Friday, July 30, 2004

Funny thing

I ran into a woman I recognized but couldn't place while in line at the local Subway. She looked at me as though she recognized but couldn't place me either.

"Do you work at the police station?" I asked at last.

"Yeah. Are you Steve's daughter?"

"Yeah, yeah. How do you know my dad?"

"Oh, I used to work in dispatch and he would come by sometimes. Funny you don't look anything like him."

Yeah funny. Everyone tells me this, but I can feel my father living in me, right under my skin.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

I call my sickness "avoidance"

I am thinking of Jo, or more specifically about one of her more recent posts. I've never met Jo before but so far she is the only one to bother to comment on this site of mine. OK. That's not true. Chris commented under an alias, but he knows me, even claims to genuinely like me. Therefore he's disqualified.

Anyway Jo was talking about how she spaces out and procrastinates when it comes time to doing things she dislikes. At first she seemed really concerned about this characteristic of hers, then she decided she was just a pleasure junkie and went to get a snack.

I think I suffer from a related illness, Jo. I call mine avoidance.

For instance, I hate my job. The intensity of my hatred varies somewhere between barely noticeable/somewhat rewarding to I-have-to-quit-now-now-now. But alas, I have not quit. Mostly because I have my father's voice in my head and when I get close to doing something reckless it screams, What's the mattah with you? You stupid or what? I really think you're stupid.

I think of telling my friends about my latest dilemna but I already know what they will say: Did you send out your resume? Why don't you send out your resume? You never know unless you try, you know.

I have also avoided booking a trip for me and Grandma M. to Cousin Erin's wedding in Chicago until almost the last possible moment. I avoided calling Uncle Alan, who's coming along, to tell him whether I bought the ticket or not.

I am avoiding talking to B, the photographer, ever since he called to chew me out for behaving "selfishly" and taking his friendship for granted. And I have avoided hanging out with Maile because she hangs out with B and there is a remote, distant, but possible chance of drama and picking of subjects that will make me uncomfortable.

In fact, I've been avoiding almost all social engagements. Sitting around at a noisy bar while everyone else gets drunk and tries to make me talk is terrifying and draining and overwhelming and I will not enjoy myself. In fact, I will go home and feel like a loser for exactly those reasons.

The voices are telling me it's stupid, I really am behaving stupidly. Some other voices are telling that voice to shut up. I have my father's voice growing frantic, "What for you need go out? You really go out to that kind place?" I have the voices of my co-workers teasing and bugging and calling me lame for not going out.

The list of things I am avoiding or not adequately addressing goes on and on and on. But this is overwhelming. I want to avoid getting into it.

What I need is an exorcism, something to drain all these different people who have somehow weaseled in my mind and taken over. As soon as I wrote that line one of them popped in with this snide remark: Well somebody has to be in control here, since obviously you can't handle the responsibility.

I started this post talking about Jo. Now I realize it was misleading. Like I said, I've never met her but she is likely to be far saner than I am. She makes handmade soap, which I think is really, really cool. If you are reading this, Jo, please send me info. on handmade soap. I swear I'm not as loopy as this post makes me seem.

'This is just making us look more stupid.'

What follows is an actual conversation among my co-workers (all of whom have been hired from the mainland) about using the okina in articles. The okina is a punctuation mark, shaped like a backwards apostrophe, used to signal the halting of breath between vowels of certain Hawaiian words. Currently, our policy is to exclude all okinas and kahakos unless exclusion would change the meaning of the word (i.e. ka'u instead of kau).

A: What is the name of that place again?

C: I don't know. It started with a 'K'. 'K', 'E', something...oh I don't remember.

A: Yeah it was really weird spelling. There was a space between the K and the E or something.

C: Yeah, all these places have really long names with the space thing in between. And I always put the thing in the words like they're supposed to be but R takes them out all the time. I don't know why he does that. Like this word looks weird spelled 'P', 'U', 'U', without a space between the two U's."

