East Meets West
© Copyright 2020 by Steven Hunley
Within an hour, the sun goes down and I grab a few sunset shots. It’s easy here; the background is simplified and the color is fantastically vivid. The palms turn to black construction paper cut-outs lying flat against the color, and you have a wide choice, since the hues change every few minutes. So I decide to do what cameras do best, preserve the ephemeral. It’s common among those with ADHD to want to preserve the ephemeral, since everything they miss seems ephemeral anyway.
The next morning, we go downstairs for breakfast. The huge dining room has tall French doors open on all sides. Mynah birds are foraging on the lawns and sparrows are darting up in the ceiling, and there’s iron railing next to the stairs with birds cast in the design.
A Japanese mother walks down the stairs carrying a plate of food, followed by her Amerasion son. Timmy, the guy at Enterprise rent a car, told me he was part Hawaiian. The small lady who placed the leis over our heads was Philipino. The Jewish girl from Ironwood, Michigan and the white-cracker fella from San Diego taking notes and making observations count, too.
I see what Maugham meant in ‘The Trembling Leaf’, East meets west in Hawaii.
Two hours later, we’re about to live it up Maui-style at the Fairmont. The villa is happening big time and I’m reading that the Fairmont is somehow related to the Waldorf Astoria. I should say Waldorf Historia on accounta plenty people in history stayed there. Wiki says Cole Porter hung out there and they named a suite after him. Others were The Royal Suite, named after the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the MacArthur Suite after our own American Caesar, and the Churchill Suite. The Presidential Suite was the home of Herbert Hoover, and Frank Sinatra hung out there too.
OMG OMG I’m sooo impressed.
But even so, this movie-star-ex-presidential-ex-king-ex-military action was nowhere near Hawaii. I’m not going to sniff any of their bones like Keith Richards, so what it has to do with me, the quintessential laid-back California dude, is questionable. Because it’s so upper-crust, I feel even more out of place, like a black bird baked in a pie.
On golf cars now, we motor down the hill from the hotel to one of the villas.
We pick out a bedroom with a view of the blue Pacific and unload. I fluff up a couple of pillows and Barb flops down on the bed, then looks out on a pacific ocean tinned brilliant azure, framed by deferential palms. I know she wants to go out. But she has to wait, and gives me a sad puppy-dog look.
“Babygirl, don’t despair. In Of Human Bondage, Phillip had a club foot. And Mildred fell in love with him anyway.”
“Mildred was a waitress, and a slut.”
“Can a guy be a slut?”
“Then…I’m a slut.”
“I think my second toe is turning blue.”
I give it a look and take on an official air, as if I know what I’m talking about, like I have a PHD and charge by the hour, like a plumber, electrician, or somethin’.
“Well, it seems discolored, but not radically discolored.”
She isn’t buying it. Like Pamela, one of my characters, she’s having none of it.
“Gangrene can set in.”
“No kidding? Really?”
“Yes, then it could turn into sepsis.”
“Oh Jeez, if it gets any darker we’ll go to the ER.”
“I’m sorry if my gout is ruining our vacation.”
“Think nothing of it. I’ll write about it, you know: “A Trip to the ER in Maui.” But let’s wait until morning and go then, if we have to.”
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