Sunday, July 25, 2010

Is A Picture Worth A Thousand Words?

it's said that a picture is worth a thousand words. well... i don't have a picture for this one. the story will have to do. as background to the story, all the single brothers that work at the site take turns during the week doing guard's not a difficult assignment, the office we sleep in is a small structure made out of plywood with a tin roof, we have an air conditioner and a fold down bed, simple but comfortable enough. the site is about a fifteen minute drive from where i live on the island. last monday was my night for guard duty. i drive to the site at 8:30, do a quick walk around the grounds and the go into the office, set the alarm clock, and go to bed. the alarm clock goes off, i wake up, but it's still dark outside(sun rises around 5:30 am) i check my phone and i realize i set the alarm wrong, it's 2:30 in the morning not 5:30 ( quick explanation- my phone has been on airplane mode since i left hawaii, so it's still synced with the time in hawaii, hence why my phone's alarm went off at the wrong time) i still have three hours of sleep! since i'm up though, i decide i'm going to go outside and check the site and use the restroom. i grab a flashlight and unlock the door and head outside. all is normal i thought. i walk back to the office and turn the door knob and.... it's locked. i am in a state of disbelief. i turn the handle again, still locked. my disbelief is turning into sadness. as i turn the handle one more time, (this time accompanied with a violent shaking of the door) raindrops begin to fall on my sad face. there i am standing in flip flops, a t shirt, and a pair of shorts, in the middle of nowhere 7,000 miles away from home. i turn off the flashlight, because if you cry in the dark, you're not really crying, your eyes are just sweating. once my denial of the situation had passed, and it was apparent the no amount of prayer was going to make the keys pop out of the office, i assessed the situation. 1) i'll find some way to pick the lock or break into the office 2) i'll sleep in the car till everyone shows up to the site 3) i'll walk home. i liked option 1. surely i could find something around the site to pick the lock of the door and save myself from the humiliation of telling anyone this story! clearly, option 1 failed. after an hour of failed attempts(you'd think that on a construction site you could find something rather quickly to help you pick a lock. nope. everything gets locked into containers at the end of the work day. everything)- searching through the garbage in search of a plastic knife, using a machete to pry the door open, breaking a cd into sharp pieces to pick the lock, using a razorblade to try and move the locke, etc... accompanied with each failed attempt was the sound of the ac unit turning on inside the office, mocking me and reminding me of where i could be, where i so desperately wanted to be. i'd look down at my feet with the gloom of sadness and frustration hanging over my head, and i'd see four to five mosquitos enjoying my ankles as their midnight snack. it was time for the next option. i decided quickly that option 2 was never really an option. the car was hot and humid( cars here are not like cars back home, this car was not designed for comfort but rather to get you from point A to point B and thats all) and i realized that there would be nothing worse or more humiliating than having the crew arrive at 8:00 am well rested and with a belly full of food, seeing me there, hungry and tired, in my shorts and flip flops, and being forced to explain the whole story. that would not be my fate. option 3 was no longer a plan, it was a reality. with my dying flashlight i started my long journey back to my home. it was 3:30 in the morning, thankfully it was no longer raining, but it was very dark. there aren't really any street lights in kosrae( which is nice on a night with a clear sky, it's breathtaking. the only breathtaking thing on this night was the walk home.... and my constant sobbing, my eyes were really sweating.) so the walk of shame was dark, very dark. you'd think that walking home on a small island in the middle of the pacific ocean would be serene and peaceful, a time to reflect and ponder over the great mysteries of life( like how on earth did i lock myself out of the office). you would be wrong. there is a lot of wildlife on this island and they all seem to think that the road is a great place to come together and socialize at night. if the streets were lit up it would be no problem that there were giant frogs all over the place. but since they are not lit, walking becomes... an adventure. every dog on the island seems to be awake tonight, and it's their duty to inform the next dog of my arrival. some want to chase you, some want to taste you. fortunately for me, at this time of night/morning my disposition was such that i almost welcomed a dog to come at me. i was ready rumble. maybe they sensed this, because for the most part on this night, the dogs left me alone. halfway through my walk home i remembered that just over the next hill was the police station. i'll post a picture of the police station soon, but the station is a story in itself. i figured it was worth a shot to go up to the station and see if anyone was awake and if they were, maybe they would give me a ride home. i walk into the office and it's dark, no lights on except for one room down the hall. with cobwebs and spiders illuminating from my flashlight i walk down the hall to the office. i knock on the glass window and i startle a dozing "police" officer. i explain my situation to him and i can't help but wonder what is going through his mind. he calls his supervisor and asks if he can take me home. i again explain my "situation" this time to the police chief, and after we all share a laugh( at my expense) he agrees to give me a ride home. sometime around 5:00am on tuesday july 20, 2010, i climbed out of the kosraen police car and quietly climbed into bed. with a smile on my face and feeling ever so thankful for an hour more of sleep, i remember thinking to myself as i tried to fall asleep- man am i glad i put shorts on before i left the office.


  1. haha..i bet the walk into the police station would have way more awkward with no shorts!
    Joe Cook

  2. i can smile about it now, but at the time it was terrible

  3. Laughing with you, not at you. :) Did you get my email reply to your voice message? SO sorry we missed that call.

    Luvs ya!

  4. Your thousand words were worth a picture...sorry for your sad adventure.

    Love you

  5. That was one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. I am so sorry. I guess they speak English there? Unless you have learned Kosrean real fast to talk to them at the police station! I am so happy you got to go back to sleep! I bet it was the best sleep in the world. It is a great story though!

  6. andrea, sorry i missed you the other day. i got your email,hope to talk to you guys soon. and thank you for not laughing AT me..... leigh you are always to kind. and as the soon to be late willie nelson so poetically sang, "you are(were) always on my mind"... vikki it's so nice to hear from you.
    hope you and j hicks are doing well. if you two are looking for a nice island get away vacation may i suggest...kosrae? love you all

  7. Devin & DenellJuly 31, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    Your story made my eyes sweat a little too :(

    Love reading all your experiences, Matt. We're crazy proud of you!


    D & D

  8. devin & denell! it's great to hear from you, how are you doing? i knew you'd understand what sweaty eyes were like!

  9. so as i reach for my laptop to comment on your beautiful sad humorous adventure, i break one of my favorite wine glasses and my eyes start to sweat. doesn't help they were already a bit sweaty after your story matthew! ;) we can only imagine/picture you and your shorts walking down a muddy unpaved road in the dark searching for relief and your last hour of sleep. you are truly a great writer! we felt as though we were right beside you. we wish we were. we would all be laughing for sure. well i might need some bear spray because i am afraid of the dark. ok, i know, probably no bears in kosrae, except the occasional lost polar bear, but regardless it makes me feel safe. we are so proud of you and miss you terribly. stay strong but we can't wait to see your mug in November! Love you! janique / brad

  10. as Nsync so cleverly coined- "It's tearin up my heart, because when we are apart i feel it too.... blah blah blah, Justin timberlake" miss you guys a ton and i'm really glad we got to talk last weekend. save a seat for me on your couch november 14th at 1pm! see you soon

  11. Matt,
    This story did not need a made it all come to life. I wasn't sure if to laugh or cry. I really felt bad for you, I hope nothing like that happens to me when I do guard duty :/
    I'm guessing you won't let that happen again! Take care, seriously ... please do! - Kristy