A: No shit.

T: I think we should include that thing between the letters like they're supposed to be. I think it makes us look ignorant and culturally insensitive that we don't include it.

C: Yeah. This is just making us look more stupid.

Me: What are you guys talking about? The okinas?

T: Is that what they're called? I guess we would look less ignorant if we actually learned what the thing is called, huh?

C: Better than me. I don't even say 'the thing' I just go like this. (She paws the air with her hand, roughly drawing an apostrophe in the air).

I am grumpy

Unfortunately I can't growl, snarl, kick, scream, throw, sob, punch, hiss or swear at work.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Aaron has been here less than a month.

He is a very bright guy. He's already been to India, Thailand and a bunch of other places to take pictures for publications. He's graduating from a prestigious mainland photography school at the end of the year. He might take a trip to Greece to photograph the Olympics in Athens. He has state-of-the-art laptop and fancy camera with all kinds of expensive accessories.

At dinner the other day he turned to me and said, "Andrea says I should go up to a Hawaiian girl and say, 'Hey, I want to fuck you.' What do you think my chances are? Close to none or none?"

Andrea, sitting across from Aaron, giggles. "Hey it never hurts to try."

"Well it might, depending on where the girl's boyfriend is standing," I quipped.

Aaron turns to the local guy Andrea is currently seeing and repeats his querry.

The guy offers a half smile and this witty comeback: "Well it depends on a lot of factors. Like how much the girl weighs, how much kids she get, whether her boyfriend is still in jail. Actually, I think you got a pretty good chance my friend."

Andrea laughs. "I just want to see you try and fail, Aaron."

A bunch of kids at the next table over start making noise and Aaron says, "So I hear a lot of the girls pop 'em out young here."

"Doesn't that happen in California?" I reply.

"No, not really," he says. Then to the local guy, "Is it true that the girls here have a lot of kids when they're really young? That's the word I hear anyway."

The guy gives that half smile. "Well, I had my first kid when I was 17. She's 14 now I think."

Aaron stares.

The guy nudges Andrea and bursts out laughing.

Aaron looks sheepish. "Ah, ha ha. Yeah, I'm gullible and you know it too."


"Hey man," Aaron tells the guy. "You know where I can get some weed?"

The guy takes a sip of Andrea's soup and looks at Aaron.

"I'm just going to be really blunt here, man, and ask."

The guy tells Aaron he'll talk to a co-worker.

We wrap up dinner. I feel like throwing up. Aaron is the type of guy that is going to be in charge of things in a few years: Smart, well traveled, fluent in several languages, personable and completely and totally ignorant and insensitive.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

This is how my grandma loves

I remember the day Grandma M baked homemade doggie biscuits for Li Po.

Li Po lived with Grandma and Grandpa M from puppy time until the age of 7 or 8. He was a father's day gift for Grandpa, but it was Grandma who took an interest in his upbringing.

Grandma made enough doggie biscuits to fill at least three large tupperware containers with the bone-shaped treats. All natural ingredients.

Grandma was on a mission to have Li Po shed 5lbs.

"Boy, you're such a fat doggie, boy," she'd tell him.

She had him on a strict regimin: He could be no more than 15 lbs. According to a doggie book, this is how much a Lhasa Apso-mix like Li Po is supposed to weigh at most.

As I recall, Li Po was not too impressed by the snacks, the diet or, to be frank, Grandma in general.

Grandma's way of showing affection is to fuss over you until you think your eyes will pop or steam will shoot from your ears.

My brother, in a fit of insubordinate frustration, once swore at her. She dragged him upstairs by the ear and washed his mouth out with soap and water while he screamed.

So Grandma had ideas for Li Po. One of them was that he would look like a show dog. She knew he could never BE a show dog.

"You no can be show dog, you. You not a purebred," she would tell Li Po, at least once a week.

Li Po, by all appearnces, was unoved.

