Exercise 1

A. Listen to Frank talk about a bad decision he made. What was his decision? Why was it a bad one?

B. Listen again. Are these statements true or false? Choose the correct answer.




1  Frank and his neighbor were good friends.

2  Frank knew he was allergic to cats.

3  Frank marked his calendar to remember to feed the cat.

4  Frank forgot what time his train was going to leave.

5  Frank remembered to feed the cat on Saturday.

Answers & Audioscripts


Frank’s bad decision was agreeing to take care of his neighbor’s cat. It was a bad decision because he didn’t know his neighbor well, he was too busy at work to take care of the cat, and he’s allergic to cats.


1 False   2 True   3 False

4 False   5 True


Have I ever made any bad decisions? Me? Oh yeah, all the time. I made a terrible decision just the other day. My next door neighbor knocked on my door and said she was going to visit her sister in Canada for a week. Then she asked me if I could feed her cat while she was away. I didn’t know her very well, but she said the person who usually takes care of her cat couldn’t do it this time. And without even thinking about it, I said I’d help her.

This was just a terrible decision. I mean, for one thing, I’m allergic to cats. I mean really allergic. And also, I knew I was going to be really busy at work – I mean really busy – and there was no way I’d have time to take care of her cat properly. And on top of that, I’m a really absent-minded person in general. I forget stuff all the time. That’s why I don’t have pets. I don’t even have a plant!

But my neighbor made me feel like I had to help, I guess. So, I agreed to do it. And the problems started right away. I was supposed to start feeding the cat on Thursday morning, but I just forgot to do it. I should have marked my calendar so I wouldn’t forget. But I didn’t. I mean, I told myself to mark the calendar, but I never did. The next thing I knew it was Thursday afternoon, and I was in the middle of a meeting at work, and suddenly I remembered. So I had to leave work early to go home and feed the cat.

Then, the next day, I knew I needed to leave work on time to catch the train home and feed the cat. But my boss said I had to stay late to finish this report. So I missed that train, and the next one didn’t come for an hour. When I finally got home, the cat was OK, luckily. But he was pretty hungry, and he was mad at me, I guess, because he scratched me.

Then it was the weekend. I brought the cat over to my own apartment. I thought it would be easier to remember it that way. But, I really shouldn’t have done that because of my allergies. I remembered to feed the cat, but I was sneezing all weekend.

Exercise 2

A. Listen to Ray (R), Felipe (F), and Jennifer (J) talk about a problem that they each had. What did each person finally do about the problem? Write the correct letter.

___ ignored it

___ dealt with it

___ aggravated it

B. Listen again. Briefly describe each person’s problem.

Ray: ______________________

Felipe: ______________________

Jennifer: ______________________

Answers & Audioscripts


ignored it: J

dealt with it: F

aggravated it: R


Ray: He started jogging too soon after he twisted his ankle.

Felipe: His neighbor leaves old cars in the front yard and makes a lot of noise when he’s fixing them.

Jennifer: She didn’t do the work she was supposed to do on a school project with a friend. Then she avoided her friend.


1   Ray

The problem that I had . . . well, it was a real learning experience. You see, I went to the doctor for my yearly checkup. I think it was last spring. And, anyway, the doctor said I’d gained some weight and – and this was a surprise to me – but he said my health wasn’t really too good. He told me I needed to start exercising and eating better. So, I got one of those low-fat cookbooks. And I started jogging around my neighborhood. And you know, at first I felt great! But then, one day I was jogging, and I guess I was pushing myself too hard, and I fell and twisted my ankle. So, after that, I didn’t do any exercise for a few days. And I started to feel really lazy and unhealthy, so – and here’s where I made my mistake – I started jogging again, even though my ankle was still a little sore. I really shouldn’t have done that. I should have gone to the doctor about it and followed his advice. Well, surprise, surprise, after a few days of that, I was running and I felt this awful pain. It was just terrible – it hurt so much. I could barely walk home. So I went to the doctor after that – finally. He told me that I shouldn’t have started running again so soon. That just aggravated the problem. Now I can’t go jogging for a couple of months.

2   Felipe

The problem was our next-door neighbor, Eddie. It got so bad that I just wanted to move out and sell my house, but then I figured no one would buy it. You see, my neighbor’s hobby is fixing up old cars that he can sell later. That’s fine, I guess, but he always runs into some problem while he’s fixing them up, and then he just quits. So the cars just sit there in the front yard. Right now, he’s got three out there, and they’re horrible to look at. For a long time, I didn’t say anything, but I kept getting madder and madder. Then last Saturday morning, at about seven o’clock, Eddie was out there working on a car and making so much noise it woke us up! Well, I had to do something. So I stomped out there in my pajamas and started yelling. Of course, Eddie started yelling back. It got pretty bad. I guess I shouldn’t have done that. So later that day, when I was a little calmer, I went out and suggested he build a fence so I wouldn’t have to look at that mess. He thought it was a good idea, surprisingly, but he also thought I should pay half the cost. We haven’t solved the problem yet, but at least we’re dealing with it. We’re talking about it like adults.

