Good Luck, Bad Luck?
If you did not read my previous post – “Busted in Guam“, now is a good time. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Just as every day has two halves, this day was no different. That morning was like having a near miss of sorts, and the afternoon… well, it went something like this:
After the police politely interrupted our morning trek, we made it back to the car at Family Beach without further incident. There we finished up our snacks and I jumped in the ocean for about a 30 minute snorkel while Teri got caught up on her “social” media, while hanging out in the shade. After chasing a Clown Fish around for a while, I dried off and packed up the car. We headed out to do a couple of errands before heading home for a shower and a nap.
Once we arrived back at the homestead, I quickly realized that I did not have my snorkel and mask. It was missing. I immediately surmised that it was still at Family Beach where I hung it on a tree branch while I was drying off after snorkeling. Because this was my diving mask, I had to make the effort to head back to the beach to see if by some luck chance it was still there. My odds were not good as the beach BBQ crowds were just beginning to arrive about the time we left. I had no choice but to drive the 20 minutes back to Cabras Island just to see how good my luck was. I mean after all, I narrowly escaped a prison sentence earlier in the morning for “Federal Trespass” and if my luck would hold, my mask would be there.
So, priorities overruled my nap and back in the car and down the road I went. Once I got to Family Beach, it was just about half-packed with afternoon beachgoers, jet skiers, and grill masters. I instantly had a sinking feeling that my gear was no longer where I left it.
As I drove to the spot we had taken up earlier, there was a younger blonde woman and her small little girl in the beachhead shallows, along with a giant dog tied to the very tree I intended to visit. I already noticed from a distance that there was an article of clothing hanging from the same branch where I had hung my mask. Once I parked and approached the site, the women said “Oh, you are the one who left the snorkel and mask.” About that time I noticed the young girls shirt was draped over the mask, partially hiding it. She further offered “I’m glad you came back to get it.” While she sounded sincere enough, I’m not sure what her intentions of hiding the mask were. I guess she could have easily tossed the mask and snorkel in the trunk of her car and called it a day. I’m certain though that if I did not come back before she packed up, she would have packed up my gears also. But, luck was apparently on my side this day, I thanked her and proceeded to head home.
As I exited the beachhead parking area, a Guam police vehicle pulled out just ahead of me and proceeded to lead me down the access road toward the paved road which was the only way in and out. I was sure relieved to have my gear back but was now somewhat annoyed that this officer, who was in a 4-wheel drive police vehicle, was travelling at break-neck speed of about 1/2 MPH. I followed him for over a quarter-mile as he wove his way back and forth across the road, right to left, avoiding ruts and pot holes along this gravel and coral based road. Eventually, he slowed way down and pulled completely over to the left side of the road and I felt this was my opportunity to get around him. As I was talking to Teri on my cell phone about finding my mask, I proceeded to overtake him on the right. I’m not sure what he was doing driving so slow on the wrong side of the road, but I was having nothing to do with that. I mean, I had a nap on my schedule and that was that!
Well, as I was having nothing to do with his driving like a snail, he was also gonna have nothing to do with someone overtaking him on the wrong side while illegally talking on their cell phone. Yup, my luck just ran out. This is a great example of how one (me) thinks and acts after living in the Philippines for 4 years. The problem was, I wasn’t thinking (except about a long nap).
So, I pass him and he immediately lights me up and pulls me over. He asks me for my license and registration and I complied. He looked over my Philippine driver’s license and asked “how long have you been on the island?” I replied “I just returned about two weeks ago.” It was then he informed me that he pulled me over for illegally overtaking a police vehicle AND operating a motor vehicle while using a cell phone. At this time I offered up my explanation (even though I am sure most cops have heard every excuse ever conceived or concocted, my ego took over and I suggested to him “I thought you were pulling over and stopping as you were completely on the wrong side of the road.” He then countered with “I was avoiding the bumps and holes and you should never question a police officers driving intentions!” “I’m sorry” I replied. He then proceeded to tell me it was illegal to drive and use a cell phone at the same time to which I countered “I’m sorry officer, I did not know.” He then asked me how long had I been living in the Philippines and I told him about 4 years. With raised eyebrows, he nodded in acknowledgement and I think he understood. I was not from around here, I was new on the island, and he would forgive me. Yes! That is exactly what happened… my good luck streak continued.
He told me to have a nice day and to NEVER talk and drive at the same time (as it was against the law here on Guam and on the Mainland) as he handed me back my license and registration. He said “Because you are new on the island, I will only give you a verbal warnning. Welcome to Guam!” After I politely agreed that I was an idiot, I thanked hime. He went back to his car, and I then headed home. With him following me, I can assure you I was to abide by every rule of the road known to man the entire trip back to the house. I was not taking any more chances this day. After all, if I could make it home without any further interference, I still had time for my nap… which I did.
Lesson learned – Just because I can still enjoy beautiful beaches, drink San Miguel beer and eat Piattos potato chips, it doesn’t mean I can still act like I am (Retired in Samar) in the Philippines!