To make him LOOK like a show dog, she patently refused to cut his hair. When it got matted and tangly, she'd haul him into the bathroom, place him on the counter and go at it with the doggie comb and brush.

I think this is how Li Po learned to snarl and bark.

When it was time for a bath, she insisted on following the shampoo directions to the T. If it said soak for 15 minutes, Li Po would shiver in the sink for 15 minutes.

I think this is how he learned to yelp and whine.

Grandma never learned to pet Li Po properly either. If he happened to be near by, she'd pull him--growling--next to her and start slapping at his head. His growl would deepen.

"Grandma, you're HITTING him," I'd say.

But she was oblivious.

"Oh Li Po, why you growl?" she'd ask. "You not a good lap dog, eh, Li Po?"

This is my Grandma.

A recipe for me

The other day I was complaining to Chris about how fat I was getting (I know, I know, gross girly attitude) and his mother joked that he was trying to fatten me up so the family could eat me.

Ha, ha people.

Fine. If you're going to eat me, you should at least prepare me properly. I'd suggest broiling me with ginger and soy sauce. Or perhaps frying me and serving me with rice. Something simple like that. I really wouldn't appreciate being smeared in butter or breaded. I think finishing me off with a light dessert like angel cake or sherbert would work best. No chocolate ice cream please. And keep my bones; you could use them to make soup the next day.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

I can cook

I love to eat but never learned to cook. In my family, a home cooked meal was a loco moco from Cafe 100.

Awhile back I had an urge to learn to cook, and start a blog about the experience. (I had it all mapped out in my mind--I'd start by presenting the recipe of the dish I wanted to prepare, followed by a description of what happened while I cooked and how the dish turned out).

Well, I never got around to cooking so there wasn't much point in starting the blog.

But yesterday I cooked. I made miso soup and lasagna. Both recipes came straight off the food packaging. Regardless they turned out remarkably well. Chris' mom even had seconds of the lasagna.

The next thing I want to try and make is this miso-based salad dressing/dipping sauce (recipe also found on the packaging).

Hello, my name is Jake

What's your name?

Friday, July 23, 2004

Custom Made Shoes

Meet Pooler. I don't know if it's his first name or last name. He didn't tell me and I didn't ask.

Pooler repairs shoes and builds custom shoes in a tiny shack somewhere between Captain Cook and Ka'u. I've driven by his "Shoe Repairs" sign many times without stopping.

Today, Chris and I stopped. That's how we met Pooler, a short man in a black leather vest, jeans, and tatoos. He's missing a lot of teeth (I spotted a bunch of them piled in an astray on his work table) and greeted us barefooted. He looks to be somewhere between 50 and 60 years old.

Pooler charges about $150 for a pair of personalized sandals and $700 for a pair of personalized boots. He said he's swamped with work.

"I'm here at 6 a.m. and I'm still working at midnight," he said.

He let me and Chris wander around his workshop, which is no bigger than the size of a toolshed, and showed us a boot he was working on. Part of it was made out of elephant ear.

"Elephant ear?" Chris said. "How do you get an elephant ear?"

"Well you just jump up on the elephant and cut it off," Pooler replied.

He said he gets many visitors like me and Chris -- folks that have driven by before and stop on a whim to find out what his place is all about.

The doors to his shack are lined with pictures of boots he's made. Being the only guy on the island that does this, I guess he's generated a small amount of fame. Posing in a pair of black boots with the logo of the U.S. Congress was Rep. Neil Ambercrombie. (I remember his successful re-election campaign some years back; everyone seemed to have a bumper sticker that read: ABC, Ambercrombie Back to Congress).

According to his business card, Pooler will duplicate or fix any type of shoe. But he admitted to us that he's been forced to be more selective because of the heavy workload.

"It's hard to start charging people more. Some of these people who want their shoes repaired hardly have any money anyway," he said.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Meet Aaron Keehoe, photo intern

Aaron is our new photo intern. I had my first assignment with him on Sunday to interview a couple living "off the power grid."

