“What the (bleep) were you thinking?”

His behavior called for it. The timing seemed perfect. I’d been thinking about saying it. I finally did. Don’t know if it even registered because his expression didn’t change. He’d made a bad play in front of several cops, then doubled down which only made it worse.

Traffic checkpoints for license, registration and helmets are commonplace. They’re usually in the same spots and can be avoided if one doesn’t mind a little extra riding. I road into a new one today. Knew it meant a 200 baht (~ $7) fine. As usual, the policeman knew enough English to note I didn’t have an International license with my Nevada license, so I had to pay up.

The cashier was writing my receipt when I heard engine whine, shouts and a skid. Some foreigner attempted to ride through the check point. Not surprisingly, the police didn’t like that. He was English but I was on the other side of the road and couldn’t hear him well. But his volume, tone and body language was indignant. Next time I looked over he had pulled out and unfolded a few documents. He was on the phone, then gave it to a policeman. The cop handed the phone back when I returned to my motorbike. It seemed the call did not go in the foreigners’ favor.

Strapped on my helmet, sat down and made ready to go. A cop walked up to me, gestured to the agitated foreigner, then lowered his head a bit and shook it slowly. I looked at the Englishman, saw he’d just realized he was in the shit. Turned to the cop next to me, lowered my head and shook it slowly. The warm motor started instantly. I eased into the road but didn’t have the class not to pile on the defeated man.

Most foreigners, myself included, walk the straight and narrow. We know Thailand graciously allows us to live here long term. We also know that privilege must be renewed annually so we act accordingly.

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