with the History of English as I walked SunnyDog through bucolic Athens.
You helped me get my head around Alan Moore’s epic, wonderful, astounding, confounding Jerusalem
You pissed me off when you popped and blipped and fizzed, trying to stay in phase
You made a middle-aged man look kinda cool while he rocked across campus with a head full of Hot Tuna.
You freed me from the tyranny of the tether, letting me pace the halls during endless conference calls.
You proved these damned millennials aren’t so bad, especially the one who endured my Apple Fanboy taunts and finally convinced me to buy you.
You converted me from hater to evangelist, preaching your merits to my wife and all who would listen
Fare thee well. I’ll think of you every time that damned cord rips the earbuds out of my head, making the music stop.
Odds and sods
I’ve spotted two new-to-me birds in the past few days. The first were a pair of kites who were being harassed by yellow fly-catchers up near the shack. I heard them first, which prompted me to start scanning for hawks. I know that sound. Then I spotted them. The agitation of the nearby fly-catchers confirmed they were raptors, and based on size and color, I’m confident they were kites.
The second was a pair of birds it took me a while to ID, and I’m not certain I have it right. But I’m pretty sure. They were hopping around in the trees long the driveway, eating berries and making a godawful racket. I believe they were brown jays based on the white underside, brown top and shrieks which sound very much like the bluejays at home.