Two years ago this week I caught a connecting flight in San Francisco bound for The Big Island of Hawaii to visit my friends Becky and Eric. They lived in Kona in a little house they were renting up a gentle hill (out of the Tsunami Evacuation Area) from which you could see the Pacific in all its glory. But I got in rather late. I couldn’t see the ocean, or anything else for that matter. So we caught up for a bit, I went to bed and awoke the next morning to discover that, of course, it was raining.
The Islands, I suspect, are a place a great many of us wish to travel, and when we think of them we think of them in postcards and computer screen savers and so forth. I thought of them in the stock footage of palm trees swaying in the wind and surfers catching a wave set to slack-key guitar that was shown going to and coming out of commercials every Christmas Eve during the Aloha Bowl (which is what I still call it even though it’s not called the Aloha Bowl anymore). The Hawaii I experienced was not exactly the same. Oh, sure, there were palm trees and there was surf and there was much time spent at the beach but the volcano that hovers over Kona results in daily Vog (i.e. volcanic haze) and so I only experienced one sunset my entire time in Hawaii. And yet, in the context of my personality, one sunset was perfect, because it made it that much more memorable and cherishable.
It’s why I wasn’t all that upset when I awoke to the steady pitter patter of rain on the metal awning over the patio where I drank my Kona coffee. In a strange way, I found it comforting. I even took a picture to commemorate it!
That afternoon, the rain still falling, we turned to the Wii Becky and Eric had just purchased and perused the on demand movie selections. For reasons I can’t recall we all settled on Mike Myers’ 1993 comedy So I Married An Axe Murderer in a matter of moments. It was a drizzly day, I suppose we wanted something cheerfully light. And so Becky and Eric’s friend came over, we drank Diet Dr. Pepper & rum and watched Mike Myers play two parts – Charlie McKenzie and Charlie McKenzie’s father (“We’ve got a piper down”) – and we tried to determine just how Charlie McKenzie made a living (does spoken poetry pay that well?) and we laughed and laughed and debated our favorite character (I’m partial to Alan Arkin’s too-nice police captain) and favorite lines (“Excuse me, miss? There seems to be a mistake. I believe I ordered the LARGE cappuccino”).
The next day the rain dissipated and the sun came out (for awhile) and the rest of my time there was warm and sunny (mostly). There is a lot I remember fondly of that trip. A Kentucky Derby party on the side of a volcano and a Moco Loco and nearly wiping out on Becky’s Vespa the first time I tried to ride it. And, of course, as much as anything, as much as the one sunset or any beach or any bit of ocean or even the comely server at Lava Java with the nose ring, I fondly remember watching So I Married An Axe Murderer indoors on a rainy Friday.
The Descendants worked to show how paradise is not all that different from anywhere else, and this is true. You can even have transcendent movie-watching experiences there.
Have you been to Hawaii? Are you dreaming to?