More than half of drivers in Hawaii believe that people on the road are not as courteous as they were just five years ago, reports a new survey commissioned by First Insurance Company. What’s more, reported the Associated Press on June 26, a mere 18 percent of drivers still use the venerable shaka to acknowledge another driver’s courtesy.
These stats were probably surprising to most residents, but not to the MauiTime staff. We read your Eh Brah submissions, and ever since we started this column nearly a decade ago, the vast majority of your letters have dealt with driving: reckless drivers, poor parking attempts, guys who break traffic laws with impunity, fools who still talk on cell phones in traffic, etc., etc.
So here are 18 of the best traffic-related Eh Brah submissions we’ve received in the past few months. There’s great humor in these write-ups, but also a lot of wisdom, which, apparently, fewer of us are taking to heart…
To the guys in the beat up old brown truck that chucked a battery at my windshield in front of the Haiku Community Center as we drove by each other: I figure you were just out for fun. And yeah, I drive a Jeep, but that doesn’t mean I’m a tourist. I guess you were trying to make a statement, though that statement ended up being that you were a coward because you ran like Hell when I turned around to follow you. If you want to stand up for some belief, then do it right: help out in your community, like at the community center for example, instead of just being an ass.
Braddah man, you must have been drunk, high, having a bad day, had an emergency to attend to at home or work (eg. you’re cheating on your wife and she’s about to catch your mistress in your guy’s bed) or any combination of all that stuff to have been driving your car that way. But please understand that just because your little hybrid is able to move in and out of lanes in between the other cars on the road, that doesn’t mean you can just speed all you want and never use your turn signal. Keep doing that and the police will pull over your ass, unless, of course, you trash your tiny car and kill yourself first.
To the big racist in the big truck, turning into the wrong lane on that small Lahaina street: Good thing I steered my bike out of your dangerous path, getting only a bruise. One of the two kids bouncing around in your back seat, without a seatbelt, is my student. No need to repeat the ignorant racial slur you shouted at me, which made the “Practice Aloha” sticker on your bumper a bit ironic. I’ve seen you on that street before, drinking beer and blowing two kinds of smoke in keiki’s faces. Your cousin tells me you haven’t had a job in years, and have four kids. One mom works and the other is on welfare. Both checks come from the government you hate, and the house you live in comes from your parents. Lucky you. I work hard for everything I have, which isn’t much. Amazing how you think being born makes you entitled.
To the guy in the white wagon that was flying through the K-mart parking lot on the way to Costco. Not only were you going so fast that you had to swerve to miss my car, but then you had the nerve to flip me the bird! To make matters worse, you had two little kids in the backseat. Is that really the example you want to set for them? As a parent, you should realize how dangerous it is to speed through a parking lot–or anywhere, actually. I hope your wife sees this so that she knows how you’ve been endangering your children and others.
I’m not sure why you felt the need to pass up everyone in front of you. But the moment I passed you, you looked upset. I could see in your eyes that you needed to get way ahead of me. Think again buddy: it’s called “sharing the road.” See, the reason I passed you was that you threw a plastic lunch container out the window, which flew all over the place and almost hit my car. Thank God there were no chicken bones flying around! Next time you buy lunch, make sure to throw your trash away or just keep it in your truck. Respect your aina!
Brah, all my mother asked you to do was move your car. Her friend needed to park in front of our house, and your car was in the way. It was no big deal, especially since there were other places you could park. Cussing her out, dropping the F-bomb and calling her a “dumb haole” was totally unnecessary. As a hapa girl, I live Hawaii from both sides: I understand the undercurrents of pain and unforgiveness that run through Hawaiian blood. I feel it. But if we continue to blame the white man for everything we will remain angry and disempowered. I also know that my ancestors respected their kupuna, and extended aloha to everyone in good faith. Our culture is one of honor, not bitterness and infantile name-calling. Man up.
What genius thought it would be a good idea to have trucks make deliveries on Front Street in Lahaina? Is that what you think brings shoppers out to the historical district? “Oooh, let’s head on over to Front Street so we can breathe in some truck fumes while we shop. And look at how cool those big dirty trucks look. I think I’ll buy myself a new handbag!” They got all these gnomes out bugging retailers about signs but heavy polluting spewing trucks on Front Street is all good? Not to mention they block the ocean view. I guarantee there is not another street in the entire world where deliveries are allowed on the main street of shopping. Hey, here’s an idea: how about having customers enter stores through the rear or even the basement?
This goes out to Mrs. Multitask in the van with the toddlers in the back and the phone pressed to her ear: You were coming up Puunene Avenue the other day, and I found myself behind you when you reached Kamehameha Avenue. You didn’t seem to know what you wanted to do, but you sure were doing your best to do everything at once. I pulled up beside you, and saw both side doors pulled back–cheap way to give your kids ventilation, I guess–and you chattering away on your phone. If someone had hit you, what would have happened to your kids? If you’re capable of thinking, ponder that one.
