The other night, I returned to my island, after an eventful day that included:
A fastcraft ride with a lady clearly taking pictures of me with her cell phone;
Waiting for a bus on a pier so thoroughly inundated with the smell of urine that it made me seriously question my previously unwavering support for the Filipino male tendency to urinate in the great outdoors, then wandering over to take a picture of a decrepit and rusty version of the boat I just rode, wasting away on the beach, and noticing a kid just openly defecating on the beach – the first time I have seen that here;
Taking a bus ride that provided some thrilling views and awe/fear inspiring turns, a regular Disney ride (knowing in the back of your mind that sometimes they have serious injuries occur on Disney rides) with the unfortunate addition of a screeching horn that makes the bus sound like a diseased weasel hurtling through lesser, slower forms of life;
Losing my cell phone on a bumpy trike ride, ordering (and paying double my already-inflated fare) for a fruitless search of my phone;
Wandering up and down a somewhat grimy dive colony, looking for “4-American-Friends-3-White-and-1-Chinese” while realizing that this was probably what detectives had to do when they didn’t have the benefit of contacting their snoop subject via cell phone – I managed to be shown the rooms they had stayed in the previous night, was offered the room key to their place for this night, and found where they had gone diving before, but no THEM, until at last! There they were.
And more happenings, like calling my phone to find that it had already been found, stolen, and de-SIM-carded, meaning I had no viable way of tracking down an honest person who found it, because an honest person didn’t find it;
Grabbing a sandwich to go and going on the fastest boat period that I’ve been on in this
Snorkeling a little bit because I’m still afraid my throat will seize up if I cough too hard while I’m diving;
Having some dinner while playing Settlers of Catan and watching a beautiful sunset; catching a ride with locals back to the highway and getting to pay the true fare (5 times cheaper than the tourist fare!);
Waiting for an hour for a bus to come while impressing some locals with my language skills/going through the motions of the same inane conversation about “chicks” that we’ve all had a million times, finally catching the bus, the last boat, and arriving back on my island.
While I was on the bus, I thought about how dependent we are on cell phones for meeting people. Back in the day, you would name a time and a place, and that was that. [Or you wouldn’t even do that. I once read about a study where New Yorkers were asked to name where they would meet somebody in the city, if they had no agreed time or place, they just had to meet. An overwhelming amount independently chose the clock at Grand Central Station, 12:00 noon. I wonder where it would be for Seattle – I’d probably choose the middle of Westlake Plaza. UW, HUB front stairs. But where do you choose for a dive colony in the Philippines you’ve never been to before, and the time is now?] Cell phones make it more complicated and easier at the same time. But what happens when the paradigm shifts mid-plan? You lose your phone before setting an on-the-go time and place, and you end up wandering around up and down a hideously developed dive colony, telling the sunglasses/rolex/Viagra man three times that you don’t want any of his products, while thinking about what could have been in this day, in this place. You could have put the bloody phone in the pocket with the zipper, or your bag, or any number of other rough-road-immune places, there’s so many ways I could have not lost my phone. They could have kept the shoreline free and open, put the resorts off the beach, never made any seawalls, and created/preserved a place 30 times more beautiful, there’s so many people who could have not screwed this up. Sayang.