Saturday, November 13, 2004

I picked up S. at the airport yesterday. His arrival was unexpected and now gives Bob and me another experience of back-to-back houseguests. One year we suffered through 45 days of back-to-back houseguests which pushed us into our 115th nervous breakdown. We changed the rules about houseguests after that, but our houseguest rules need to be refined further still I feel. I am considering posting the new rules on the outside near the front door right next to the Mooch Sign. These rules would have strong statements such as "No just-washed dripping underwear are to be left on the towel rack." Or "Please put your glasses that you have strewn all over the house into the sink." I know that expecting others to put said glasses into the dishwasher would be pushing my luck. Houseguest etiquette needs to be improved and I have observed during the years our hospitality has been abused.

S. is one of those lucky breeds that migrate back to Maui like the whales. He is what is called in these islands, a snowbird. Snowbirds usually arrive when the weather has cooled off in November, and they leave around April when the hotter weather begins, just like the whales. Unlike the whales, they jet in with pockets full of credit cards and money. After their six months on Maui, they then move on to cooler climes like Aspen, Nantucket, Vancouver, etc. Because their livelihood is not tied to Maui, they can come and go as they please, and they spend good monies here which makes the hungry retailers very happy. Once the snowbirds begin arriving, you have to book your manicure appointments three months ahead of time. I'm not kidding. The snowbirds have moolah, and as we all know, money talks.

Funny thing about snowbirds though.... I have noticed that they arrive looking rather down and world-weary. Having observed this in our snowbird-houseguest who lives a pretty darned charmed life, I have to wonder what's going on in the Mainland. Is life more challenging over there these days I inquire? "Yes! It's the consciousness," he replies, sadly shaking his head. Indeed, he looks as if he needs regeneration. In a week or so, he will be renewewd through plentiful golf games, massage, swimming in the ocean, soaking in a brilliant sunset, and absorbing the mana (the Hawaiian lifeforce which is abundant), he will be shining like we remember him. Mama Maui will perform her magic yet again on another needy snowbird.

Lately we have had a lot vog (volcanic smog) settling in here like an grey overlay in the sky because of the eruption of Kilauea on the Big Island. Thus, everything is not as sparkling as I prefer it. Oh well! Such is the way of the evenly matched dance of polarities here. For instance, I washed the back deck yesterday with the hose because it was covered with black snow, the chunks of refuse from the cane burn that has blown our Kihei direction. Even though everyone and their dog knows that cane burn is carcinogenic, those that can get away with putting this toxin into our environment are still getting away with it. At the same moment I was grumbling to myself about the obnoxious cane burning, I was smelling the most exquisite smell of pikake flowers from our pikake bushes which are blooming like crazy since the recent rainstorm. The amazing, the beautiful, the weird and the corrupt are blended on Maui like a fresh tropical fruit smoothie. It's hard to say if or how long this blend will prevail. Since there is every kind of activist and foreward thinking businessman/woman you can imagine working hard on this island for change of one kind or another,I'm sure the future will be unfolding in very interesting ways.

Another unusual quality of Maui is this: the non-beautiful and/or physically unattractive arise to positions of power in their respective fields. The tables have been turned on the beautiful people here. They can cruise around with anonymity and merge into the population with scarcely a head-turn. If beautiful celebrities vacation here, they may get a glance, but that's about it. It's my guess that these celebrities are insanely happy to discover they can play 'anonymous' for awhile. No one here seems to crane their neck, flatter them or push their way up to hob-knob with them at parties, restaurants or stores. They are treated just like everyone else. The coconut wireless relays that Cameron Diaz (although skinny) has lots of zits, and that Courtney Love likes to run around nude in her hotel room even when she has room service. Locals hear this gossip all the time. No big deal. Yup, just like us! No wonder Maui gathers beautiful celebrities to her like a mother hen. They can be zitty, dirty, funky or downright nasty, and they'll fit right in.

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