The common criminal is a dirty scoundrel. You think of him/her as someone who will ruin your day, steal your wallet, offend you, or maybe even touch you inappropriately.
On day three in Okinawa, the common criminal became Rachel and I...
Imagine our shock, when, while coming back from a standard day at the beach (like we had done for the two days prior) we were detained at the gate of our base, Camp Lester, for not having a sponsor (Jen or Kyle) to accompany us with our passes.
(As a side note - these passes I speak of had been registered to us earlier in the day, as had to be done on a separate base every day, so that we could enter and exit the bases on our own free will, and of which getting, mind you, was a big pain in the ass for all parties involved (please refer to blog 'I Hate America'), where parties involved is Jen and Kyle, Wendy and Rachel.
So, again, passes in hand, Ray and I cruised up, on foot, to the pass shack, flashed our passes to the Japanese guards, like usual, and were instead detained and asked to stand to the side until we could prove we belonged on the base or a sponsor could be found to accompany us in.
Why is this a big deal? Many reasons.
For starters, it was about a Brazillian degrees outside. Ray and I were in our swimsuits and sundresses, sweaty, sandy, and smelly. And as we stood there, outside the pass shack while the Japanese gate police called for verification, tens of cars, all with passes (and AC), scooted by, staring at us. The two girls who, if were allowed base passes in the first place (please, again, refer to blog 'I Hate America'), wouldn't be standing there feeling like common criminals.
'Criminals?', you say? 'Hardly, Wendy! They were just checking to keep America's service men and women and their bases safe! No worries, girl!'
Because then the Military Police rocked up in their cozy little cruiser. Turns out that the verification that the Japanese gate guards needed came in the form of the American Military Police.
Glad to find somebody who could finally speak more than 7 words of my language, I spilled the beans about our situation to the small, skinny little Lance Corporal, very quickly explaining why we didn't have REAL passes in the first place (please, again, refer to blog 'I Hate America'). The small, skinny, rank-less little Lance Corporal listened, made a couple of calls (again, refer to the above paragraph about it being a Brazillian degrees out), and came out to let us know that he was going to issue us an MOR, which, as explained to me, sounded like a free pass into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory (or, actually, just free access to every base, which we hadn't been able to get before).
Ray and I laughed all the way home that the skinny little Lance Corporal was able to get us a free access pass that even the highest ranking officers wouldn't issue. We laughed, and laughed, and laughed (and even told the Lance Corporal that we'd refer him to the general). Then, we got home, prepared to tell Jen our funny story, opened up our MORs, and realized that MOR actually stands for Minor Offense Report. Meaning that Rachel and I had just ACTUALLY been handed Military citations for trying to enter a base without proper ID.
Now, this story does have a happy ending in that in hindsight, the LCPL actually issued us the MOR so that it would look, from that point on, that we were just military-related personnel (spouse, cleaner, whatever) who had 'lost' their military IDs and were in the process of getting new onse made. He hadn't wanted to offend the Japanese gate guards by just letting us roll by without the proper authority, so he issued us citations, which actually satisfied not only the Japanese gate guards in their thirst for finding someone to pick on, but also Jen, Rachel, Kyle, and myself, who for the next 72 hours, did not have to apply for new passes on a different base each day.
But, the coolness of being a common criminal in your own country is still pretty great, I guess. And, it makes a great story to tell the kids. But, if Rachel and I show up on your local milk cartons, we know nothing about it...