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.


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