Silence Is Golden

The other week I needed to take a business trip to the Big Island. My trip was to start in Hilo and end in Kona. I was to travel with our vice president of human resources. I’ve worked with her for about 17 years now, and I can attest that she is one of the best in the business.

She is the definition of professional, always dons a business suit, practically wears her Bluetooth phone ear-piece 24/7 and knows everything you need to know about human resources. She makes herself available to employees and is their greatest advocate, while at the same time she keeps the best interest of the company in mind.

Some might say she can be intimidating because of her candor, but by this you know she is honest and a straight-shooter. The closest thing I can think of to compare her to is maybe a Catholic nun school principal. You don’t mess with her, but if you need help, she’s the go-to person.

Anyway, when we got to Hawaii island she determined I was going to be our driver.

So for our long trip from Hilo to Kona, I was going to take the new Saddle Road, which cuts down the commute from a couple hours to an hour-and-a-half. That’s provided you drive the posted speed limit of 55 mph. At the Hilo office I heard stories about speed traps along the way, so I decided to use cruise control on our rental car.

The trip was fairly insignificant until about midpoint near a military training camp, where there were a half-dozen cops pulling over cars. Unfortunately, I was one of them. Apparently, the speed limit abruptly changes near the camp, from 55 down to 40 mph.

Now, I think I can be a pretty charming guy and might have a chance at talking my way out of the ticket. I respectfully greeted the officer and expressed genuine innocence about not knowing the speed-limit change. He was not writing down anything, which was a good sign.

That’s when my passenger started to chime in. Being the negotiator that she is, she started to question the officer about the speed limit as though he were on trial.

All I could do was to try to telepathically tell her to stop talking. Too late. The officer whipped out his ticket pad and “went to town” on me.

My passenger, although she meant well, continued to argue on my behalf. Fortunately, I accepted the ticket and gingerly left the scene.

Thank God, because I don’t know how I would ask my wife to come bail me out of jail.

rnagasawa@midweek.com

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