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Fish Sandwich In Paradise | PJ Newman


St. Patrick’s Day 2007.
It’s probably the first one I haven’t worked since the beginning of time. It would be tough to work, though, as I find myself in the boarding area of Sea-Tac, ready to fly the friendly skies to bluer skies. Yes, intrepid readers, we’re on our way to Hawaii for 10 days. I somehow managed to get a free trip to our 49th or 50th State (depending on who you talk to), but it looks like I’ll be paying for it metaphysically.
Already been up for 7 hours (not even Noon), weak coffee, artery clogging breakfast with my friend Dan who volunteered to bring me to the airport. Mister Toad’s Wild Ride (no power steering and Dan had HazMat gas) ensued. Breezed through security even though people say I’m looking like one of the 9/11 masterminds (definitely the first time anybody’s used me and mastermind in the same sentence). TV’s blasting Blair/Cheney/Guinness/St.Paddy’sParades. Is it actually legal to broadcast Fox in a public place? Sorry, it’s Headline News….remind me to either cancel my satellite dish or gouge my eyes out when I get home. I ponder the 7-hour flight ahead. I’ve brought 2 books and enough cash to be ejected from the flight if the drinks cart parks near my seat. Also, MacBeth and a bunch of Beatles DVD’s. Who will be seated next to me? Someone who wants to talk? Somebody who falls asleep immediately and snores for 2424 nautical miles? A screaming child? A nymphomaniac? I seriously doubt it’ll be empty. The robot which spat out my boarding pass asked if I would give up my seat and I haven’t even had a drink yet and I ran out of painkillers Wednesday.
Fuck, what have I gotten myself into? I’ll check back in mid-flight. Need to conserve battery power until I can tap into the plane’s dilithium crystals.
Back. Can talk now. OK, the flight was uneventful yet long. Drink service erratic. Must figure out how to fly 1st Class going home. I hid my complimentary pretzels where only a flight mechanic might find them. Movies included a dancing singing (?) fucking penguin movie. No thanks. Been trying to get through Bill Clinton’s autobiography since before he left office and he’s only now coming clean about Monica. The second movie is the new James Bond flick, which I’ve seen 3 times (the last time being Tuesday). Like “Band of Brothers,” I almost know the dialog by heart, so I eschew the headphones and remember to look at the screen during the juiciest bits. Bond dodges a poisoned Martini and love, Bill dodges impeachment and here we go.
Quick aside….during the flight, I was really really hoping for blue skies above and blue oceans below. Nope, sorry. Cloud ceiling about 15,000 feet. Every now and then there’s a cloud break and I can see some blue below. After a non-window browsing break, I look out the window and see…well, it was like the sky was up and down. The ocean was the same color as the sky and the clouds split the two, but not at the horizon. Pretty trippy. Must attribute to sleep and alcohol deprivation.
Land. Get met by someone expecting me. Suddenly thrust into an unmarked white van with a driver from Hong Kong, a couple from San Francisco who just won’t shut the fuck up about the British couple behind them. Get stuck in traffic for over an hour (a 3 hour tour, a 3 hour tour) for what should’ve been a 10-minute ride. Why? Well, I guess a cross between the aforementioned Mr. St. Patrick and the hope-to-never-be-mentioned-again-Mr. President.
My first impressions of Paradise are this…. Strip joint Home Depot McDonalds Orange Julius Fishing Boats Exotic Paintball Traffic Traffic Traffic a 3 hour Tour Malls Hotels Starbucks Subway that sells Sushi! Lush Greenery Rainbows Everywhere another mall more traffic Beautiful Women Hippies Reggae Lady Shut the Fuck Up already Burger King. Is this what we do when we invade/occupy/civilize/bring democracy (sic)/grant protectorate/statehood to a country/kingdom/dictatorship that didn’t invite us in the first place? Is this Puerto Rico, Guam, Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Afghanistan and Iraq? Well, I appreciate being protected from the local culture, but…

Hotel. Check in. More people expecting me.
OK, so one of the reasons I’m here is to see my old landlords and dear friends Don & Billie McDaniel, whom I have benevolently spared from these pages as of yet. They moved back to the Big Island a few years ago. It seems Don had the bad joss to suffer a stroke a few 3 weeks ago, probably just to fuck up the trip. Called them. Will see them in a few days.
Need sun, women, alcohol and food, probably in that order.
I don’t know why I should feel like a tourist in Hawaii! I mean, I haven’t seen the sun since September in Mexico. I didn’t feel like a tourista then, just a lush. Here, I can stand back and let the floor show unfold. 3 largish Bloody Marys and the most expensive fish sandwich I’ve ever punched in the snout later, I try to scribe these events down in a violent yet cohesive manner. The ocean laughs at me, as do all of the St. Patrick revelers. Hawaii and St. Patrick. 2 taste treats that don’t necessarily go well together, but it sure beats the fuck out of Ballard.
Tomorrow, in search of the Royal Hawaiian and their fabled MaiTais.