I deleted the canoe story of new year’s eve because the events that day are still quite a sensitive issue. We’ve had to rethink procedures and decisions as a part of the canoe club. It’s interesting how a story shifts in shape as you hear other tellings of the same event. For some it was a life-threatening event, others shrugged it off as nothing, or nearly nothing. But no one has taken the event or the loss of the canoe lightly. It was devastating to leave Maunalua behind, and it’s the first time in the nearly one hundred years of the club that a canoe has been lost. Ever. The canoe too has a life, though, a spirit and has transported us between the water and the sky. It is either hiding out there in the bay (we haven’t found her yet) or is on the way to Kauai. That spirit will need to be formally acknowledged before this is over.
Last Thursday I took a load of mailings to the local Kapalama Post Office. Most people don’t know me here in Honolulu and I don’t particularly look local,: not Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese, Hawaiian, Samoan, Micronesian, or some blend of the above, though I’ve noticed that in the six years I’ve been here I blend in more and more. Some of the staff at the post office recognize me because I’m a regular customer and usually come dragging in with a stack of large envelopes, boxes and letters. I didn’t know the clerk who waited on me Thursday morning. I recognized her. She’s one of the youngest and newest and probably some mix of Hawaiian, Chinese and haole (white). She greets me warmly. All the staff here is like that: friendly. They are also very exacting in each of their transactions. Nothing gets by them and I’m certain that anything I send from here will make it to where it needs to be with the exact amount of postage and care.
I overheard her tell the customer before me, as she handed him one of the new sheets of stamps for the new year, a set of Chinese new year stamps, something about the numbers and good and bad luck. So while I placed my stack on the counter she reiterated that the numbers of the stamps on one side add up to 444, which for the Chinese is a bad luck number, so they put stamps on both sides and now the numbers add up to 888, a good luck number.
She scanned the label of my first package with her eyes, then casually announced, as if we were in the middle of coffee: “I was talking with A___ A____ the other night.
(Hmm, how does she know A.A.? A.A. used to work with L. And how does she know I know her?)
She continued: “She said you made the best chocolate chip cookies.” We then talked about A.A. for a bit, her gifts and talents. Then I paid up and was on to my next errand in the whirlwind before leaving to start the quarter at UCLA.
That transaction reminds me that in Honolulu I am known first as one of the canoe paddling crowd, who at canoe party jams plays a mean sax, and secondly, as the one who makes those killer chocolate chip cookies. It’s only in the last year that the word is getting out about my other life. That could work for or against me.
Signing out on a rainy rainy Sunday afternoon in LA.