Cut me some slack. It’s ten past one in the morning and I’m out of clever headings. Besides, it’s easier to refer to stories as “That One Time” rather than some other name that’ll be harder to remember as time goes on.
This morning, I decided that, being the last person I know to see The Dark Knight Rises, it would be fun to just practice driving around Guam by taking a quick trip down to Guam Premier Outlets (GPO), our nearest outlet mall/the only theater I know how to get to. After consulting my only map and memorizing the turns I needed to make, I set out for my first excursion on the island. Now, the thing about Guam is that there isn’t (as far as I can tell) much in the way of street signs. Instead, the streets have names on maps and numbered route signs in real life. And, though I’m sure that things become easier with more experience on the roads, this did not ease my concern of driving for the first time. Luckily, I was able to get to the mall without too much trouble. After the movie and some shopping, I went to head home. Unfortunately, my arrogance in thinking that the return trip would be just as easy as the first drive proved to be my downfall as the transit gods would soon curse me and my hubris.
After leaving the mall, I quickly came upon a roundabout, which are none too commonplace in the small town of Weimar, Texas, the place I’d had most of my driving experience. Foolishly, I decided to face the task head on, rather than take an alternative route.
In hindsight, I should have realized that I did not even need to go through the roundabout considering I hadn’t gone through one before. But I was young and foolish and, by the time I realized my folly, it was too late. I was being pulled in and spit back out in another direction.
As I neared the newly discovered hospital, I realized that I had, at some point, made a mistake in navigating my Nissan Versa (Nissan, email me so we can work out some money for the product placement). Having no map or GPS to guide me, I flipped a coin to determine which direction I would travel in. Giving myself back up to the fates which had betrayed me, I continued south. As I headed south, the city around me gave way to beach and jungle, at which point I decided that I might as well keep driving and hope that the road I was on made a full circle around the island and that my fuel gauge, which suspiciously was still “above full,” was not malfunctioning, but was instead just an incredibly efficient vehicle (again, that’s the Nissan Versa).
I eventually stopped at a beach which turned out to be a part of the War in the Pacific National Park and did a small amount of exploring. I then proceeded south some more (because why turn back now?!) for several more miles until I reached another part of the park’s visitor center. After learning about the history of Guam and its role in World War II, I believe the fates had realized that I had served out my role as their jester for the day as the park rangers graciously provided me with a better map of the island once I explained that I had just moved here. Unfortunately, the gods had their last laugh when I went out to my car to consult my map only to discover the map was, in fact, the Japanese edition. Fortunately, I knew there was only one direction at that point in which I could drive and I soon exited the jungle and made my way back to my hotel after stopping for a short run through a jungle trail.
Looking back at my experience, many might say that it was only through “losing myself” did I really “find myself.” After all, had I simply returned to my hotel after the movie I wouldn’t have gone on a full exploration of the island’s coast, discovering a whole new part of the island. I reflected on this when I got back to my hotel and came to a very solid conclusion. Forget that noise. I’m never leaving this hotel without a GPS again.