Aloha! (That means “Hello” and a bunch of other stuff) – let me tell you a little tale about how someone stole my car in Hawaii.
I went to school on the island of Oahu. I had spent a few years as a child there, but when I moved back it wasn’t the Hawaii that I remembered. Yes, milk was still like $25.oo/gallon at the grocery store, but still…it was very different.
I thought to myself, “I’m not in Kansas anymore.” Everything had changed: the weather, the language (Pigeon), and even the food. At McDonald’s you could even order spam! Oh sorry…McSpam.
I went to school on the North Shore, a very isolated part of the island. I was also three time zones from home. It took a lot of adjusting to living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. My house was off the beaten path of a tourist. I believe it was a place Dog the Bounty Hunter often visited to collect his bounties.
I lived close to the local 7-Eleven. You may think scary people shop at your local Wal-Mart, but they have nothing on the 7-Eleveners, especially at night. If this 7-Eleven had the common “NO SHIRT, NO SHOES…NO SERVICE” policy they would be out of business in a week. And trust me…they weren’t coming for the pineapple-flavored Slurpees (but they should be).
For the first few months I didn’t have a car, and before you freak out just go open up a map and take a look. Hawaii isn’t that big, people. It’s not like I was stuck without a car in Canada or the old U.S.S.R.
I would hitchhike with some pretty shady people to get around. Many of them frequented the 7-Eleven, so in retrospect this was a terrible idea, but at the time I had to do it. Needless to say, the hitchhiking got old really fast.
I worked a few months at the Polynesian Culture Center. And no…I didn’t have a “cool” job like the palm tree climbers or the hula dancers.
I was in food services, and it was terrible. You might think it was cool because “HEY, FREE FOOD!” but don’t be fooled. I went home every night reeking of curry. Why couldn’t I smell like coconut, pineapple or even spam? Heck, I’d put on a few squirts of spam cologne any day if it meant I didn’t have to smell like curry.
I saved up some money and bought a sweet Honda Accord. You know, those “futuristic” ones with the head lights that flipped up and power everything. It was a pretty plush island car. I was even hoping to take it home with me back to the mainland, even though the shipping fee was more than the car was worth.
Here’s what my Honda looked like, only without Downton Abbey in the background:
Every now again I would drive to Honolulu to see the sights, eat some food, and walk around. It was always good people watching too. But that wasn’t even my favorite part of going downtown. On the way back, I always loved to cruise the Kamehameha Highway around the North Shore. Driving the North Shore Kam Hawaii drive at night was one of my favorite things to do. In fact, the only thing that would top that would be if I had a lifetime supply of Dole pineapple or Stitch as a pet.
You’re so close to the ocean on your left that you can hear the waves break and smell the salt water. On the right side you can see mountains and very few street lights – or lights in general – so it’s pretty dark. Every now again you’ll see a few lamp posts and an occasional passing car, but for the most part you are in your own world. It was a chance to escape real life, forget about school, and enjoy a peaceful drive.
However, here’s one thing you have to keep in mind: they call it a “highway,” but it’s nothing like a highway we are used to driving on in the mainland. This is a very narrow road, and max speed is 35 MPH (56.3 KPH for my foreign readers, I know you’re out there) so you’re literally “cruising” the entire time. I haven’t checked the Guinness Book of World Records, but it just might be the best highway in the world for picking up the ladies. Ryan Gosling could have a field day on this thing.
My Honda was one of the most important things in my life at the time. I would die if anything happened to it. [foreshadowing]
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” – Dalai Lama
So says the guy who didn’t own a car, but whatevs.
Anyway, one day I went out to start my car to drive to school and nothing happens. I popped the hood and pretended to inspect the engine. I know nothing about cars, so this basically consisted of me looking around intently, and I probably tapped the top of the engine a few times with a screwdriver because that’s what mechanics do. You know…because that makes it start.
However, I did realize that there was no battery. Someone stole it. JUST the battery. Who steals a battery?! My only thought was either there’s something in a battery that’s used to make meth or someone is building a time machine and needs more power. If it was meth then I was going to be super pissed, but the time machine idea sounded pretty cool, and I actually wanted in on that.
