Visibly pinking in real time, she was the quintessential Tourist Lady—foamy visor, fanny pack n’ all—pale as a cream peony though hardly as pretty (sorry).
At first glance I liked her for all the reasons I like every Tourist Lady like her: she was an honest-looking woman who, if nothing else, had chosen to spend her vacation and dollars on our little isle (and bless her for it). Furthermore she’d managed to navigate her way out of Resort Land and into ‘Iao Valley (which earns her extra points, at least in my book). And cuter still, she was lugging a camera with a lens longer than her forearm while her Tourist Hubby looked on with loving, warm milk eyes. It was adorable. It always is.
But I found the Tourist Lady suddenly less endearing when she started photographing four, plain, feral chickens pecking in the parking lot. Chickens! Goddamned feral chickens! As if they were the creme de la creme of Hawaiian exoticism!
To think that this middle-aged gal from Middle America had spent a small fortune to hurtle 4,000 miles across Earth (and 40,000 miles above it), in an aluminum tube with jet propulsive properties—destination: Shangri La-if-there-ever-was-one—and of every majestic Maui thing to be enraptured by, she chose chickens.
Look, I’m not trying to belittle the chickens’ photogenic worth or whatever, but they happened to have had a little competition at the time.
Because, God, ‘Iao was in rare form that day! I mean, we were standing—at sunset—in the belly of the most famous valley on the Valley Isle. Steep, foliaged cliffs cradled us closely to the North and South; and from exactly between the dips in the dale, the center of our solar system set in the West as our natural satellite rose equally in the East. We were drenched in a wave of citrine light that poured over the apical edge of Maui’s storied westward range. The rays dip-dyed cumulus clouds every flushed hue, and if you followed the beams’ path and turned makai, you’d find the moon a bright passenger on peach clouds puffed like parachutes in a still-blue sky. Fuck, man. It was awesome in the truest sense of the word.
Yet there was the Tourist Lady, eyes locked with the asphalt, trying to stifle her giggling wonder lest she scare-away the sacred fowl and miss her dozenth chicken shot.
I wanted to yell, “Look up, Lady! How can you miss this?!” But I had neither the energy nor the courage.
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In other news, I’m an oblivious jerk.
Hey, I didn’t say breaking news! But man, I really fucked-up big this time.
Last week’s Da Kine Calendar was a little light on start-of-the-week listings, so I plopped-in an old blurb—which was coded as recurring every third Thursday—about the free lunchtime concert series called “Picnic with Poki.”
Today, my editor received a call reminding us that the venerable Allen “Braddah Poki” Pokipala had passed away late last September. The event is now called “Picnic for Poki.”
Oh, man. I am deeply sorry and more than mortified. Where the hell have I been?
In my meager defense, I’d recently seen tents and PAs and a KPOA banner outside the historic Ka‘ahumanu Church and thought, “Cool, that picnic concert is still going—and looking stronger than ever!” So later, I did a quick Google search which turned up a lingering calendar entry on KPOA’s website (among others) and assumed I was good to go. Wrong.
Again, I’d like to apologize, and further, ask for forgiveness.
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So today, I’m thinking a lot about what other chickens I’m stuck looking at through a narrow lens, when the heavens meanwhile are tripping the light fantastic.