So yesterday was one of those days. One of those WTF days. One of those days you have to bite your tongue not to ask ‘Why?’ days.

My day yesterday started at about 2:30 am. This was the time that the San Felipe planta decided to ramp up. I think there must be a law that says they have to produce the most noise possible in the middle of the night. Or they are just sadistic so and so’s! I don’t know, but the noise was so loud there was no chance of getting back to sleep. Though I did catch up on my reading!

By the time I got out of bed my head was aching and rather fuzzy. And the noise wasn’t over yet. When I hit the street for my morning walk with Mia some trick of the air or the terrain created surround sound planta screech. Until we got far enough away we were just enveloped in noise. Oh, and did I mention the toxic bunker fuel smell? No? Well, there was a heavy crude diesel smell all night too.

As the morning progressed the planta subsided somewhat. But then the heavy trucks started roaring up our road in what seemed like an endless stream. Up our rough road, rattling violently along and grinding gears and spewing their own toxic diesel stink and clouds of dust.

You’re getting the picture here, right? Long noisy night. Long noisy morning.

So I finally take my lunch break. Sit down with my sandwich to eat and watch a little Netflix and focus my eyes on something further away than a computer screen. Turn the volume up to compensate for the planta roar and pause my show for the trucks. I’m dealing with it. I think.

And then the helicopters start. Right over my house. One every 5 minutes or so it seems. It’s like being in an episode of M*A*S*H. I expect to hear Radar yelling ‘incoming’ from my yard. I turn the TV off so as not to wear out the pause button.

Okay, so now we’ve got constant planta roar, frequent truck rattle and roar and even more frequent helicopter thith thith thith roar.

Oh and, of course, the occasional loud moto roar.

I try deep breathing. I would try chanting ‘ommm’ but I don’t think I can handle the additional noise.

I go back to my desk and try to get something done. I try to ignore it. I try to get used to it. It can’t get any worse.

Oh, but yes it can.

The planta releases pressure and the noise from the middle of the night suddenly seems like a lullaby. It’s now an ear-piercing, high-pitched, hot poker through the head, god knows how many decibels screaming sound.  

You can’t breathe deep enough to deal with this. It’s hard to even breathe because this noise is just ripping through your body now.

Is it rum o’clock yet?

But there’s an upside. I can’t even hear the rattling and roaring trucks anymore. Or the thith thith thith roaring helicopters. Or the loud roaring motos.  It’s surreal. I can see them drive by or fly over but I can’t hear them. This is what it must feel like to be deaf.

Except for the planta screaming. Please somebody put it out of its misery! Or me out of mine.

And it got me thinking of the things we get used to here. In this case – noise.

I barely even hear the roosters crowing at odd hours anymore. Or the chickens sounding like they are laying an egg – which they probably are. Or the dogs barking. Or even the loud music or evangelical preacher coming up from the barrio. These are just part of my environment now. Just background noise.

And, for the most part, the motos and trucks are the same. I take a deep breath, pause and then go on. It’s just life here.

The planta quietly roaring in the background and spewing plumes of smoke into the air is not ideal, but I tell myself that it means we have power most of the time now.

And I have even come to terms with the helicopters – to a certain extent. Kinda.

We get used to these ambient noises. We adapt. We deal.

There’s a lot we get used to here (I actually spelt that hear at first – Freudian much!) that I don’t think many of us thought would be possible in our former lives.

But eventually the noise subsided and it was finally rum o’clock and all of it disappeared with the laughter and good company of wonderful friends. Listening to the sound of the ocean as our background music.

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