Friday, February 05, 2010
A Birthday, An Anniversary & The End of Days
Fortunately, at 6 pm, some establishments fire up the quasi-torches at their walkways. If perchance, you left your lighter, you can stand on tiptoe and light your cigarette by torch fire. Which is what I did one early evening, to the scandalized glances of passers-by. It is useless waiting for the next cig addict so you can beg for a light. There are none, this being Hawaii which seems to have hit upon a most efficacious way to get rid of smokers. On my first day here, I was happily puffing along a walkway when a security guard yelled: “There’s no smoking from here to the curb!” Meaning, step on to the street so a car can flatten you.
This is one reason I’m usually morose over the prospect of being here. An erstwhile friend snapped last year when I was preparing to leave, “yeah, we’re sorry you’re spending a month in Hawaii!”
Couldn’t tell her that the sea’s so vast, the horizon too far, the sun too sharp – all on a daily basis -- I end up feeling suicidal. Everything seems to say “yehey, that’s the way it is; nothing to do about it.” I become so stressed out I walk three hours every day.
There are, some residents assure me, trade-offs versus life in NY; people may be in one another's pockets over here but the relationship is closer, warmer. Too close maybe as to take for granted an abusive co-dependency. When a building guard started talking to me about myself, I began to really miss NY, where equal opportunity gossips are shunned, like a sinning Amish. One resident said, “sorry, there are no boundaries here.” I became paranoid, fearful that this stranger on a bicycle would stop and ask me questions about my life. Or that guy in flipflops. Or the cook at the corner diner.
In any case, ahead of the POTUS, I arrived here to a birthday cake (Photo A), which I was assured cost more than my actual birthday gift. So, minus three or four thin slices which were given away, I ate the whole thing, reserving for last the placard with the chocolate Happy Birthday. I suppose that meant that I would “disappear” last my being an activist. Or that I will fight to the bitter end for chocolate. I also got a bunch of flowers (Photo B). But no lei. Apropos of which, on my return trip, when I told a La Guardia Airport porter where I had come from, he shouted: “And did you get leid?” Cracked himself up. Minus $5 from your tip, you scandalous New Yorker.
Shortly after the birthday cake came a different birthday, commemorated with a statement, the 41st of its kind. One paragraph gingerly endorsed Sen. Manny Villar as “the most nationalist” of the presidential candidates. Hmmm. That gives Villar the most consolidated and most disciplined electoral machinery.
Ditto Bongbong Marcos.
To make matters worse, this laconic doctor framed his laconic diagnosis in this laconic manner: best-case scenario -- “if the infection reaches the prosthesis, the leg could be lost;” worst-case scenario -- “this germ is lethal.” My hair, all 24 inches of it, stood on end and stayed that way for the five days of treatment. Not mine; I was merely pretend-home-health-caregiver. In the end, though, I became the proud parent of a surgery scar. Laconic doctor was good.
I watched New Year’s fireworks from a 25th floor lanai alone and thought of 40 years ago. If the progressive vote base is 3,000,000 -- that would average out to 75,000 “turned” per year. The population is 92 million and assuming10 per cent or 9 million adherents would suffice for radical change, that would mean 6 million more or 80 years additional. At zero population growth.
Math can be so depressing. Can someone point to a hidden exponential trend somewhere in the equation?
When I finally made it back to NYC, the Great Bear Hunter, Guapo, welcomed me with a catch (Photo C), trading it for five macadamia nuts.
And how was your End of Days? -- #