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Calendars and Clocks and Other Useless Stuff

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There was a time in my life when my daily activity was ruled by clocks and calendars.  This was I had assumed is normal until I retired from the Navy in 1986 down in Puerto Rico that was when I realized just how much calendars and clocks had controlled my life. The following day (Post-retirement) I woke up at my normal early morning time and made a cup of coffee but instead of Dressing in my spiffy squared away Senior Chiefs Uniform and heading to the Navy Base, I took the coffee and went out on my 32 floor balcony at my condo and enjoyed the view of the sea, the weather and of course the coffee. That was fine, but what does one do with the rest of one’s day?

Damn, I was stumped…Now like I’d seen others do, I could drive to the base and hang around and bother people still on active duty. Nope, not me I ain’t going in that direction. My former Commanding Officer asked me the day before what my plan was now that I was retired? Simple sir; “I hope to open a daycare center, as that is what the Navy trained me to do by assigning all those teenagers to work for me. I’m joking, they were some great guys and gals and I was proud to serve with them, except that one………………………!

Tagalog Buddy

I needed a plan; my mail was now being delivered to the Playa Luquillo (Playa in Spanish, means Beach) Post Office.  So my plan was slowly forming as to my future, I went to the Post Office at 9 am, which was beside the police station so I’d stop by and bother them, then to the Plaza for strong local coffee, within a few weeks I was accepted by the Plaza crowd as the Gringo regular and was now slapping bones with the guys. (Slapping Bones, or playing Dominoes)

During my first four years in Puerto Rico, my Spanish was not perfect, but not bad. Plus the Dominoes group helped me quite a bit with the language. When one morning Fito, (Nickname for anyone named Francisco) asked me after a few months, when would I be fully retired?  I am now! He laughed and said; “Then why is there a watch on your arm?” I put in a drawer, but on days when I had an appointment out it came.

My plan in life was to take a year off and do nothing. Then go back to work I had six great job offers… But I had enough saved and a pension so I was living very well. I went to the beach most days and then would walk up to my friend Ted’s bar. (Rascal’s Pub) One day the old lotto lady was under a big umbrella sitting at her folding table selling lotto tickets on the beach, so I bought some. That night I was back at the bar, teaching two girls how to bartend when the lotto lady came in and said we both won the lottery that day. She buys a block of tickets, sells them at a slight profit, and she has to keep the ones that didn’t sell.

My friend Ted was excited and told me that I had won, I smiled and said; “Yeah sure!” So I said; Ted here is the deal, I’m going to the other side of the bar and will order drinks for me and my friends, and if I won, I will pay the bill. If not Ted, you will pay the bill! He agreed so I knew that I won.

Gambling is tax-free money (No taxes) in Puerto Rico and lottery winnings too. Good law!  Let’s see, go back to work in a few months or open a Night Club?

Open and closing my bar, the watch was out of the drawer again. Damn clocks again, a few years later Category FIVE Hurricane Hugo, advised me to seek a new line of work. Off to Tampa Bay Florida on a US Air Force C5-a, Clocks and Calendars firmly in my life again. Two years passed when my General Manager gave me my two-year employment pin. What a dumb thing for him to do, I was riding my motorcycle home on the coastal road stopping at my favorite watering holes mumbling something about two years? I asked my buddy if I could put my bike in his storeroom and taxied the rest of the way. I picked up the pin, and went home, and gave sixty days notice to my boss the next morning.

Off to Miami to get my Merchant Seaman Papers and off to San Francisco to meet my first civilian ship. Moved to the Philippines to live when not on the ship and retiring forever in the year 2000. I flew home, when I reached Olongapo City I handed Tatay my Swiss made Rado watch, and have never cared about the time (Or day) since. I had already given my brother the Rolex I had.   