To whomever left the nice note on my truck defining me as too able-bodied to use my disability sticker for parking. Are you a doctor? Can you tell what’s going on in my body that required my doctor to issue me that sticker? It took me years of physical therapy to be able to get on my stand-up paddle board and “look” so able-bodied. Will you lift me off the beach and across the street (where I have fallen more than once) when, after my workout, my legs have turned to steel and I can barely make it to my car? Maybe you might consider that even different-abled people exercise and even if they look fine, the very act of exercise could wipe them out and leave them dependent on the blue card you don’t think they need.
I guess you thought I should have blown right through the red light at Mokulele and Hansen. Obviously you were planning on doing that when you failed to stop and slammed your crusty green and Bondo Ford Contour into the back of my car, then driving off a second later like only a soul-less tweeker would. I’m guessing you lacked insurance, since you did more damage to my bumper than your P.O.S. hooptie is even worth. But I’m not worried: Maui is small and we’ll see each other again.
This goes out to the person who parked his big dark blue truck across four spaces at Costco. It was early afternoon and the lot was packed–even the back lot was full. But the place could have been empty, and it still wouldn’t have been right. Your veteran license plate doesn’t give you the right to be so selfish and ignorant. Many locals shop there as well as tourists and this is no way to show aloha, but I’m guessing that showing aloha is not that important to you. We thank you for your service to our country but I’m sure Uncle Sam and your mother would be ashamed of your action. By the way, I heard a guy say that someone should key your truck, so apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought you were a jerk.
To the guy who went speeding through the red light on Hana Highway at the cane crossing: that light was red for a reason. You’re really lucky that the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar guy was a better driver than you and stopped halfway across the road when he saw you coming. If he had kept crossing under his green light you would have hit him, and the sad thing is that he would have paid the higher price for your mistake. And then you would have the inconvenience of having to explain to his family why you felt the need to run that red light.
To the road warriors who think they’re badass when they jam on the throttle with their leather jackets, cool sunglasses and tricked out bikes. Sometimes there’s a group of 30 of you cruising down South Kihei Road. Maybe you feel like Mad Max, but what you don’t realize is there’s children sound asleep there. I have two-month-old and every time you rev your throttle outside my window, which seems to happen every night, she’s startled out of a sound sleep. Have you considered not jamming it near residences? I know it’s probably hard to control yourselves, especially since South Kihei Road is such a place to be seen, but please, for my baby’s sake, please keep it quiet.
To the guy and girl driving through Paia in the red Jeep with the “Recycle” and “Maui Built” stickers: Shame on you! First, you drove way too fast and passed cars dangerously (didn’t get you much farther, though, did it?). Then you oh so casually dropped your cigarette butt out the window! The island is not your ashtray! Do you know how many toxins get leeched into the soil from that butt? Did you know that your cigarette butt will be there (if a seabird or some other marine life doesn’t eat it first) for hundreds of years to come? Look, pollute your body if you want, but this is our island, too! Shame on you for not protecting the ‘aina. As the saying goes, “we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
Okay, brah, the car out in front was going the speed limit when we came up on it. We were all going faster than that until we came up to him and had to slow down to the speed limit. I felt it wise to give the guy some space and let him cruise on down the road without pressure. Apparently, you disagreed because then you crawled up MY tailpipe and flashed your brights in my eyes. A double-tap brake-check backed you off a bit, but not for long. When you tried to pass on a curve but had to cut back in between me and the guy in front because of oncoming traffic, it felt really good to turn my brights on your Prius and give you a taste of your own medicine. By the way, the guy in front turned off the highway less than half a mile from your daring escapades.
To the young, pretty woman in the silver Lexus SUV who just about killed my family at the light in Napili: Come on! You weren’t looking and you came into my lane, almost hitting me head on because you were texting. You do not deserve to drive. My 19-month-old baby was asleep in the back til I laid on the horn. Then seeing you laugh as you drove off just pissed me off more. Let’s see who’s laughing when you kill someone and then go to jail, assuming of course that you live. Do everyone a favor and stop texting while you’re driving. If it’s so damned important to talk to someone, then pull over and do it.
Eh brah! Just wanted to let you know that the truck you broke into at the Lahaina Civic Center belonged to my 83-year-old father. But I guess you at least suspected that, because in addition to grabbing his tools you also stole the new handicapped tag we just got from the DMV. So because of you, now my dad has to do a lot more walking. But I doubt you care that he’s weak from recent surgery and has a feeding tube coming out of his stomach. Unreal.
Illustrations by Ron Pitts
About Anthony Pignataro
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He started work as MauiTime's Editor in 2003, took a couple years off starting in 2008, then returned to the staff in 2011. He's the author of "Stealing Cars With The Pros," a 2013 collection of his journalism and the Maui novels "Small Island" (2011) and "The Dead Season" (2012)–all of which were published by Event Horizon Press. In 2014, his one-act play "War Stories" won second place in the Maui Fringe Festival.