Posts Tagged ‘idaho’

Part 1

Things were better when I was a kid.

Life wasn’t something that required a credit card, a password or any device with an acronymic name to enjoy. I wasn’t counting calories, concerned about keeping my sugar or sodium intake in check and certainly didn’t give a damn about my abs.

We had 3 channels on TV, the radio played rock, oldies and disco and you had 2 types of blue jeans to choose from: Levi’s or Wranglers. One made you a rad, the other made people gag with a spoon. The two fast food joints were known for their differences; one flame broiled their patties, the other fried them, and you chose were to dine according to your mood.

But those were luxuries found only on the mainland. In the islands, you could go to Tex’s Drive In, Dick’s Coffee Shop or Cafe 100, distinguished only by the quality of their gravy. You wore the pants that were handed down to you or bought on sale at Woolworth’s.

At night on the black and white, you could watch Star Trek re-runs if the rabbit ears were cooperating, followed by Happy Days and Lavern and Shirley. Your choice of footwear was simple: Rubber boots, rubber slippers or cowboy boots; farmer, beach bum, hillbilly.

Life was simple: Get up, eat a loco moco at Cafe 100, go to Itsu’s to buy bait, beer and hotdogs, head down to 4 mile to fish all day while my dad drank with his friends on the side of the road.

How much better could life be?

Star Wars? Oh yeah, I saw that in the movie theater. Ditto, Raider’s of the Lost Ark. Video games? That was when the ONLY place that kids wanted to be was the arcade, and it cost money. The look on your parent’s face as they forked over another fiver whose fate it was to be fed mercilessly into machines that returned the investment with sound effects and perspiration, priceless.

It was a simpler time.

There weren’t as many people, traffic was something that occurred in places like New York or LA, fantastical places unto themselves. People were friendly to one another; they didn’t exchange suspicious looks. No one worried about being mugged, tagged, flash mobbed or twittered about. There wasn’t H5N1, mad cow, GMO crops or Ethanol. No one had to worry about someone stealing their PIN or piggy-backing on their WLAN.

However, what existed in abundance was aloha.

Aloha: Hello, goodbye, love. Those were the good old days. So, where did it all go?

Recently, my wife Anna and I went to visit my mom in Idaho. She was born and raised on the Big Island back in the plantation days, which according to her, was a time that was less glamorous than it sounds. Back then, they were lucky if they got a new potato sack dress for Christmas. They ate what  grew in the garden or was raised in a pen. They watched the knobs on the tube radio.

Life was simple, perhaps too simple.

My mother saw living in Hawi as a trap, a dead end. She wanted more for herself and her son, so as soon as she could she packed me up and headed to the mainland. Although I returned to my home to spend summers with my father and the rest of my family over the next decade, my mother never looked back. She was done.

But I digress.

Despite the fact that the only racism that I have ever experienced in my life occurred in Idaho (granted that was before Idaho underwent a ‘cultural revolution’, yikes), upon returning with Anna, I encountered some of friendly folks that I had met in years.

Genuinely friendly, people.

Cashiers making minimum wage who were eager to engage in conversation over the health benefits of quinoa. Strangers on the street or in the malls that were smiling at one another. Waiters who really seemed to care if our french fries were crispy enough for us, who were willing to stand over the fryer themselves to ensure that we received the deep-fried, chipped spuds of our liking. It was both refreshing and alarming. Refreshing because I was beginning to think that geniality was dead, alarming because I live in the aloha state, which has become, over time, bereft of its intrinsic commodity.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fantasize about living in Celebration, nor am I the type of person who enjoys engaging door-to-door solicitors of any kind, in any sort of debate. I enjoy my space as much as the next guy or girl. I prefer to sit in the least crowded section of a restaurant, I turn the chat function off on Facebook.

Am I guilty of killing aloha? Did the ideal somehow arrive at its current moribund state because of something that I or my generation had done? Now that we carry, at any given time, an average of three devices on our person that can not only receive radio, TV and streaming data, but help us find our way, do our taxes and make phone calls, shouldn’t we all be happier? Perhaps a better question would be: Where has our happiness gone?

