Signs of the Times

I like seeing things that make me smile. Like signs.

1) I like signs. Not as in “burning bushes, plagues of locusts, etc”, but signs that make me laugh. I took a picture of one (which is in my phone somewhere) that says “Orangutan Restroom”.

No way I’d ever clean that.

My favourite sign, to date, has to do with honesty in advertising. A guy on the street had a sign with a marijuana plant on it that said “Need cash for pot.” I laughed hard enough that I almost gave him a dollar.

2) Most awkward moment – thus far. I’m on a trolley and there’s an old lady across the aisle from me. She is wearing a dress, and I notice that her leg is all old and gnarly and veiny. She happens to catch my eye. “That’s right,” she said. I’m not quite sure what she meant, but it felt dirty.

It’s funny. Little kids and old ladies love me. It’s just everyone else …

3) The lads will be touching down soon. Not Zeus and Apollo, from Magnum PI. I’m pretty sure they are deceased. No, I mean our sons.

I’m not sure how we – considering how young we are – have sons who can travel half way across the world without us. We must live in some sort of time warp or black hole or something.

I’m looking forward to / dreading their arrival. It will be nice to see them. We’ll do cool stuff and have fun. But, it means that our carefree days of doing whatever we feel like doing are over. It’ll be sort of the same, but with way more whining.

4) It is amazingly windy today. I know you are very sympathetic – although I hear it was above zero today back in sunny Saskatoon – to my plight. One of the things I’ve done in a past life is operate a sandblaster. The beach was a lot like that today. Also, if “windswept hair” is an actual look, I am – finally – in style.

The sun is really bringing out my cool “blonde” highlights. I have some cool shades, too.

5) We have been making a point of watching sunsets. They are a bit boring, compared to Saskatchewan ones. It looks like the sun will take about an hour to go down. You turn to say something incredibly romantic to your spouse. Turn back and the sun is gone.

Having said that, they are still pretty nice. I was going to take a picture, but some idiot chose that time to sail his boat right between us and the sun. There it was, silhouetted on the sun.

Way to wreck the shot, Gilligan.

Well, I’ve got 6 minutes to catch the next sunset, so catch you later.

Ponderings From Paradise

Today it is 26 degrees and ridiculously windy. Oh, the hardship.

So, a few thoughts from the past couple of days:

1) One of my favourite things to do is to listen to stupid things people say. I’m not sure why I seem to be hearing more of them – now that I’m in the US – but I think one from yesterday was the best.

We were at the zoo. I always feel a bit strange at the zoo. Sort of like going to the jail for a visit, or something.

There is this guy there. Not in a cage – although that may have been an oversight.  He is complaining about the restroom – which I always laugh at. Let’s face it, I’m not in there to rest – to a friend of his.

“They should really keep the homeless out of this restroom,” he says. Somehow forgetting that it costs $17 a piece to get into the zoo. “They sure make a mess of things.” (Because non-homeless people are so clean.)

“Yep,” says his buddy. “But those homeless sure have it made here in Hawaii.”

I had foolishly thought that maybe I had it made, but it turns out that the homeless are the lucky ones.

2) I walked by a store that had 7 purses in the whole store. I am not kidding, because I counted. I also walked past a store that may have had 700 purses in it. Stacked to the ceiling. Copies of the same purse, just in different colours. (Or so it seemed to me. I may not be the best judge.)

For the price of one purse in the 7 purses store, I’m pretty sure I could have bought all 700 purses in the other store.

So, if uniqueness makes things more valuable, why do we insist on hiding our own and trying to be just like everyone else?

3) This made me laugh – and I probably shouldn’t have. You see, my job – pastoring – sort of comes with the requirement that I be compassionate. It’s like a prerequisite.

However …

My wife and I were on the bus. Yes, the bus. That is the price point we are living at so that when our sons join us – tomorrow – we can afford to feed them.

There was a rather … inebriated … old man sitting ahead of us. I knew he was old because the day before I had seen a pile of dirt with his picture beside it. The pile was wearing a tshirt that said “I’m as old as him.”

Anyway, he keeps pulling on a bottle and trying to light his cigarette – which his seatmate keeps saying is illegal. Ironically, he was sitting under the “It is illegal to smoke on public transportation” sign.

A woman pointed this out to him. He refers to her as “Hitler” and other words that I can’t repeat.

