I fear the man who drinks water and so remembers this morning what the rest of us said last night. – Ancient Greek proverb
WOODY: Pour you a beer, Mr. Peterson? NORM: All right, but stop me at one. Make that one-thirty. – From the TV series, Cheers
I had the best of intentions, of course. In an effort to gain some clarity and focus on the possibilities of leaving Maui, and with the mountain of work that would entail, I tore away from my romantic and domestic life Upcountry and got myself a temporary abode, a block away from where I first lived on Maui a decade ago.
Yes, I’m back in Lahaina. And yeah, I’m scared, too.
One great thing about being back on the Westside is that I yet again get to ride my cruiser up and down Front Street. And so I did a lot of that, especially around sunset, when it’s time to join the aloha print-wearing, souvenir-searching, camera clicking masses at the rock wall in front of the Hard Rock.
It’s also nice to be in close proximity to so many restaurants (some old, some new, some with bars attached) and to see long-forgotten friends (some old, some new, some attached to bars) with whom I have the most erudite and eloquent conversations.
One night at Bamboo’s, bartender Rafi and Kim’s boytoy James discuss the high cost of living, the impossibility of saving, and the perils of selling sunglasses on Maui. Talk turns to international affairs, as Rafi goes on and on about Italian wines, the diminishing value of the U.S. dollar in recent Euro conversions, and how you should “never, ever as an American bring up the topic of soccer in Europe.” Then James brings it back home with the quandary of why AllState didn’t have enough money for Katrina victims but could dole it out for a Bon Jovi reunion.
Meanwhile, a very friendly beer drinker named Tyler engages me in doubles pool in which we kick the lily-white asses of some hapless newlyweds on vacation. After the game, I feign recognition but can’t recall the name of some other red-faced dude who’s leering at me from the bar, so I promptly get on the cell and try to decipher crazy Krista’s long and rambling phone message-on-tequila from Oahu while a Japanese couple in matching outfits with orchid lei look in briefly then clutch hands and walk briskly away.
Rafi switches the channel to “Whacked Out Sports” on TV, and tells a joke: “A guy goes to the doctor. The doctor says, ‘I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. The good news is you’ve got 24 hours to live.’ And the guy goes, ‘Ohmigawd, that’s the good news? What could be worse than that?! What’s the bad news?’ And the doctor says, ‘I tried calling you yesterday but you wouldn’t answer your phone.’”
As Rafi continues with the joke telling, an older, distinguished-looking chap buys us a round, then approaches my ol’ pool buddy Tyler and his bodaciously beautiful and blinged-out lady friend.
“Hey, how you guys doing?” says the older man. “Damn, those are some big boobs!”
Not too much later we end up at Hecock’s. Kim goes outside to smoke again and I consider taking up the habit. Instead, I sit at the bar and overhear a lovely young blonde girl say, “That’s why I don’t have kids—‘cause they’re just noisy calendars.” And Kevin, looking somewhat forlorn, sighs deeply.
“I may be intelligent,” he says, “but I can’t learn after 20 times when a straight guy says he’s gay and I pay his rent, that’s it’s relevant.”
Another perk of being back in Lahaina is that I’m once more within walking distance to a bunch of beaches, which is where good people on the Westside conveniently go to enjoy the inevitable fruits of their affably pernicious hangovers.
Samantha Campos likes her coffee black, her wine red, her juice orange and her tea green. MTW