Back from Idaho and none too soon. Apparently a massive front was in the process of moving into Boise on the day of our departure with a forecast of 20 inches of snow! I don’t know if we would have been able to fly out in that weather. We enjopyed our stay, visiting with my mom and her boyfriend, but I am a creature of heat, humidity and sun. Layering clothes is not something that I enjoy. Nor are frozen metatarsals or the phenomena known as snow.

Looking at our itinerary and doing the math we came to the conclusion that Delta had deliberately misled us. To fly into and out of Boise on Delta required a stop over in Salt Lake City, which to those familiar with geography, is in a state that is east of Idaho, meaning past our destination. I could understand this (somewhat) because Boise is not a hub of any kind and so going backwards to go forwards makes some rational sense, I suppose (although my previous trips to Boise, departing from California were all direct. Hmmm…). At any rate, upon leaving Boise our itinerary stated that we would take one airplane to SLC, where we would board another airplane that would bring us back home to Kona. However, when we did the math in regards to total travel time, it amounted to nearly 12 hours! Now I love Integral Calculus as much as the next guy (cough, cough, sputter) but our trip to Boise, which consisted of 3 airplane rides took 5 hours (Kona to Portland), 1.25 hours (Portland to SLC), and .75 hours (SLC to Boise), respectively. Using my handy-dandy brain I arrived at the total of flying time of 7 hours with 2.5 hours of lay-over time. So, 9.5 hours, give or take a Canadian Goose in the engine. Why was the return trip, with one less airplane, taking an extra 2.5 hours? Did flying East to West somehow take longer? Did it involve the rotation of the earth, atmospheric conditions undisclosed, or the mysterious Potato Triangle? Were we flying forward in time which required an extra 2.5 hours for our past selves to catch up with our present? Unfortunately, the answer was much less glamorous and involved transportation subterfuge of the likes that we have never before witnessed.

After numerous attempts to reconcile the missing 2.5 hours by visiting the Delta site, calling the airline (“Sorry, but due to bad weather, we are not able to answer your call”. Since when did weather and picking up a phone share any commonalities?) and consulting the Ouija board, Jenga sculpture and passing up the chance to buy Boardwalk, we came across a nugget of information that shed light on our flight plight.
Hidden in our flight from SLC to Kona was a ghost plane!
Wait, that is kinda glamorous. No, but really, it wasn’t.
Apparently, once we left SLC we landed in California (LAX) where we deplaned, waited for 2 hours and then boarded another aircraft (both airplanes sharing the same flight number) which then took us home to Hawaii. Thus we found the missing 2.5 hours. Yay! But why all the sneaking on their part, why not just come out and say that there was another flight and save everyone the displeasure of having to bust out a graphing calculator? Well, it seems that Delta likes to oversell flights and then cut those overbooked people out just as they board the airplane. By not disclosing that information it also helps to mitigate those angry folks who suck at math and/or reading itineraries, that like to jam switchboards with their concerns. The bottom line? It’s bad business. And we will never fly Delta again if we can help it.

So, 12 hours later we are sitting at home and my head feels like the inside of a snow shoe. The ringing in my ears is at a constant 140db and I’m chomping at the bit to move around the cabin.
Upon waking this morning, I felt disoriented, half-dead, half-alive; Schrodinger’s Cat without the lesson plan.

The appeal of sea travel entices me now, more than ever. Mainly because ships don’t make stops in Idaho or Utah or for that matter, anywhere that there is a delta.


Posted: December 24, 2010 in Box of bacon
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Cold. Chapped nose and numb feet. Anna and I have been in Idaho for the past four days, visiting mum for the holidays. Thank the inventor of central heating.We’ve been going hither and yon; mom’s friends house for pupu’s and to talk story, the zoo. Today we are going to Sun Valley to build a snow man. We’ll try and not die on a shiny disc of metal. Had the best Indian food in downtown Boise at the Taj Mahal.

The weather outside isn’t frightful, but the cold is not delightful. 35 degrees. Have seen many folks wearing shorts and t-shirts, flip-flops. Even one man walking around with bare feet. Crazy, these Idahoans.