Aaron drives a green Kia Rio rental car that makes him feel like "one of those elephants on a tricycle in the circus."

To get to the couple we had to go down a long, windy, gravely road with many dips and pot holes. Technically you didn't need a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Technically.

"Wow, this is awesome, this is what it's all about, you know what I mean?" Aaron was exuberant as we bounced down the road. "Uh-oh, pot hole up ahead, that's not going to be good. OK, OK. It's all good. That was fun don't you think? This is fun. It's going to be all good."

Aaron and I were late because Aaron forgot to bring a memory card for his digital camera so he had to make a last minute stop at the local Radio Shack.

Andrea describes Aaron as "a real kick in the pants, isn't he?"

I found it nearly impossible to believe anyone could be as genuinely happy as he seemed.

I'm still not sure it was genuine, to tell you the truth, but I let myself get sucked in anyway.

The highlight of the assignment: After a quick stop to take pictures, Aaron got back into the car without bothering to remove the two bulky cameras hanging from thick straps around his neck. He drove the rest of the way like that, hunched over the steering wheel, cameras swinging at every pothole, non-stop jabber.

This image of him, so absurd, is what inspired this entire post.

"This is what I love about my job, you know?" he enthused, thinking nothing of pushing 30 in a car meant only for paved roads. "Every day is an adventure. I get to come out here hang out with people and look at this scenery...This is paradise. THIS is paradise."

Finally I put a hand on his shoulder and said, "Aaron this is hilarious. I am going to write a New Yorker style profile about you, about driving down some random back road with you. I write that kind of stuff you know, but just haven't sold it yet. So your job is to get famous so I can sell it."

This caused a momentary pause. Then,

"OK. OK. Sure. I can do that. I'll work on it. It's a deal..."

50 years of...something

Last weekend, I watched my grandmother make her way across the street, stumbling over exposed tree roots. Grandpa walked ahead of her, her purse tucked under his arm.

"Eh, your grandfather better help Grandma before she falls down again," Auntie said.

"They look so cute though," Kayrn said, moving closer to her boyfriend Kenny. "He's carrying her purse for her. Look."

I doubled back and looped my arm through Grandma's and we walked together through the dark parking lot. Grandpa was already at the truck, climbing in, ready to go.

We had just finished having a family dinner to celebrate Grandma and Grandpa's 50th wedding anniversary.

During the dinner I looked at Auntie and said, "It's a miracle anybody in this family managed to stay married to another person in this family for 50 years."

I've only known Grandma for 23 of those 50 years. Less than 20 if you only count the years I can remember.

She and Grandpa went through some rough times. There were moments when the marriage could have collapsed.

I remember her shaking sometimes, she was so angry at him, so frustrated. Last year she left him for about a week, went to live with Auntie. He begged her to come back and when she refused he bought her a new washing machine and dryer to woo her back.

Grandma was never the type to really leave.

If she left, she used to say, her kids would never know their father. The family is the most important thing.

This is a belief she passed on to my father.

When my parents would argue, Dad would always give in. He couldn't leave his family.

I remember when I was a kid I feared his temper and I wished he WOULD leave. Make my life easier. I thought I would never be like my dad. I would go to a mainland college and get a job and never come home.

But it hasn't been that way at all.

I can never really leave my family either. I always find myself thinking about them, about what they would think about what I'm doing, about what kind of advice they would give me in any given situation.

I guess what I am trying to get at is a question I posed to some of my friends awhile back: Whether they thought the stories of their lives began with their birth or years before, with the births of their grandparents or great-grandparents.

I think in America there's a tendency to see ourselves as the great Individual.

The 50 years of our grandparents' marriage don't matter that much.

I thought of that last weekend, when I found myself arm and arm with my grandmother walking through a dark parking lot. About all the things in her life that I don't even know about, that led to my being there with her, the two of us making fun of Grandpa and picking our way over tree roots.

I think I'll know my story when I know my family's.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Must be the...

