Several weeks ago, I think: A pre-Holoholo city girl returns to Maui from San Francisco, having recently imported her new Trainer boyfriend…
August, 1999: Once on Maui, the living was easy for the Trainer and I. We both got jobs at the Hard Rock Cafe in Lahaina, and decided to set up house at a Pukalani duplex. Surprisingly, the transition was smooth for my former hardcore-partying city boy. He made friends quickly and seemed completely at ease with his new laidback island lifestyle.
I, on the other hand, felt like I’d made a terrible mistake.
Don’t get me wrong—I was absolutely in love with the Trainer. He had a creative spirit that was inspiring, an encyclopedic knowledge of everything and he made me laugh constantly. He was my best friend and he always treated me with respect. The sex was great and he was probably the best boyfriend I’d ever had. But still, I wasn’t happy.
For one thing, I was bored and didn’t know if I wanted to stay on Maui. I went through a ton of jobs, hanging onto several at a time while I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with myself. The marine bio thing was out—being a volunteer boat tour guide wouldn’t pay my hefty school loans and I didn’t want to go to grad school and accumulate more debt.
Plus, it seemed to me that most marine biology jobs had a very narrow focus—studying “small-scale biological physical chemical interactions in plankton” for 20 years just didn’t hold the same glamorous flavor it did when I was an impressionable young dork in Santa Cruz.
So I got a job at a Wailea resort in room service.
It was an interesting job. And it paid really well. The perks were good, too. In fact, the perks were by far the best part of the job.
All fulltime employees got your standard vacation and holiday pay, a killer retirement plan and free rooms at any of the company’s resorts. But the perks working in room service far exceeded all that. We had snacking access to top-notch cuisine from the resort’s fine dining restaurants and pastry department, all the coffee we could drink, near-nightly champagne tastings and a truly inside look at how the rich and famous live. It was good stuff.
I’ve delivered prune juice to supermodels, spaghetti and peanut butter sandwiches to rock stars, ice cream sundaes to a pop princess, $1,800 bottles of cognac to a famous comedian and countless other necessities to actors, politicians and actors-turned-politicians.
You kinda get over being starstruck when you’re faced with serving macaroni and cheese to a celebrity in his white cotton briefs.
I’ve also seen the ugly side of the fabulously wealthy. Like one of the most powerful women in the world getting irate over the price of a $4 kid’s meal. Or the famous son of a legendary musician whining about some pants he wanted to be on sale. And an Oscar-winning actor who slurps his soup and the action “hero” who uses his shower as a toilet.
I guess the point is that money doesn’t buy you class, style or happiness. And my well-paying job was starting to wear me down. Four years had passed since the Trainer and I had relocated to Maui, and over five years since I’d graduated college. I needed to do something that involved using my brain more, something creative maybe. I wanted to do something that mattered. I wanted a life.
So I decided to take a vacation, determined to find another job or simply to leave Maui. That’s when I saw the ad for “Proofreader” in this very paper. Obviously, I got the job—I think I was the only applicant—and started driving in the morning from our new pad in Haiku to the Maui Time office in Lahaina, then to my night job in Wailea, then back to Haiku late evening.
Almost immediately, I started writing. I was awkward, nervous—still am, actually. Look, I’m sorry to get all hokey here but I found exactly what I was looking for… which was great ‘cause the very next month, I got dumped. And I was out of a place to live.
But it all worked out.
Samantha Campos deeply regrets that she has not seen Star Wars III, doesn’t know how to ride a skateboard, bake a souffle or recite the periodic table on command. MTW