As of April 19th, 2010, a new law banning shopping carts and unauthorized tents at Oahu parks will go into effect. As punishment for an infraction, violators could be charged $500, be imprisoned for up to 30 days, or both.
Last week, I unfortunately had to take a little venture to Oahu, my least favorite place in the world. This prejudice of mine is unjustified; I love cities elsewhere, but Honolulu grates on my nerves. In an attempt to pass a few hours, I bought a caesar salad at Foodland, and aimlessly wandered over to Kapiolani park, sitting down on a bench. (Anyone from Oahu probably already knows what my pivotal mistake was.) First of all, I would like to note that the caesar salad for some inexplicable reason also contained mayonnaise and bow-tie pasta. After promptly throwing it in the trash, I lied down on the bench, closing my eyes to the traffic no more than 10 feet away.
“Miss? Miss?” I opened my eyes to a middle aged man, who had left his 2-year old in her stroller on the sidewalk. Startled, I shot straight up and asked, “Umm, what is it?”
“You probably don’t want to lie there. A man lives on that bench. And you don’t know what kind of… infestations… might be living there too.”
Made uncomfortable… by this strangers intrusion into my nap, the realization that I was invading someones “home,” and the thought of something… infesting… the bench, I allowed him to walk with me to a nearby cafe, where I relocated and
found a croissant and mocha latte much more enjoyable (and edible) than my earlier meal. Yes, I realize the irony of being picky about food while writing an article about homelessness. But really: lettuce, pasta, and chicken, soaked in mayo?
Shouldn’t I be able to sit on a park bench? Isn’t that what its there for? Well, yes. But one other question tugs at my conscience. Where is the man who lives on that bench going to go when this new law goes into effect? His little bench under a tree was not a bad spot to sit down for a bit and relax. Now he’ll be relegated to behind a dumpster in Waikiki.. or maybe hide in a forested area? I see not a benevolent and honest preoccupation for Oahu parks and citizens in the passing of this law, but rather a mandate for the “undesirables” of society to go hide under a rock somewhere. Where is the accompanying law insisting that for every million dollar mansion built, so is a below-poverty-line housing complex? I call this the “South Park Approach” to homelessness (See below… The homeless are compared to zombies and shot.) So really… dear Mayor Mufi Hannemann (The Guy Who Just Signed the Bill Last Wednesday) … please realize that your solution is just about as mature as Kennys’ is in South Park. Except no one finds you funny. By: Sierra Brown