I was at loss as to what to post so I looked over at Chris, sprawled across my couch with a Arizona iced-tea tucked against his side. I was about to ask him for a topic, but before I could say a word he shrugged and said,

"I like Nelly."

I looked the other way at the TV, to find scantily clad women shaking it in Nelly's latest video.

I looked back at Chris, who until this moment has always expressed contempt for rap. As far as I could gather he likes Tom Petty and John Mellencamp and stuff like that.

"I don't know," he continued. "I just like his voice. Didn't he do that song--"

"It's getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes?" I said.

"No. No. That goes....'must be the money'?"

"Oh yeah, yeah. I think he did."

"That song. I remember it came on the radio and I thought, 'Wow I like that rap song.'"


"He's got flow, you know?"

"All his songs sound the same."

"I know. He definitely has a formula."

And at least he's not wearing that band-aid on his face anymore.

Actually, I think Chris is trying to be nice by watching MTV because I jokingly accused him of only watching CNN. Now that the Nelly video is over he has flipped it over to the Style Network.

Now the Food Network.

The Food Network had the best dating show I've ever seen: Date Plate. It goes like this: two guys are selected to cook a meal (main course and dessert) for a girl. She tastes each guy's cooking and goes on a date with whichever guy's cooking she prefers. The guys each get a professional chef to help them prepare their menus.

Monday, July 19, 2004

This is besides the point

I spent an hour and a half at the court house watching the preliminary hearing for the first of seven suspects arrested in connection with a big fight at a secluded beach, unfold.

The last time I saw the suspect, he had a wild 'fro and wore an orange jumpsuit and slippers. He has since bailed out and shaved his head so I didn't recognize him until he shuffled over to the defense table.

Sometimes the defendents mutter under their breaths or write notes to their lawyers or swear at the cops on the stand (this gets an immediate contempt from the judge) but for the most part they just sit there with their head down or stare straight ahead blankly. If they're not in the orange jumpsuit, it would be hard to imagine some of them doing whatever it was they were arrested for. (But unfortunately for them, they're usually in the orange jumpsuit).

Such was the case for this particular suspect, who according to testimony from a cop, had been shouting racial slurs and threatening cops at the time of his arrest.

The attorneys can be equally entertaining to watch, even though you only get to see their backs.

The defense attorney is good, albeit flamboyant. During the cross-examination he asked the judge to "tell the deputy prosecuting attorney to please sit down. She's distracting me."

The deputy prosecuting attorney managed to eek out, "I will certainly sit" without giving the defense attorney the evil eye. (She avoided eye contact completely).

These two attorneys spent the entire hour and a half objecting to each other's questions.

The poor witness, a cop still new to the department, looked bewildered by the end of it. He must have asked them to repeat questions half a dozen times.

I felt bad for him.

Also part of today's cast of characters was a reporter for one of the Honolulu papers. He is very experienced, I could tell.

Whereas I was wondering whether to describe the defendent's polo shirt as "heather gray" or "white" he had such informed questions as, "What are the list of charges? Is there a possibility that he will serve time in prison consecutively if convicted?"

And whereas I was internally chuckling at how it would be so in character for the defense attorney to clean his client up for this hearing, he got on the phone and called his editors to let them know what he would be turning in.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

50 years

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Home is where my dad chases the dog around with a vaccuum cleaner

Yes I have returned to Hilo. (And yes, Dad has a new method of torturing Li Po).

My grandparents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and the whole family is set to gather at a fancy hotel buffet. The fact that anyone in my family has successfully survived 50 years with another person in my family is a miracle.

Not much has changed here:

Mom and Dad still pay more attention to the TV or the computer than each other.

There is take-out in the refrigerator because no one cooks.

My brother is nowhere to be found.

Li Po still chases his ball, but it's harder now because he is blinder.

