Written July 15th When our flight landed last night, everyone did the really annoying thing they always do – once the seatbelt light went off, they stood in the aisles and glared toward the front of the plane, waiting for the door to open. (And I’ll fully admit that I do it too. Why does it take so long to open the door? Throw that fucker open, and let us OUT!) Which is when the flight attendant told everyone to take their seats and clear the aisles. And then six or seven men in sheriff uniforms boarded the plane and followed the flight attendant toward the back of the plane. A couple of the deputies (?) removed a few pieces of luggage, and then escorted a not particularly scared-looking woman off the plane. Shortly after, some kids and a man left, followed by the rest of the deputies (officers?). Everyone in the plane was all a-twitter. What the hell was going on? Terrorist activity? Smuggling? Had she tried to smuggle an avocado onto the island, or what? The flight attendants were not forthcoming, so we slowly started moving off the plane. Once off the plane, I walked past a flight attendant who was talking to a deputy, who was taking notes. I slowed down to listen, and then the light dawned. You know how the flight attendants say that federal law prohibits tampering with the smoke detectors in the airplane lavatories? Yeah. They’re SO not kidding about that. You know, if my sister, who smokes a lot (well, I think she does – I have no real idea of what a lot of smoking is) can make it on a 10-hour flight without tampering with the lavatory smoke detector and lighting up, anyone should be able to. My parents and Brian (Debbie and Brian landed in Hawaii about 5 hours before we did) met us at the airport and lei’d us. The leis were made of fresh plumeria blossoms, and they smell AMAZING. We’re staying at the Waikiki Gateway Hotel, and it’s nothing to write home about – you get what you pay for. There are two beds, drawers to put our clothes in, a fridge and a TV, so I’m not going to complain too much. Oh, and a balcony. When I stepped onto the balcony last night, a white pigeon stared at me from a few feet away, shot a stream of shit in my direction and proceeded to ignore me. Alrighty, then. We turned the light off at midnight, tossed and turned a little, but really slept fairly well. We’re on the 15th floor and can hear the traffic on the street below. A lot of buses go by our hotel, it seems. At 6 am, I was done with the sleeping and so was the spud. After all, that’s 11:00, Alabama time. I went onto the balcony and found that if I lean out and look to the right, I can see the ocean in the distance. To the front, more ocean. And to the left, a block or two away, the Ala Wai Canal. Now I’m waiting for a decent time so I can call my mother without waking anyone up.

7:09 am, Hawaii time
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Everyone but me: “Go! Go! Go! Buy! Go! Shop! Beach! Go! Look! Go! Shop! Go! GoGoGoGOGoGoGO!” Me: “Eh! Stop! My feet hurt! My back hurts! My eye hurts! I’m ::whine:: tiiiiired! I’m hungry! I’m thirsty! I’m sleepy! ::whine::whine::whine:: I’m a slug in a family of energizer bunnies. My feet huuuuurt, damnit. So around 7:50 this morning I called my mother’s cell phone. She didn’t answer, so I left a message. I flipped through the phone book to look for the number at the hotel where my parents are staying (the Island Colony). When I had no luck, I tried my mother’s cell again (no answer) and then called Debbie’s cell. We’re a family of cell phone-having motherfuckers. Debbie was not only up, she was out looking for my hotel. She found it pretty quickly, and she and Brian came up to our room. My mother was ready to go soon after, and we met up with her up the street from our hotel. There are, by the way, ABC Stores about every three feet here. They have food and sundries (though not, unfortunately, Sundry) and a lot of little souvenirs. We looked through that store and a few others before we decided it was time for breakfast. Two pancakes, two strips of bacon, and an egg for $2.99. Whoo! (I’ve had better pancakes, but syrup will improve any bland pancake.) We spent a good part of the late morning and early afternoon shopping then had lunch at my parents’ hotel room before heading for Waikiki Beach. The beach was wall-to-wall people, but we dropped our stuff on the sand and went right into the water. That’s some salty-ass water. I know, you’re saying “Duh”, but I was still surprised at the saltiness for some reason. We stayed at the beach for something like 1 1/2 hours, floating in the water, watching the people, and chatting. At one point, the spud was up on the beach pouting because she was tired and didn’t want to be at the beach. Debbie glanced over to check on her, and then said, sounding like she was going to fly out of the water and kick some ass, “Is that man TALKING to (the spud)?” I started laughing. “That’s DAD,” I said. Heh. After the beach we went back to my parents’ hotel where some of us showered and some of us just changed clothes. We had talked about going to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner, but my father and Brian were tired and decided to just get fast food and hang out in the hotel room. So my mother, Debbie, the spud and I headed out to eat at The Cheesecake Factory. That idea lasted until we found that it would be a 75 – 90 minute wait, whereupon we pretty much decided “Fuck THAT.” Thus began the Honolulu Death March, which began with my mother’s assurance that a fairly nice restaurant was “just upstairs.” Turned out it was three floors up and six thousand miles away (not really, but did I mention that MY FEET HURT?). We finally got there – the restaurant was Antonio’s – decided we’d eat there no matter what they served, and went in. Not only was it a “fairly nice” restaurant, it was one of those hoity-toity ones that doesn’t serve anything like a hamburger. Now, I’ve BEEN to nice restaurants, okay? I have! NOT often, but enough to know how to behave and not to blow snot-rockets or anything (annnnd, when you do a Google search so that you can link to the definition of snot-rockets and find that there’s a band called The Snot Rockets, the sentence “I know how to behave and not blow snot-rockets or anything” takes on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?). So we’re sitting there, we’ve placed our orders (I got some kind of salad with a citrus dressing and mango on it. Mango tastes exactly, I’ve found, like biting into nothing) and were talking. Some guy who worked there walked quietly up to our table. I was nodding as I listened to some eternal story my mother was telling, and I absentmindedly registered his presence, but didn’t really wonder what he was there for; I assumed he was going to refill our water glasses or something. “Huh,” I thought to myself. “I wonder why he’s picking up my napkin…” He picked up the cloth napkin sitting in front of me, snapped it open, and leaned toward me. I reached out to take the napkin, and he evaded my hand, and gently placed the napkin across my lap. My eyes bulged, and I traded glances with Debbie. He did the same with Debbie’s napkin and the spud’s as well. I thought Debbie was going to pass out, she was having such difficulty holding back her laughter. So, yes. Another first for me. At the restaurants I USUALLY frequent, they figure if you want that napkin on your lap, you can put it there your own damn self. They also usually have hamburgers on the menu. Does one thing have anything to do with the other? Who knows. After we ate, even though I’d told Debbie that I definitely wanted to visit the David and Goliath store, I wasn’t up for anything but hauling my ass back to my hotel and going to bed. So Deb and my mother went off shopping, and the spud and I picked up some bottles of water at an ABC store, and headed for “home.” I figure David and Goliath will still be there tomorrow. So now I’m off to read for a while, and then hit the hay.
9:29 pm, Hawaii