Aloha Means Hello, Goodbye and I Love You

I’m in Hawaii.

I’m traveling with the 50s and up club. Our ages averaged together comes out to be around 54. I’m only 24. I bring the average down a lot.

Hawaii is kind of like any other city–it’s full of people, there are streets with traffic and malls everywhere. I have this problem with being a tourist.

I hate it.

I hate being a tourist. Our tour guide the other day, Cousin James, said local people hardly ever call us tourists; they call us visitors, or guests. I like how that sounds. A guest.

Taking the bus the other day did nothing but make me feel self conscious and terribly guilty. The bus is what Hawaiians call their public transportation–easy enough. It’s where locals and tourists get intimate. Dozens of us crowd onto a bus and end up face to butt, face to crotch, shoulder to hip, shoulder to shoulder, armpit to armpit, face to belly, belly to belly . . . it gets personal.

An . . . overly rambunctious group stepped onto the bus as well as an elderly man (probably in his 50s) who’d lived in Hawaii all his life. This group were stereotypically American.

I mean I ain’t gon give you no description cuz I let you go an picture dem yo self, mmmmmmmmmmhmmm. Ooohhhh, Chile, I sure bet you ain’t need no help. You’s smart enough, mmmmmmmmmmhhmmmm.

But, yeah, it’s fine and all–I have no problem with boisterous talk and laughter–they were just having a good time. But this guy–I felt so awful for him–here’s this guy who lives in a beautiful place with mountains and ocean and animals that walk right up to you and eat out of the palm of your hand, and his “guests” are loud and trashing the place and just ruining the overall harmony of life.

That’s got to be frustrating.

They were yelling. He was yelling at them to be quieter. Some random guy who wasn’t even talking started yelling at him about how he wasn’t yelling . . . it got weird.

And amidst all this, more people entered the bus. Two elderly women with white hair and tan skin, tan skin, flat noses and canes limped their way through the aisle. But these two young white girls rose from their seat and allowed these women to sit.

My saint-like mother also stood up to give them a seat, but I was so glad that those two girls stood instead. My mother’s not as young as she used to be either. Plus she totes around a backpack full of water bottles and snacks and other knick knacks while we “tour.”

I’m not sure why, but the beauty of that act made my heart surge. I wanted to thank them and hug them and let them know what a gracious thing they’d done–it’s the little things about humanity that makes me love people.

And that little act couldn’t be repeated anywhere else. I’m sure of it. Sure, there are other young white girls getting out of their seat to give it to seniors or people with disabilities who also happen to be minorities, but it’ll be a different circumstance, the other people on the bus will be different people . . . everything will be different.

They were foreign. They were “tourists.” They were considerate guests.

Shouldn’t we all act that way? If we just cared about each other a little bit, I don’t think people would need to visit islands to vacation in paradise.



2 thoughts on “Aloha Means Hello, Goodbye and I Love You

  1. I know this feel. The guilt and the self-conciousness in particular. Sometimes I think though that this self-deprecation might make me more tolerable than the others, though of course it doesn’t.

    To quote the brilliant Against Me, ‘And while I hope I’m not like them, I’m not so sure.’

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