Speaking of Li Po, I think he's given up on me. I haven't been home in so long (well, three weeks but that's really long) that I doubt he considers me part of the family. He gave me exactly 15 seconds of attention when I walked through the door -- long enough to follow me up the hall to my room -- then he ditched me for Mom.

Friday, July 16, 2004

A Professional Job

Management in all its wisdom has decided to expand the office space by knocking down the wall separating us from the dark room. Dark rooms are a thing of the past anyway. The photogs all use digital now.

A week ago the guy contracted to knock the wall down took the clock off the wall. Three days past and nothing more happened.

I told Andrea I was convinced management was paying the contractor by the hour, starting from the moment the clock was removed.

The wall has finally come down though.

Yesterday I watched Ken the computer guy sawing a hole to create an additional electrical outlet for the new expanded area. I found it endlessly amusing because Ken is such a small, bouncy, good natured guy. It was like watching Snoopy saw.

Everyone else was giving him death stares though because the sawing sounded like "fingernails scraping a chalkboard," as Ken cheerfully described it.

Anyway, one of my co-workers caught my eye as we watched the sawing. "You know," he said. "Someone should tell Ken the ladies bathroom is on the other side of that wall."

Fortunately, it wasn't RIGHT on the other side. There was some space in between.

Nonetheless a couple of secretaries came out of the bathroom and saw Ken. "Oh so that was YOU making all that noise!" they exclaimed.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Where crazy intersects

I spend a lot of time worrying about other people think and how they will react.

My boss for instance, barely says two words to me all day and when he does it is usaully something like, "Good job. I really appreciate your doing that."

Yet I am convinced he is secretly resentful of me and finds my work to be sub-standard. He just doesn't have the balls to say it to my face and fire me.

I feel bad when I don't go out drinking with my co-workers because I'm afraid they'll think I'm a loser and stop talking to me during work hours. (Who will I share my lunch break with?) But when I don't go out, they just shrug when they see me the next morning and say, "We didn't really expect you to show up anyway."

Then they ask me if I'm hungry and want to join them on their dinner break and I say yes because I AM hungry and because I SHOULD do some socializing even though it costs money.

I think the moral of the thing, which I'm not doing a good job of illustrating, is that by worrying so much about other people's crazy reactions I am ignoring my own crazy thought patterns.

Over analyzation sucks though, because I always come to the conclusion that I shouldn't give a shit, should just mind my own business and do my own thing. I am happily on this track when someone in my life (friend, crazy father, etc.) will give me a reality check in the form of a "you're a really spoiled, selfish, ingrate" speech that will throw me off-kilter.

I'll feel bad about myself, feel resentful towards them, convince myself they are nuts and its psychologically damaging for me to be around them, feel guilt, convince myself that I am crazy for spending so much time thinking about it....

Start again at top.

Monday, July 12, 2004

A Montage of Maile Moments

On the local newspaper's redesign

"So I was shocked when I saw the new newspaper!" Maile exclaimed as she climbed into my car. "I mean it was huge! So big! I wasn't used to seeing it that big! But you know what? There were only one or two local stories in the whole thing."

"Well, it's bigger alright," Baron agreed. "It's a great size for making paper hats."

Maile laughed. "Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. And also boats."

"I imagine it's also good for lining bird cages," Maile added.

"Nah," I said. "Too big. I bet the old paper was the perfect size for bird cages."

"But it's good for dogs," Baron interjected.

On the Middle East conflict

We arrive at the Kona Brewing Co. and Maile is still chanting the cheer she learned from a British friend in China:

"Who ate the pie?
Who ate the pie?
You fat bastard!
You fat bastard!
You ate the pie!"

Occasionally she even strikes a cheerleader pose.

The cheer refers to Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister who, I guess, the British consider a "fat bastard."

On the state of toilets

Waiting for our meal to arrive at the Kona Brewing Co., Maile strikes up a conversation with fellow world-trotter Jim, about the international state of toilets.

