Waking up on a Hawaiian Island is pretty much the radliest, so I was happy to do it; happier still to begin my first full day on Maui. My brain was brimming with ideas for fun and adventurous activities I could postpone in lieu of doing nothing, but for this I first needed calories I wouldn’t burn.
They don’t make better calories than in Hawaii. It’s all about salty, sweet, and fat, with a side of the freshest, juiciest fruit you’ve ever had. Talk about mixed messages: Here you go, tummy, a meal of simple, raw, nutrient-rich papaya and pineapple. Oh, and also here’s some SPAM fried in noodles with sugar gravy, mayonnaise pork and buttery, buttered butter in butter sauce with butter butter salt butter salted sugar butter. Side of butter. (Salt.)
The boyfriend and I decided to put on some clothing (after repeated, negative breakfast experiences without it) and made our way to the buffet at our hotel. We found a table overlooking the Pacific. Between us and it was a walking trek that many people were using for jogging. How… insensitive. Didn’t they know I was trying to punch as many macadamia nut pancakes down my gullet as possible? And their obnoxious exercise routine was bumming my trip, man – reminding me I was a gross slob with nary a single definable “ab”. But this coconut syrup isn’t going to drink itself, people!
As the boyfriend went out in search of an iced soy latte (you can take the Angelino out of LA, but you can’t LA out of an Angelino), I drank my drip and marveled at the simple beauty of the double-rainbow that stretched from the middle of the turquoise water to the clouds above Kauai. How perfect… how poetic…
“How the hell do you get off treating me this way?!” A woman’s voice, tense from tempering its volume in spite of its impassioned fury, came from my back-left. I turned to see a mother and her teenage daughter sitting at a table, neither one eating of the plates of assorted carbohydrates before them. The daughter sat with her hands in her lap, her head skewed down, as though the lip of the table were a frail grandmother she was waiting to watch die. The mother’s eyes were like blue blasts of frigid flames, trying to set the daughter’s face on ice/fire. She continued:
“We bring you all the way here and this is the [insert cuss word here] I get?! You are the most ungrateful [insert cuss word here] little [insert derogatory term here] I have ever met!”
I liked the idea that the mother referred to her off-spring as someone she “met”. Like the mother was once at a cocktail party and ended up in a conversation with someone younger than her.
“I work in real estate,” says the mother, pointing out the hostess across the room, “With Carol. We’ve known each other for years now. What about you? What do you do?” To which the other answers:
“I’m your daughter.”
“Oh, how nice!” answers the mother, “I’ll bet that’s fascinating.” And here her husband interrupts to pull her away to meet Ted and Evie Hendricks, but before she leaves, she turns to her daughter with hand extended and says, “Well, it was lovely to meet you. We should maybe all go to Hawaii sometime – my treat!” And she turns to leave before the daughter can respond and let her know that Polynesian culture always makes her feel sullen, moody, and [insert cuss word here] ungrateful.
“Quit looking forward like a [insert f-word here, affixed with the suffix ing] Neko Case!” the mother hissed. This comment confused me. I’m not familiar with Neko Case’s work, but regardless of genre or ability, it was difficult for me to see how this was especially biting or a clear communication. Why not take the attributes you relate to Neko Case and simply use those adjectives? If you think Neko Case is pouty, why not demand your daughter quit being 'so fucking pouty'? Isn’t that better? You wouldn’t say:
“I wish you’d be more like Yvonne Elliman in church,” to your disinterested husband when what you want is for him to participate in singing hymns with conviction and soulfulness, even if he questions some of the text. And it would be perhaps misunderstood if, upon discovering your son was binding himself in corsets and drearily singing about scarlet fever, you sent him to a psychologist with the hope of determining whether your child’s Rasputina-tendencies should be a concern.
The boyfriend returned and was surprised when, in the middle of his first sentence, I shut him up and commanded him listen. It wasn’t long before his ear-radio picked up the mother’s station – it came in better than anything else around. So we sat there, drinking java, gazing at a double rainbow crowning cresting waves of blue as a mother did her best to make her child feel as awful and ashamed as humanly possible.
“Aloha,” I whispered to my lover.
Later that day, the boyfriend and I enjoyed a few hours at the hotel spa. But here’s the thing, and it’s not going to make sense maybe, but it’s true: I am really bad at spas. How? How can someone be bad at slipping into a plush, comfortable robe and choosing between relaxing in a sauna or steam room, a hot tub or simply reclining on a chaise lounge and reading as music, specifically chosen to put you at ease, plays? Punctuated by whatever massage you care to enjoy? How can someone be bad at that?
I don’t know. But I am, and it comes naturally. I’ll have been laying in the steam room, for example, and the boyfriend will join me.
“Are you about ready to go?” I’ll ask, to which he’ll answer, “We’ve been at the spa two minutes.” Which will astonish me, because it’ll feel like hours have passed. Something about intentionally relaxing always stresses me out. Pop on some Japanese koto music, give me a magazine and serve me cucumber water – I’ll snap and tell you state secrets so fast you won’t get a chance to apply the warm stones to my chakras.
Everyone's got gay pride in their chakras.
The boyfriend doesn’t suffer this handicap. He finds relaxation relaxing. Takes all kinds, I guess.
In the evening we went out in search of the perfect Mai Tai, as has become our custom when Island-bound. It’s not a beverage you’ll ever catch me ordering on the Mainland, where it’s usually concocted using a barfy ratio of syrups and squeeze-bottle lime juice. While the recipe is not native to Hawaii, their access to fresh fruit and the competitive nature of the various culinary establishments and bars, particularly in the field of tropical cocktails, ensures even the most tawdry tavern can craft a decent drink. We judge a Mai Tai on a scale of one-to-ten, with nine being the highest rating we’ve ever given, to a Mai Tai we enjoyed on the Island of Kauai three years ago.
The warm breeze, star-filled sky and sweet alcohol led to the boyfriend and I engaging each other in playful conversation. We’ve been together for four and a half years, and are well-versed in each others idiosyncrasies. He knows I’m afraid of clowns, domesticated birds, and umbrellas (don’t judge me) and I know the second he crosses the threshold of a kitchen his mind and body retards so significantly, he could qualify for government aid (seriously, the man can cut himself on an egg yolk or burn down an Easy-Bake Oven).
We challenged each other to “Guess my favorite [insert noun here]”.
“What’s my favorite song from an animated Disney film?” I’d ask. His smart, but incorrect, answer would be:
Whereas the right answer is:
Or he’d ask: “What’s my least favorite thing you make me do?” to which I’d accurately answer, “Play games like ‘Guess my favorite,’” because I’ve studied him like a book.
We eventually fell asleep in each other’s arms, watching old episodes of Kids in the Hall as the boyfriend complained about people telling him how much he looks like Bruce McCulloch…