So, today we met up with my son and his family, and he took us on a driving tour of the base. Now, I'll pause here to point out that there are two things I do on every trip I take: I knit and I take pictures. I learned today that one of those activities is illegal when done at certain strategic locations. Or two.
Yes, I no sooner got back in my car after taking the second such picture and an unmarked car containing two non-uniformed Marines zipped up behind me and followed me with a distinct purpose until I finally pulled over.
Now, I should point out that I assumed my son knew what was off limits for picture-taking purposes since he is, you know, stationed here. I clearly assumed wrong. Actually, as soon as this happened, my son was like, "Hm, maybe that wasn't a good idea..." Ya THINK??? So. The two guys came up to my car and asked, "Why were you taking pictures?" I explained that I just thought my husband would enjoy seeing them. "Is that the only reason?" This is the point in some conversations that I might come back with some witty retort, but I was sufficiently freaked out by the whole episode that it didn't even cross my mind to do so until hours later (which was probably a good thing). Instead, I said, "Yes."
"You know it is illegal to take pictures here?" they asked. Again, another invitation for sarcasm that didn't happen. "No, I didn't know that." "Well, it is." Okay then.
They continued to be lean in my car window, and my son and I were just sitting there and my kids are in the back seat being very quiet because I threatened them with bodily harm as I was pulling over should they say anything at all to make matters worse.
At this point, the bigger of the two men was eyeing my camera and my first thought was they were going to confiscate it. Now, I have a pretty nice digital SLR, which happened to get stolen a year ago when I was in Florida. It took some time, but my insurance company finally reimbursed me for the loss, which is why I now once again have a nice camera. I'm pretty sure they won't buy me another one for any reason. The one the big guy was looking at. He could not take my camera.
Then I thought perhaps they'd be satisfied to let me just hand over the memory card. Only it was the same memory card I had all of our other vacation photos on because I'm a moron and put all my eggs in one basket like that because I totally forget I have extra memory cards and it is good to use more than one in case one malfunctions or gets confiscated as evidence against you for possibly being a terrorist.
I finally broke the silence. "Um, I could delete the pictures if you'd like me to?" And the big said, "Yes, I would really like you to delete those pictures." Ok then! No problem! I sat there, deleted the two offending images and assured him that all of the rest were from the beach. At that, the two Marines were satisfied and went on their merry way and let us go on ours. (I will say that throughout this whole event, they were both incredibly polite and didn't appear to be armed, which was a plus in my book.)
Have you ever gotten that totally drained feeling after a truly frightening experience, like your blood sugar has plummeted completely and you're become completely translucent from lack of blood flowing through your body? That's how I felt. I was totally shaken. I don't know why. I mean....had they been dressed in uniforms with fire arms and made me get out of the car and possibly threatened me in any real way, then that would have warranted some sort of fear reaction. But this experience just pretty much illustrated how much of a total wuss I must be because I wanted to both barf and pass out when it was over.
My son...the one in the front seat with me...the Marine? He burst out laughing as soon as we were on the road again. He thought it was the funniest thing in the world that "Mom got busted." Never mind the fact that it was his freakin' fault as far as I was concerned. How could he have not known this was a bad idea? Especially when, later, we realized there were signed posted, like, EVERYWHERE saying things like "Restricted Area"? Good grief. (For the record, I wasn't reading signs because I was trying to see the sights, and I was trying to watch how fast I was going because they're also pretty picky about people speeding on base, and I didn't want to, you know, get in trouble.)
I didn't touch my camera again the rest of the day until we were back at my son's house. (I was thinking I might just wait until we were out of the state to use it, just to be safe.) Though now I'm wondering what the two guys would have said if, after deleting the two offending photos, I'd have asked them if I could take their picture? You know, for my scrapbook...to go along with this story that I have to record for posterity...since I don't have the illegal photos anymore....
Maybe I should just stick to knitting.