"Literally, in China, there are people peeing on troughs!" Maile exclaimed. "They have these stalls, without doors and you have to stick your elbows out like this---" She pauses to demonstrate, sticking her elbows out like a chicken. "--to balance while you're peeing. Everytime I go out there are always these little Chinese women squatting over these troughs."

Sometimes, there isn't even a trough. Just a hole in the ground and you have to squat over that.

"These people think they're going to take over the world!" Maile exclaimed. "They can't even make a seat for their toilet. I mean, how do these people enjoy their newspaper while taking a crap? You can't! You're too busy concentrating on squatting!"

"Well maybe they use their toilet time to do other things," I suggested. "Maybe they're contemplating larger world issues as they squat."

"Like what?" Maile exclaimed. "They're not reading the paper!"

"Although it is rather amazing given all the contemplation time that they haven't contemplated inventing a toilet seat," I added.

"But I was thinking about this," she continued. "And I think that there is a great business opportunity for me. I already discussed it with one of my friends at the University and he agreed with me. I want to contact someone in the government and have them hire me as a toilet consultant."

"A what?!"

"A toilet consultant. That way when Westerners come to China for these conferences I can go in and test all the toilets and see how they rate. I can tell them how they could make things better, like if the toilet paper dispenser is too low, for instance."

"Sounds like the toilet paper dispenser is the least of their problems."

"Oh, it is."

"But it'll be great," I said. "You could print up business cards: Maile....she's full of shit."

"Ha ha ha ha. Or how about this? Maile...she's a royal flush!"

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Maile is the power of personality

My friend Maile is back from teaching English in China. She'll be returning to Beijing at the end of the month.

I asked her what she wanted to do while back at home.

"Eat burritos. Eat pizza. Eat a tofu sandwich from BaLe. Eat chocolate," she said.

"Ah. So you want to eat."

We started with burritos.

The burritos from Tacos El Unico fell short of what she'd remembered.

"What did you think it was going to taste like?"

"Like heaven in a tortilla. But this is not heaven in a tortilla. This is like...the Hyatt in a tortilla."

(Mental note: Too bad Maile's going back to China. I would tell her to apply for the Honolulu Advertiser's restaurant reviewer position).

The tofu sandwich from BaLe met better reviews. Maile had especially missed the crisp, crunchy French bread they use there. It was everything she remembered. Plus, Max, the owner comped our meal and gave us free coconut flavored ice cream.

This is the real magic of eating your way through town with Maile. You are bound to run into someone she knows, and they are bound to be so delighted to see her that you leave with free stuff or invitations to do stuff.

"You're like a fucking celebrity here," I told her between spoonfuls of ice cream.

She laughed. "Not really."

"Whatever. Everybody remembers you and wants to you come home."

"Fuck that. Although the girl at Tacos El Unico remembered me. When I walked in she said, 'Maile! You're back from teaching English in China!' I didn't think she even knew my name."

"What?! That girl barely says two words in English to me."

"Well I used to eat there a lot."

"Whatever. Andrea ALWAYS eats there. She has a thing for Mexican guys and all the Mexican guys hang out there. But the girl hardly talks to her either. But then again, Andrea didn't once suggest that the girl rig a pulley to deliver burritos to her apartment window."

"Hey, that was a good idea."

Thursday, July 01, 2004

A beach that is indoors

Here is where I'd like to be now:

On a beach, but maybe a man made beach that is indoors. Or maybe in a house with glass walls with the beach right outside. An empty beach just rocks and sand and ocean. And I would be curled in bed, like a cat, with a mug of tea and a book. I could look up through the glass ceiling and see the trees dropping their leaves onto the roof.

Yes, I think I need a vacation, or at least more time to read.

But speaking of reading, I went to an eye doctor the other day and she told me that staring at a computer screen and reading has caused my eyesight to worsen.

She suggested I look at a point 20 feet away from my computer screen every few minutes for 20 seconds to let my eyes focus on something else.

This I can do. Stare off into distance and find that blank space to paint with my mind. That is a kind of reading too, isn't it?