i had some doubts about returning. why was i leaving
my cozy home, loving wife, and adoring cat to step
into a situation that at
the time i was glad to exit? i barely slept,
dragged myself out of our unit to airport in a fog
(literally, as in the weather, but let it serve dual
purpose as metaphor for my feelings), sad goodbye to
departures curb, painted lines and automatic doors.
“looking forward to some warmer weather?” the agent
“i don’t know,” i shrugged, tagging my bag. he
laughed. “most people just say
yes!” the flight was a
which, given recent news, is just the way i want it.
i checked my seatback safety card, glad to see it
wasn’t a Boeing 737 MAX. some nice
views, a fairly cushy landing despite the
usual OGG buffeting as little kids
whooped it up and adults gripped their armrests.
there was an inexplicable spell where i feared
flying but now i’m just like, “bring it!” i
understand it’s a feat of engineering but that
doesn’t minimize the miracle and magic of it. after
all, aerodynamics is only one piece of it—the
greater mystery is how do you combine all those
individual disciplines as practiced by fallible
humans into a system that constantly flirts at the
edge of disaster yet maintains 99.9999% safety?
there’s something going on there that we only think
we understand, this organizing ability.
now imagine a centrifuge of american society and
isolate the layer that ends up at baggage claim on
maui. what do you see? it isn’t pretty, and that for
sure includes me. it’s one part money, two parts
tacky, rife with entitlement as evidenced by the way
people hold their space—they are there,
unmistakably; you are
invisible. next! ok, there’s
no costco like your first costco and maui costco was
my first. at the time i was baffled and bewildered,
overwhelmed by the size of the shopping cart and
scale of it all. they’ve added solar panel/shade
structures to the parking lot and the shopping carts
are a new model, maybe just a skosh smaller. given the
variety of local store layouts, one has to wonder if
it’s all a rat
it’s a two-hour drive to where i was going, not
a single turnoff until the driveway but still
i was one hair worried about finding it. there were
blinking lights, cops, fire engines, and ambulance
on the airport road—all for one dazed, downed
scooterist. i picked up a hitcher, a young drifter
who’s been doing the bare minimum to get by but
might have to change his ways now that he has a
it’s weird to come back to a place four years later.
everything is familiar but different than
remembered. no doubt there have been changes to it
and my memory. but what it whisper/screams in my ear
maui gets under my skin like a skeleton.