Have you seen the sign on the road to Hana (or its copycat near Maliko Gulch; or wherever else I might be missing) where some clever, smitten fool penned “IN LOVE” between the words of warning “FALLING ROCKS”? It’s sweet and makes you smile, if you weren’t already.
It’s hard not to grin during the drive to Hana. Wrapped in the ebb and flow of shadow tangled up with crepuscular rays, the long and winding road cuts through a sea of red, gold and green; and once you’ve hit a rhythm hugging the curves, it’s over much sooner than you’d hoped.
Speaking of rhythm, when I drove out there for lunch this last Sunday, I was reminded that there’s a critical signpost missing. Nope, not “…But it’s the landing and getting-up part that sucks.” (Though, even more than rocks, that warning might be prudent.) Rather, I’m thinking of signs with friendly reminders of driving-to-Hana best practices.
But that would be terribly long sign. Or way too many little signs. So instead, I suggest a CD, or a special radio station, or some sort of MP3 dongle thing—provided to visitors upon their arrival—that plays just one song on repeat, to the tune of “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”:
Ladies and gentlemen on the road to Hana,
If I could offer you only one tip for your journey, pulling-the-hell-over would be it.
Nobody cares if you’re a Rocky Mountains roadmaster with a trophy to prove it. If the vehicle behind you isn’t a rental, it has the right of way. Always.
Yep. Different rules for different people.
Let’s put it this way: Your cyan convertible conspicuously flags you as an outsider. No one holds this against you until you hold up traffic.
Prepare to be tailed, but never tail anyone else. And no matter what speed you drive, you’ll either be going too slow or too fast.
So just pull over.
Besides, you need to reapply sunscreen.
Frankly, if you don’t, the melanoma will be your own damned fault. This is 2011 for Pete’s sake, and that Mary Schmich column-turned Baz Luhrmann song is old enough that, if she was a girl, she’d be legal with consent. Gross (and dated), yes, but now you have no excuses.
Then again, a lobster face is good for a giggle. Chemo works good an’ all, but laughter is the best medicine.
Just make sure your windows are rolled up. Please don’t sing if you’re in a convertible.
See, I’m tailing you waiting for you to pull over, so I’m close enough to hear. Smack your kid for not telling you that no one’s liked the Dave Matthews Band in 40 years.
Maybe you’ll go to Keanae, maybe you won’t.
Maybe you’ll stop at Tutu’s, maybe you won’t.
If you do stop at Aunty Sandy’s or Tutu’s, tip extra good, K?
You know the whole “do one thing every day that scares you” thing? This is not the time for that.
That cliff face is fo’ realz, brah. Like da Mainland, dis ain’t Disneyland.
Do not drive as fast as the teenage girl in the lifted Toyota. Contrary to whatever ageist, mysoginistic thing you’re thinking, she knows what she’s doing. Just another Costco run.
If you throw a cigarette butt out the window, the menehunes will waddle into your hotel room in the middle of the night and eat your eyeballs. If you see someone smoking a joint, don’t freak out. Everyone’s doing it. And don’t call the cops. They will laugh at you. Then ticket you for talking on your cell phone while you drive.
Yield means stop. Then, wave at every passing car. Genuinely. We can tell when you’re faking it.
Even if we don’t wave back, we’ll be making snide comments about whether or not you waved and in what manner. Yes, it’s that important.
Brothers and sisters, we can all make it to Hana in one piece. Just pull the hell over.
PS: Mary Schmich, in her famous column “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young,” “encourage(d) anyone over 26 to… entertain (them)selves by composing a Guide to Life for Graduates.” Seeing as I’m (as of this writing) officially 26-years-old—but missed the inner tube to graduation—I, too, thank you for indulging my attempt. ■
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