Yesterday I was reading one of my old issues of Cosmo and I stumbled upon an article that was discussing how traveling to foreign countries can be much safer for tourists if they learn local customs. Which, of course, makes a lot of sense. I mean, obviously what’s socially acceptable here (for example, women wearing itsy-bitsy mini skirts with barely there halters) in North America may not fly (and can even be dangerous to one’s well-being, or illegal) in other parts of the world. As much as some things may just seem to be common sense to us (no, it’s never OK anywhere in the world to egg a cop car – especially if there is an officer sitting inside of it), in some cases it proves wiser to leave our “home” street smarts at the airport and blend in with the locals.
Now, while I’m sure we’ve all heard horror stories about women who have experienced some awful situations after being too “scantily” clad (aka showing some calf and forearm) or about people throwing up an “innocent” peace sign and being thrown into the slammer for decades, we all too often miss some of the more humourous stories of “to each their own” country customs that make our diverse world population so delightful. A friend of mine shared one she recently experienced while living in the Dominican Republic.
Now, while listening to this story, I must say I was absolutely rolling, because the rationale seemed so, well, irrational. If it happened here we would chalk it up to some very, VERY, dumb drunk decisions an unfortunate but perhaps well meaning person had made. Apparently, these assumptions actually put this person on the RIGHT side of the law – as ridiculous as it may seem. Ok, here it goes.
So this guy, we’ll call him Johnny, drives out to a bar one night, where he gets super drunk-outta-his-mind. Johnny knows that he is WAY too drunk to drive, but he’s gotta get his car home with him. Having nary a designated driver, Johnny knows it’s waaayy too unsafe for him to drive on the street in his intoxicated state. It’s dead wrong for him to drive on the STREET in his condition. So Johnny, being the responsible citizen he is, decides that his best course of action will be to drive home on the BEACH. Yes, that’s right, on the BEACH. Of course, as we all suspected, Johnny gets pulled over by the cops (I mean, seriously, it’s kinda hard to miss a car driving down the beach, probably swerving like crazy and making one helluva racket). The Officer, at least mildly shocked by the idiocy, walks up to Johnny’s car and informs him that, of course, it’s illegal to drive on the beach at night, and so he’ll have to give him a ticket.
Johnny, not being at all in the position to have one more bill to have to worry about tells the Officer, “well sir, of course I know it’s illegal to drive on the beach. But I have had way too much to drink tonight. Waaayy too much to be driving on the street. So I decided it would be safer if I drove on the beach”. The officer stares at Johnny to assess his level of intoxication. After determining that yes, Johnny has in fact had too much to drink to be driving on the street, he exclaims “Well, that makes sense, young man. Drive safe”, rips up the ticket and salutes Johnny as he pulls off, still swerving , kicking up sand all over the place, practically blind not only because of the sand storm his churning wheels are causing, but also because of the pitch blackness and the beer goggles.
As I said, this is actually a TRUE story. Seriously. Just happened not too long ago. Now, there’s no way to know exactly whether or not this is actually the general custom in the Domincan or whether this cop had been smoking some good shit and got a kick outta the man’s blatant ridiculousness and open honesty. Either way, not that I would promote you trying this yourself (especially if you’re not a native to the country- I’m sure the explanation wouldn’t have flown if you tried to give it in English or some broke-down version of Spanish you learned in high school, all while batting your beautiful baby blues at the cop), but apparently the moral of this story is, that if you’re gonna drive on the beach at night, make sure you’re drunk as hell first — otherwise you’ll get a ticket.
ps, Classic Ruby in no way condones, promotes, or encourages drunk driving. Let’s be serious for a second here, folks: this dude (and anyone on the beach that night) was lucky to come away uninjured. If you even THINK, at any point in your night, that you may rationalize this way PLEASE take a cab to and from your destination. Nobody wants to be roadkill, especially when it’s preventable.
Cheers (to arriving alive)