The Hoofprints of Paradise

It was after sundown. Darkness falls quickly on the Hawaiian Islands after sundown. I was walking down a beachfront road in Kailua-Kona, on the western shore of Hawai‘i Island, when out of the darkness a drunk called out.

“Do you know God?”

“Do you know Jesus?”

“Or”, as I kept on walking, “are you just vindictive?

I walked on, reflecting on the true tales of living on the Hawaiian Islands for which “vindictive” is one of the milder words, tales which I myself had lived, and I heard him laugh. A crazy laugh, high-pitched, hysterical.

And I thought that I had never heard a more apt description of life in the 50th state.

This is Hawai‘i. Of course it’s hot here. Welcome to Hell.

Drunk and Disorderly

At 6:45 p.m. the neighbor lady knocked on my door. I pretty well know if she shows up after 5 p.m. she’s going to be tipsy. Tonight she wasn’t. She hadn’t been drinking wine all afternoon. No siree — today is a holiday so she was drinking JD — and was drunk off her butt.

She sat here for an hour and ten minutes and told me the same six stories three times — or the same three stories six times … I quit listening. The stories didn’t bother me so much, but there were a couple of small things ….

First off, when she knocked on the door and I opened it, the telephone rang. I wasn’t going to take the call but it was a coworker and she doesn’t just call to visit, so I answered. So, while my coworker is telling me she is enrolling her nephew in his first day of preschool in the morning, and asking me to meet with her proby teacher to make certain he’s all squared away on the morning’s lessons, my neighbor lady is trying unsuccessfully to close my front door.

Okay, to be fair, closing my door is difficult. I live in a house with “personality.” To latch my front door you actually have to hold it closed while you lock it. A task which takes more coordination than my neighbor can manage even on a sober day. Tonight she was worse. I told her to leave it open but no — she kept trying to slam it harder and harder.

Finally I told my co-worker I had her bases covered and hustled her off the phone so I could rescue my door from Joan. My photo of Brandi had already leapt off the wall, but luckily it landed on the couch. I grabbed the door and Joan hung the picture back on the wall.

I hang my car keys from the door knob. I keep them there because it’s hard to lose them that way. In her zealous effort to close my door, Joan had bent my car key at a 45 degree angle. When I showed it to her she started laughing and couldn’t stop. I took my hammer, wrapped the key in a towel, and went out to the porch to hammer it back into an almost straight position.

It starts the car. Since that’s what it’s supposed to do I guess all is well. Except — as I’m stepping back out of the car Joan says, “I’m sure glad you fixed that key. I need to go to the store on Friday.”

Silly me. Not once did I condsider that bent up key might be an inconvienance to her. When did I become a mandatory taxi, and not a favor? I didn’t say anything because I know better than to argue with drunks — but she’s reminding me an awful lot why my exhusband is my ex-. How does one divorce a neighbor?