I don’t carry my smartphone, albeit I do have one sitting 24-7 in my bedroom on the dresser. My stereo in the car has a clock, but I’ve never set it (As in four years I never learned how), I’ll let the Alice in Wonderland crowd worry about being late for a very important date.  If I need to be somewhere, Mayang will make sure I’m there.

Since I put no store in time management, I do not get upset when people are late. I might leave and do something different, but I’ll not be angry. Also, you never have to rush or speed, because it is unimportant when you get there. Clock???  I don’t need no stinking clock!

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Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

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Alex Kennedy
Alex Kennedy
4 years ago

Great article! How much did you win in the lottery?

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Alex Kennedy

ALEX;
Enough to open and stock s 180 person capacity beach bar. TAX free! It is an incredibly beautiful Island.

Alex Kennedy
Alex Kennedy
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Awesome Paul!

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Alex Kennedy

Alex;
Thank you!

Alex Kennedy
Alex Kennedy
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

You are welcome Paul. I guess the obvious question is why did you move to the Philippines?

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Alex Kennedy

Alex;
I was a merchant seaman, the only thing I had in the US was a storage locker in Florida with my Jeep and Motorcycle in it. I lived on the ship, when assigned to them here in Asia. My vacations were two months at a resort somewhere over here, I’d been single my last 30 years and couldn’t find a good reason to return there, then they elected this guy that I was happy to keep the Pacific between me and him. Now I’m married and just love it here. Life just works out the way it works out!

Don N Lyn
4 years ago

YES!

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Don N Lyn

Don-N-Lyn;
YES! But yes to what? (LOL)

Steve
Steve
4 years ago

Hi Paul. I wrote an article about not having a phone so you write one about not wearing a watch. Hmmm… I don’t always wear underwear here. Think anyone would want to read about that. Anyway, enjoyed the article and am jealous since I never bought a winning ticket. Also, back in my former state of Illinois, for quite awhile they stopped paying out on the big winning tickets because the state couldn’t pass a budget and had no money. That’s when we stopped buying them.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve;
I’m 18 years watch free, and I found that my brother gave the Rolex to his son, who sent it in for the free cleaning and adjusting in New York. Try that with a cell phone! (LOL) The RADO watch is gone, properly sold after my father-in-law passed away. But I gave it away so I don’t worry about it. I just hope they got what it was worth!
BYW I write my articles 4 to 5 in advance.

Steve
Steve
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

I stopped wearing a watch many years ago as well…probably around the time I started carrying a cell phone. I don’t have phone or watch these days.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve;
Cell Phones were useless at sea, and import most ship’s masters frowned on them while working. Plus in every port you needed a new sim card. So a watch was the way to go, as merchant ships don’t ring bells to tell you the time only the Navy does that..

Jo Ess
Jo Ess
4 years ago

Greetings, Mr. Paul T. Any friends of yours got hit by Irma and Maria in PR? My son and his wife are OK but their house is a mess in Humacao. Hope all is well with you there in DinBat. Cheers,

Jose

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Jo Ess

Jose;
We’ve had 5 Typhoons but not one has climbed the mountain in my area, I’ve not been able to talk as they have no internet.But I’m pleased your family is well, a house can be repaired.

Jo Ess
Jo Ess
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Very true.. I am just glad few lives were lost and PR is getting all the help now. Thanks for the reply.

Jose

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Jo Ess

Jose;
We had no help from anyone after Hugo hit and put me into a new line of work. I do remember a truck from San Juan coming to Luquillo and selling Ice at $10.00 per bag. The man was asked to step off the truck and then the ice was free. Thank God for the Second Amendment!

Bob Stone
Bob Stone
4 years ago

Quietly humming Chicago’s “Does anybody really know what time it is, does anybody really care?” From a fellow Dorchester boy now living in the Phils!!!

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Stone

Bob;
I’m a member of the site “Originally From Dorchester” on Facebook. But I get a lot of questions as to why I don’t come home, they’ll never understand, I couldn’t explain it to my four brothers. My dad was WW-II Navy, he knew why!

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