3   Jennifer

One time, my best friend Keiko and I were supposed to work on a big school project together. It started off OK. We figured out what needed to be done, and then we divided the work between us. The problem was . . . I didn’t do the work I was supposed to do. Keiko kept calling me, and I kept making excuses – you know, just ignoring the whole problem. The day before we had to hand it in, I had to tell her that I hadn’t done my share. She worked all day and all night and finished the project by herself. The teacher loved it and told the class what a great team Keiko and I were. I didn’t say anything, and neither did Keiko. I avoided her in class that week, and when she called me, I didn’t answer or call her back. See, I really hated confrontation. I couldn’t deal with problems like that. I thought it was better to just pretend there was nothing wrong. I thought Keiko might be mad for a couple of days and then forget about it. That was five years ago. Now, when I see Keiko, she just says hello and keeps walking. I guess I should have apologized right away. Then I might have avoided the whole problem. Or better yet, I should have just done my share of the work.

Exercise 3

A. Listen to Sheila and Adam discussing some myths and mysteries researched by the TV show Solving Mysteries. Choose the ones discovered to be true.

 Using a cell phone can cause a fire at a gas station.

 Talking to plants for a short time will help them grow better.

 A person can break a glass using just his or her voice.

 Yawning is contagious.

B. Listen again. What ideas did Sheila and Adam originally have? Answer the questions.

 How did Sheila think that cell phones could cause fires?


 Why did Adam doubt that talking to plants could help them grow?


 Why did Sheila have trouble believing voices could break a glass?


 Why didn’t Adam believe that yawning could be contagious?


Answers & Audioscripts


The true ones are 3 and 4.


 She thought the energy a cell phone produces could ignite gasoline.

 Because he thought plants couldn’t understand what we say to them.

 Because she thought our voices didn’t have enough power.

 Because he thought yawning only expresses one person’s own tiredness or boredom. If others weren’t tired or bored, they wouldn’t yawn.


Sheila:   Hey, Adam. Where did you call me from earlier? It was so noisy.

Adam:   A gas station. I called while I was filling up my tank.

Sheila:   Oh, no! You shouldn’t have called me from there! I heard it’s dangerous to use a cell phone at a gas station.

Adam:   Really?

Sheila:   Yes! Cell phones produce microwave radiation, you know, the beam of energy that sends the message. I believe it can ignite gasoline.

Adam:   Oh, so that’s what you’re worried about. Well, you don’t have to worry anymore. It’s not really true, Sheila. They investigated that question on an episode of Solving Mysteries, that TV show that exposes the truth about everyday myths and mysteries.

Sheila:   Solving Mysteries? I love that show.

Adam:   Yeah, it’s great. Well, as I was saying, on this one episode, they experimented with cell phones and gasoline, and they found that it’s not actually possible to cause a gasoline explosion with a cell phone. The real danger is an electrical spark caused by static electricity – you know, the kind of spark you get when you touch a doorknob after walking across a carpet. But that has nothing to do with cell phones.

Sheila:   Oh, I guess I must have missed that episode. But I loved the one around the question of whether talking to plants really helps them grow. Did you see it?

Adam:   No, I don’t think so. But I wouldn’t think that talking to plants helps with their growth. I mean, plants can’t understand what we say to them, right?

Sheila:   Well, that’s true, but a scientific study showed that plant growth actually speeds up if you expose the plants to certain sounds for a long time. So talking to plants for a long time might actually help them. But, of course, the amount of time any normal person would have to talk to plants doesn’t help them.

Adam:   Interesting. But I still don’t think I’ll start talking to my plants.

Sheila:   That’s OK. I don’t do it, and my plants are all doing fine.

Adam:   Do you remember when Solving Mysteries investigated whether a singer can break a glass using just his or her voice?

Sheila:   I didn’t see that one. But it sounds too incredible to believe. Our voices just don’t have that kind of power.

Adam:   Well, it’s true that most of us can’t do it, but a few people really can break crystal glasses using just their voices. They have to sing just the right note. I saw a rock singer do it. First, he tapped the side of the glass. He listened to the ringing sound the glass made and then sang that same note very, very loudly. It only took a few seconds before the glass shattered.

Sheila:   Wow! I wish I’d seen that one. The last episode of Solving Mysteries I saw was kind of boring. It was exploring whether yawning is contagious.

Adam:   You mean, if other people around me yawn, will I start yawning?

Sheila:   Exactly.

Adam:   Well, when I yawn I express my own tiredness or boredom. If other people aren’t tired or bored, they won’t yawn just because I do.

Sheila:   Well, actually, scientists believe that people yawn when someone else does as a way of expressing their connection with that person.

Adam:   Hmm . . . I don’t know about that.

Sheila:   No, really. Researchers have even found contagious yawning among chimpanzees, but mostly among chimpanzees that are part of the same group, and therefore have a bond or connection with each other.

Adam:   I suppose that could be true. Maybe I should have yawned when you yawned a few minutes ago. I guess that would have made us better friends?

Sheila:   That’s OK, Adam. You can communicate with me using language. We’re not chimpanzees, after all!

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