Sunday, August 7, 2011


    I do a lot of walking. Living in Honolulu and working for under 30,000 (net) a year, I can't afford a car. Now matter, I like to walk. I get up every working morning at 5:00am, have a cup of instant with French Vanilla and then pack up and head out for work. Its a forty minute walk to the office. The walk has produced some lessons learned.
   1. Bus drivers are assholes. Now, Honolulu recently had their bus system voted the best in the U.S. I teach at an ESL school and we having students from Europe and Asia. They all vomited a little in their mouths when they found out. The buses in Honolulu are okay, they're late sometimes but overall they get ya where you want to go. The problem arises when we are hit by heavy rains. This being Hawaii, you would think that was a common occurrence, its not. The city is fairly dry, but now and then we get a real heavy downpour and it leaves the streets half flooded.
    Enter the bus driver. Buses need to pick up passengers, ergo they drive in the right lane. The right lane has gutters, gutters fill up during and after rain. Now, most drivers realize this and drive more slowly when forced to drive in the right lane. The Bus drivers here do not. They drive full speed with a ten foot fountain of water spraying out the right side. You think I'm joking, you think I exaggerate for comedic effect. Usually you would be right, but not this time. I have been soaked head to foot three times by bus drivers. Two of them stared straight at me while they did it.
    Bus drivers in Honolulu are assholes.

2. The homeless really smell. Sounds cruel and heartless right? Well, it is a little bit. But dammit, they reek! There are places where I and most people hold our breath for fifty or so feet. I am not joking. The smell of sweat and urine waft through the city, again, I do not jest. Having walked the same route for a year now I have learned all of the homeless who live in the area. My apartment is  near and area known as Boogville, by the homeless. There are nine homeless people who live in the area. I know all of their habits pretty well. Some are insane, and some are just down and out, and one of them is an interesting mystery.
    So am I being unreasonable in my annoyance at their stench? Maybe, but people, we live in HONOLULU!! The freaking ocean in about half a mile from all of them! There is no law that says they cannot swim in it and guess what, water does a fairly good job of cleaning people. All they would need to do is take a walk down to the beach, slip in and swim around a bit, and bingo, they feel cleaner and better.

 3. There is a mysterious homeless man who lives in a park. He has made his home near a transformer and under the canopy of two large trees. He has some furniture, a couple of coolers, large umbrellas, and both writing and reading materials. I pass him on the way to work and away from work every day. He has company sometimes, they sit and chat. Sometimes he is reading a book or making notes in a binder. He seems a perfectly normal rational man. And I wonder, who is he? I really want to know but at the same time I will respect his privacy. My guess is that he is a retired man who has enough money to live but not enough for an apartment. Hawaii has good enough weather that he does not need one.
    And the stench? He has none and this is why I rail on against those who do. The man washes his clothes, bathes and takes care of himself. He has pride, he remains a man, and that I respect.

4. People in stores are jerks. I stop by a Walgreens almost every morning and get a Mocha an danish, sometimes a hot chocolate. I have my debit card ready and swipe it while my stuff is being scanned, I push the buttons fast and step out of the way to pack once they are finished with me. Total time, less than a minute. It's 6:30am and there are usually quite a few people in there doing the same as me. We are all heading for work and we need to get a move on and yet, invariably, there is someone in the line who basically gives us all the bird.
    They come to the counter with six rolls of paper towels and three boxes of Vienna sausage (I'm not joking that was what one guy really had), they also have the newspaper with coupons and leisurely flip through them while their goods are being rung up. After the ring up they point out a coupon. The clerk scans the coupon.  They then take out their wallet or open their purse and retrieve their money. They have been standing there for minutes while things were being rung up and its as if they suddenly realize that, oh yeah! I have to pay? They pay, moving like a sloth. If cash is being used they always dig in a coin purse trying to find correct change. Th eline behind them continues to grow. The clerk has already called three times for back up and no one comes. I mean it, they call and call and no one comes to back them up. Then, once they have paid, they stay right where they are, blocking the register and packing everything away. Sometimes they chat with the cashier who looks like he wants to punch them in the face.
    Believe me sir, we all want to.

4. Walking is damn good exercise. My wife recently left me for a salsa dancer. Sounds like a bad movie but its true. One of the reasons was that when she saw me last I had gotten a bit chubby from drinking beer. I was lonely and bored, so I had beer most nights. She found me grotesque and it added to whatever reasons she had. She has never told me why she left me, I have had to pretty much guess. Anyway, since coming to Honolulu and walking all the time, i have dropped weight and slimmed down to a size I have not been since high school.
    I have fat thighs, I mean hippos fat. Both of my folks have big hips and I gott'em as well. I have been down to 113 lbs and my thighs were still fat. Now, having walked for an 1:30 everyday, my thighs are actually normal. Its quite shocking.
     Anyway, if you want to slim down, walk, eat less, and don't drink beer when bored. oh, and have your wife leave you on your birthday, that tends to rob you of whatever appetite you may have had.


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