I recently came across this photo (I wish were bigger) from Maui, but could easily have been from Kapa’a, Kaua’i; Hilo, Hawai’i, or Kaunakakai, Moloka’i. It is such a perfect expression of the way people living on the outer islands deal with everyday life. This would probably never happen in Honolulu. Residents there, unless out in the country, live a much faster paced life, technically advanced and socially sophisticated. We live in the slow lane. We have bumper stickers on our cars that say things like “slow down, this is not the Mainland” or “live aloha”.
In my head I can hear the conversation that began here. “Hey, brah, my feet stay tired. I no like stand in line no more. I gon leave my slippahs to hol my place, eh”. Then the next guy says, “eh, good one. I gon do da same. I like sit down too.” One by one each person waiting in line places his slippers in his place in line and sits down waiting for his turn in relative comfort. This is such a perfect example of life in the counties. No grumbling, easy solution. We don’t let lines make us impatient, we have ho’omanawanui…patience, the willing to wait a while, we just don’t see the purpose of having to wait standing the whole time. We take care of each other. If we see someone on the side of the road with a flat, we will give them our can of “fix-a-flat” to help them either get home or to a station. We will stop and give a gallon of gas to someone who just ran out or we will help someone fix a flat, etc. and the only thing we ask is that you do the same. One time when I was flying to Maui from the Big Island a friend dropped me off at the airport. When checking in I realized I had left my purse in the car…with my tickets, my cell phone and the phone number of the man I was meeting there for the first time. I had no way of reaching anyone. One of the airport personnel nearby heard my laments and loaned me her cell phone. I took the opportunity to call my phone hoping my friend would hear it and realize what had happened, but no such luck. So, there I sat, stuck in the airport without ID, money or a contact. A woman walked by and asked me if I had a problem. I explained my plight and she said, “where did your friend go?”. I told her he was going to Tykes Laundromat. She volunteered to go find him with the description I gave her. Later when my friend came back with my purse just in time for me to run to the plane he told me that she had not found him at Tykes. She had driven across town in hopes of him being at the other big laundromat. And, there she found him. I never got her name, but have never forgotten her kindness. But, this is how we live on the outer islands. The aloha spirit is still alive and well. We take care of each other.