Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Do I need to get a life (online)?
Do I need to get a life (online)?
(Note: this is a follow up to an earlier post, from Oct. 8, and has already appeared at http://www.top10costarica.com/ on Oct. 29, in a slightly different form).
When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it. - Bernard Bailey
I know that I have touched on this before, but since this is such a constant and recurring thing on various online forums about Costa Rica, I just can't leave it alone. I guess this is just so annoying to me, that I can't let it go. All of which leads us to yet another rhetorical question: Why do people jump onto a forum about CR, having never so much as visited the place, and announce to all and sundry that they are "READY TO MAKE THE MOVE," (have to put that in all caps, 'cause they always start out so enthusiastic), and then they proceed to ask a dozen open questions that were likely answered (many times) before all over the very forum on which they have posted their announcement?
One of the most irksome aspects of these posts is that they proceed to tell you certain pertinent facts about themselves, then list their personal requirements (prerequisites for happiness?) for their own space, and then demand (by implication) that the forum members now satisfy those demands. As in, "I have done such and so for x number of years, and am tired of that, so now I want to (fill in the blank). I live in a wet/dry, hot/cold, arid/temperate, good/bad, climate, and also have hay fever/asthma/emphysema/psoriasis/creeping crotch disease, and really need to be in a (fill in another blank) environment." Or, "I googled maps, and like the looks of the terrain around such and such a place, so who can tell me all about that place? Will I be happy there?"
Here's another I just love: "I don't speak Spanish, but I plan to learn" (as if one can just go out and tackle a new language after a lifetime of ignoring the fact that the world extends beyond the borders of their own ethnocentrism) "just as soon as I can. I already bought (another blank for you, naming the software program they have been conned into purchasing, guaranteed to teach them Spanish in just a few short weeks), and I have already finished the first two lessons."
And, you should already be aware that I just cringe when I read: "I have/I think I have _________disease/condition/syndrome/symptoms." Or, without mentioning their perceived medical condition, they will just start out with: "Please tell me the name of a good specialist in [blank area of medicine] who speaks English/is in the Caja/will let me see him in his private office (so I don't have to associate with all those Ticos/Nicas/Latins), and who will explain everything to me in excruciating detail, and answer all my questions, give me all of his/her time, and do all this for next to nothing." And, let's not forget, this specialist must be within a ten minute drive of their CV location, with ample free and guarded parking, English speaking car guards, and also close - in proximity - to American style shopping.
And, then you encounter a couple of variations of another type. They have either lived in CR already for anywhere from 2 months, to ten years, and now they want to be legal residents, or they have blindly and blithely decided to seek legal residence, without ever having visited the place. These two categories do have one thing in common, however. They haven't bothered to look up obvious things like, say Costa Rica, immigration, government websites, Costa Rica Embassy in Washington, D. C., their local phone book for a Costa Rican Consulate, or any of the clearly marked links at whatever forum they have come to. This category is further characterized as all of a sudden being in this tremendous hurry to get this whole thing done overnight, as in this is extremely urgent.
A very interesting variation on a theme is the gushing idiot who suddenly appears on a forum, posts something (more questions, but soon, his personal opinions start to creep into his posts, as he becomes an active member of the forum), and then, for days or even weeks, they are posting more and more and more, many times a day, virtually dominating the forum. You can easily visualize these freaks sitting in a little, cluttered room somewhere, frantically trying to get a life, however vicariously through their new internet/forum persona. They will announce – in all caps – that they are ready to make that move, and even describe in excruciating detail how they are progressing toward their goal of pulling up stakes, packing everything of importance, pulling the kids out of school (they frequently voice their intention to home school at this point), having the wife quit her job, making reservations (or, worse, asking the ageless question: "Should we drive to Costa Rica, with six kids, four dogs, three cats, and the cockatoo?"). The day approaches that they have announced as their departure from the old, dull, boring life dominated by the always interfering U. S. Gov't, and their arrival in paradise where they just know everything is going to be wonderful………..guess what? All of a sudden they disappear from whatever forum they have dominated for the last many months! Never a further peep out of them! How strange……..and, yet, I remember very clearly one such situation where I dared to point out the many inconsistencies in posts from one such poseur, over a period of some months. The end result was that I got jumped on for not being accepting of whatever crap he posted at face value, and – of course – for not encouraging the new kids on the block, and so on.
You see, I spent some years working as an investigator, and more than thirty years as a Nurse. If I learned one thing in those years, it is that, as one of my favorite TV characters (Dr. Greg House) is fond of saying, "Everybody lies." Everyone! No exceptions! And, yes, that includes me! I learned in my work to read people, and to look between the lines of what people write and behind the words that people say. If they reveal a certain thing about themselves, it usually implies something else, so, by asking pointed questions, one can actually pull a close approximation of the truth out of them. However, the questions you have to ask them usually make them uncomfortable, and they may well decide to decline to answer or continue to lie. What happens with these folks on online forums is that they usually just ignore my questions, and sit back and let the other forum members jump on me because I am not being sensitive enough.
I guess what gets me in trouble with all the feel good, PC, kinder, gentler folks is that I presume the negative about newcomers whose posts lack consistency, where they insist that one should assume only the positive, as in these folks are assumed to have good intentions. We all know what happens when we assume anything, and I think that I have come out being burned fewer times with my attitude than have the goodness and light crowd. Besides, let's not forget that Costa Rica has for a very long time been known as the land of the wanted and the unwanted, and that is no less true today than it was thirty or fifty years ago.
At any rate, there is now a forum about Costa Rica, where one can learn about living – legally - in the country from existing forum members. Newcomers should not expect to be mollycoddled, "nurtured," or in any way catered to. Instead, they will be encouraged to do some basic research in locations that provide real information, and real efforts will be made to share information for those seeking the path to legal residence in Costa Rica. It is called (coincidentally) CRRealists, and can be found at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CRRealists/. If you have any interest in Costa Rica as a possible place to live, take a look, and/or join in.