His stop finally comes up. He stumbles to the doors. On this bus, these doors are activated by pushing on two yellow lines. Then the doors open like closet doors.

He was having quite a bit of trouble finding the lines and was getting quite perturbed. I was just ready to help him out when he hits them.

The doors open.

This is quite a shock for him, and he looks at the open doors in wonder. Then he sticks his head out to make sure it really is his stop.

By this time, the doors were closing. His head, unfortunately, was between them. The doors close on his head, knocking his cap off outside the bus. By this point, he is so close to the doors that, when they spring open, he is tossed back.

Taking another pull, he looks for his hat. I make eye contact with the people around me. They are half way between shock and outright guffaws.

He slams the doors open and looks down at his hat. Curses for a while. The doors close. I’m not making this up. Finally, he gets the doors open, a passerby hands him his hat, and he passes out of my life.

The bus erupts into laughter. Down deep, we really are nasty people, aren’t we?

4) My “tan”, which started out as a beet-red sunburn, has now settled down to a bright red base. When most of your skin has been covered since August, it is a good idea not to try and tan all at once. On your first day.

5) The biggest downside to being here is that everyone wants something from you. You can’t walk into any kind of shop without being swarmed. You can’t walk the street without being asked for money. You know that people are simply trying to separate you from your hard earned dollars. Nobody seems real.

But …

We went to the farmer’s market. Real food. Real service. Real people. Bought some great food. Had one of the best meals I’ve had here. Served well. It was like being able to take a breath.

6) Friday nights, you get a free fireworks show on the beach. We remembered it from the last time we were here, so we went a little early. We sat on the beach. Dark, but you can see the breakers and the waves coming in.

We had sat there for a while – arm in arm. Romantic like – when a storm blew up. Lightning. Thunder. Oddly, though, there was no increase in the wind. No rain. After this had gone on for a while, we realized that the fireworks were being set off on the other side of the beach we were on.

Just getting older doesn’t mean you necessarily get any smarter.


Another Day in Paradise

A few thoughts on being on vacation here in Waikiki:

1) When you are on vacation with your wife, you can do whatever you want. Let me rephrase that – and shame on you for where your minds went. When you are on vacation, and it’s just the two of you, you have no responsibilities.

Take today. Slept in. Ate late. Strolled along the beach. Took a nap. Realized that we should probably have supper. Went to a little hole in the wall with great food and better music. Finished the day at a frozen yogurt place where they charge you by the pound. Life is good.

2) My wife loves to shop. Shopping for her is like sports for me. She gets all psyched up for it. Talks strategies. Stretches out. Puts the dark smudges under her eyes so the sun isn’t a distraction. Starts trash talking the women around her.

Frankly, she’s a bit scary.

Me, I detest shopping. Just the thought of it makes my back hurt and my head start throbbing. It ranks right between root canal and legislative debates … in French.

This creates a dilemma, because spending time with her ranks pretty high on my list of things I like to do. So, what do I, as a good husband, do when she asks me to go shopping?

Today, I took a nap.

3) You may be under the impression that people who go to the beach in Waikiki -possibly the most famous beach in the world – are all beautiful, hard-bodied gods and goddesses.

You would be mistaken.

4) Paradise is a funny place. On the same street, you have stores that sell Prada and Gucci (yes, I know what these brands are, because – most of the time – I am wandering around with my loving wife. Did you know that you can buy a purse that costs over $1000? My first car cost me $625. It could hold considerably more than the purse.) and, just a few steps away, you have homeless people sleeping on the sidewalk and street vendors hawking their wares. I know it’s probably me, but is there something wrong with this picture?

5) I had this overwhelming urge to open the drapes of my hotel room window and yell “Hello, world. Here I am.” Oh, I had just stepped out of the shower and wasn’t wearing much. Or anything, really. Got to watch this “no responsibilities” thing or I’ll end up going viral on Youtube.

6) I sat out on the lanai today. Lanai is Hawaiian for “call it a lanai because lounging on the lanai sounds a lot cooler than sitting out on the balcony on a couple of crappy chairs does.” That’s marketing, my friends.

I’m sure I’ll have even more pearls of wisdom as really get into the vacation thing.

Oh, and one more wise thought: when your laptop says your battery is at 3%, you should really