Needless to say, I had to go to town and buy a new battery. I couldn’t risk hitchhiking there because the person who would pick me up is probably the person who stole my first one, and if they needed it for meth then why not just rob me on the way home? Exactly.
I had to remove the battery every night and put back in every morning. It was a pain, but I could probably write a How to Install a Car Battery for Dummies book if anyone asked.
Then, one day I try to start my car and realize that the ignition area is destroyed, but THEY PUT MY OLD BATTERY BACK IN! My car was then rendered useless, but I did have two batteries, so only if I had the plans for that cool time machine.
One week later I went home for Christmas break, when I came back my car was gone! We had a code red GTA on our hands, so people better start clearing the sidewalks because ish is about to get real.
Oh wait…I don’t have a car anymore so NEVER MIND!
Several days later, the good ol’ Honolulu Police tell me they have my car and the dude who stole it! Wow, that was fast. And here I thought Dog the Bounty Hunter was just a fake TV show. No, I bet Dog’s huge-breasted wife muscled in on some trailer park and was like “THIS AIN’T YOUR @#%&$!-ING HONDA, BRAH!” and then Dog put him in the back of the cop car, gave him a smoke, and told him to find Jesus.
Then I had to go to court, which I think is the only place in Hawaii where everyone wears a shirt and shoes. This was my first experience on the witness stand, and all I wanted to say was “That brah stole my car! Book’em Dano!” but I didn’t. I figured they had heard that about a million times, and I also thought I should act like I’d “been there before” and not be a newb. Plus, I was from the mainland and I didn’t want the judge to be like “Only WE can say that, howlie.”
When I showed up to the impound lot to get my car it was completely trashed. I mean, not just “I had a few McDonald’s wrappers in the back seat” trashed, but next level nasty trashed like someone ran a meth lab out of that thing.
I swear if anyone went inside they were going to get some wicked disease like SARS or at least syphilis. I mean they broke EVERYTHING inside. Every little button was smashed out, the wires were cut, and they even took the CD player out! What am I supposed to listen to now – cassette tapes? I’m sure all the kiddos reading this are like “Never mind cassette tapes? Uhhhh, what are CDs?”
And guess who had to pay for the towing, the storing, and then the transporting to a junk yard? Oh yeah…that’s all me brah. It was the worst $500 bucks I’ve ever spent, and I even bought a Sega Dreamcast when it first came out, so you can understand my level of pissed.
So what did I learn from all of this drama? Well…
- Don’t buy a car.
- If you do buy a car, don’t buy a battery for it.
- If you do #1 and #2, don’t move to Hawaii.
Ok, but seriously – even though it sounds like I complained about my crappy job (it was crappy) or my car getting stolen I really don’t think or dwell on those experiences. I remember the good times, the good people, the good food, and the good days at the beach.
To me it seems like people are always looking for the next great adventure and are always going a million miles an hour. They’re never content to sit still. I think some of the greatest experiences in life can come while “Chillin out…maxin…relaxing all cool” like the Fresh Prince would. Many times in life we look for the negative and dwell on that. You know what?! They can HAVE my Honda. Hitchhiking with ice dealers was way more fun anyway.
If my mom heard me say that she would be like “Now, that’s a great attitude!!!!” because she has no idea that “ice” is slang for crystal meth.
And that’s the beauty of it all. Looking back on my time in Hawaii, those drives were some of my favorite memories. It’s important for each of us to take time out of our busy lives and find our own “Kam Highways.” A place to escape our day to reflect on how life’s going.
If you want to find something complain about, there’s always something. But we don’t have to always dwell on the negative, you never know, maybe this world isn’t “going to hell in a hand basket” like your grandma would say.
Remember – be happy!
“The choice is YOURS!“
Well said, Captain Planet. You’re way wiser than the Dalai Lama.
Aloha! (means goodbye too. Oh, those Hawaiians)
“Aloha” also means “loser” so you might as well check out Hello, Loser on Facebook