Sunshine & Sharks

I SUDDENLY HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS…

OK, how many times have you said that?
How many times have you acted upon that feeling?
Decided not to go alligator wrestling or not to eat that last piece of blowfish sushi or go scuba diving after taking 5 hits of LSD?
I find myself in a large line in a large building with lots of large humorless people. I surrendered my bag, hid my gold and waited to be directed to the “showers.” I made a joke about “Schindler’s List,” which was either way over some heads or already on their minds.
This is definitely weird. The name of the escalator company is “Schindler.”
Where do I check out?

2 days in Waikiki. Didn’t see too much or do too much. Just relaxed (what a novel concept). Maybe it was from being 2500 miles away from any bubbling geysers of stress, but I’ve been virtually pain free since I landed Saturday afternoon. Got to see if I can get a prescription for this!

Boat
On a boat.
Sorry, a ship.
On a ship.
Again, a very large ship. The largest ship ever built by/for a US shipper for passengers?
Don’t know, but it’s big and I’m on it. There’s like 3 or 4 thousand people on this thing, most of them just eating non-stop. Maybe it’s owner by Purina or the good folks who brought you Soylent Green. Last stop, Rendering City!
Shoved off from Honolulu last night. Did I mention this was a large ship? It took nearly 30 minutes to spin it around so we wouldn’t set sail back asswards. Got choppy. Bumpy ride for hours. Docked in Hilo a short while ago.
Rain.
Picture this…an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I’ll be generous, make that a chain of islands. Hell, they can all be independent for that matter.
Where was I going with this? Oh, right. Rain.
Sorry, the rain was distracting me. It’s a wonder I ever get anything done in Seattle.
Fog.
I heard drumming last night, figured it was hula lessons from insomniacs. Turns out some of the locals boarded the ship and kidnapped a blonde or 2. Now we have to go ashore and rescue her. There were some rumors about giant monkeys and giant skulls and giant shave ice.
Going to throw some of the more vocal children in a volcano to boot.
Lock and load.
Back soon.

Back again.
By granting Hawaii statehood, I’m not sure who got the shit end of the stick. Of course, the term “granting” implies that they wanted it, they being the native Hawaiians, not the greedy rich plantation slave owners. Moot point.
So, here I am, minding my own business, leaving a trail of macadamia nuts on the deck so I can find my cubby hole when, suddenly, for no reason whatsoever, having nothing to do with whatever I might or might not have done or been an accomplice to, I’m dragged off the ship and made to stand in the rain for what seems like an eternity, but probably wasn’t. Soon afterwards, I’m dragged back on with no explanation other than some garbled somethings about extradition and giant sand worms. No sooner than my feet are planted firmly on tera patrick incognito when I’m yet again whisked off of the ship and thrown into another unmarked vehicle with about a dozen captives. Driven pell-mell through wet streets, we’re unceremoniously ejected in front of a building only marked “Hilo Hattie’s,” what I take for the local interrogation hut.
It’s worse, safe readers, much worse.
It’s a store that sells “Essential Hawaiian” crap that’s even more expensive onboard. The key that was slipped into my hand back at the ship does not, in fact, release me from this most heinous prison, only forces me deeper into the dark bowels of its retail hell. The only item that might hold clue to my exit from this purgatory is a hula dancer lamp, which sells for $100. How the hell do I smuggle that back aboard the ship, let alone the flight back to the mainland and de-briefing. Once again, before figuring out how to smuggle the lamp onboard, I find myself shoved in yet another van.
“Self,” says I, “I assuredly am getting tired of this vanplay and would like to opt out at this moment, by my leave!” Meaning that since I found myself temporarily unguarded, I just up and walked out of the van.
Figuring that the last place they would look for me would be another van, I jumped into another. The driver, guessing that I was supposed to be there, gunned the engine and took off in directions unknown. 15 minutes later, I was dropped off towards the outskirts (downtown) of Hilo. By some prearranged arrangement, I was ushered into a shop that sold “Musical Instruments,” obviously a code for something more sinister. After having satisfied the “Shopkeeper” with a series of code words, I was given a parcel in exchange for “Money.” The driver was waiting for me outside of the building and whisked me back to the ship. Later back in my room, I opened the parcel and discovered a “Baritone Ukulele.” Clever! There must be some code involved here, maybe a sequence of chords or notes played on this “Instrument” would reveal the plans for the next DeathStar or the recipe for chicken salad or something.
I’ll let you know what I find out.

I’ve just discovered that my contact here has been moved to a different island and that I won’t be able to see him for several days unless I can convince a squad of trained dolphins or orcas or something to transport me to Oahu in the dead of night.

Was disappointed to find out that they don’t have corrals full of children at the top of Volcanoes with which to feed the mountain gods. Well, let me clarify that; they actually do have corrals full of children, but you have to pay for them. They’re $2 each, or 3 for $5. Had I known, I would’ve grabbed many from the ship and could have sold the extras. Next time.

Very windy. Repeat, very windy. My brain has been blown from my skull. Will have to report back when …..

Drove around. Saw things. Ate things. Made friends with a bartender. Drank things.

On Monday, back on Oahu, I finally got to see my friend and ex-landlord Don McDaniel and his wife Billie.
They moved back to Hilo about 1.5 years ago. They started a chicken ranch (farm?) and sell organic eggs and some produce to unsuspecting locals. Unfortunately, Don had the bad luck to get struck with a stroke about a month ago. He spent 3 weeks at the Kona Community Hospital stabilizing and beginning physical therapy before transferring to Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific in Honolulu. After the stroke, Don lost the use of the right side of his body and both sides of his speech. He communicates telepathically and with a series of clicks and grunts. He’s already regained a good deal of strength and coordination and is playing soccer and on the gymnastic team. I’ll be reporting on Don’s progress later in these pages.

Honolulu’s bus system is called “The Bus” and for good reason: It’s filled with busses! I called them for instructions on how to get from the hospital to the airport. Simple enough. Take a number 4 and transfer to either a 19 or 20. Drop me off at the terminal. What could be easier?
“Sure,” says the driver of the number 13, “I can get you to a number 19…”
Suffice to say, I saw much more of Honolulu and Waikiki than I needed to and made it to the airport with about 10 minutes to spare. One movie that I wouldn’t have spent a dime to see and a few hours later, a quick coffee stop in San Francisco and home again home again.
I’d been up for about 30 hours and thought sleep might be fun, but others felt otherwise. Took me a couple days to get the sleep option downloaded, but all is back to normal (sic).

Back to the dog and cat and studio and underemployment and my secret stash of scotch.

Luck
pj