Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I think I broke my Aloha.

It has been that kind of morning. A morning where my neighbor volunteers to drive the girls into school so I offer to give the preteen a ride to school. So I end up sitting at an intersection for 25 minutes that has a 9 way stop with a mix of functional and non functional lanes and no light. So between those who deem their time more important than everyone else's and those who just have no regard for the law, I am beginning to lose patience. I beg my kids to put on their earmuffs as I know where this is going.

I am 5 cars from the stop sign and a white van pulls next to me on the median and waves like that makes it ok. Around here, they call it driving with aloha. You can cut someone off- but if you wave while you are doing it- it's all good. So I smile and pull forward. Just slow enough so the guy behind me can keep on my bumper- which he does. He has been behind me the entire way too and we have just watched a dozen cars zoom by on the right and cut over. The car behind him does the same, and so on and so forth. White van with too many gold bangles gets tired and flips us all off and makes an illegal right turn. I finally make it to the light at school. Guess who pulls up next to me at the light?  I smile. White van with gold bangles mouths "Fuck You". She might have said it- so I rolled down my window- so she could hear me loud and clear. "What's your fucking problem" she yells. "You. You broke the law. " I yell back. "So what?" she yells"you (inaudible)bitch."  The light turns as I remark that she is an idiot. It may or may not have been loud enough for her and the entire intersection to hear. There may or may not have been an expletive. I am immediately ashamed and outraged. 2 of my kids are in the car and this is not a good example.

What did she say? I asked- because I'm pretty sure it was a racial commentary on the fairness of my skin. "She called you the b-word from the katy perry song" Phillip offers. I know that- the other word- "I don't know, I don't know what it was. " Good. No, not good. Bad. Very bad. All around bad. If I wanted this type of thing- we'd live in a major city. Not in a suburb on a dinky island in the middle of the ocean. Sure the crime is lower here. I'm beginning to think it is just a social experiment on the positive effects of laziness.

I don't know what the solution is. Me yelling at every idiot who breaks the law is not it. That intersection is unsafe and has been so for 3 years. I have written HPD. Periodically you will see an officer monitoring it- generally after a kid is hit- because there have been a couple of those incidents. The solution is to put one of those electronic message boards that blinks"slow down. Let people cross". I shake my head every time I see it- because the people who are not slowing down to stop at the stop sign and who don't care if they maul kids trying to get to school are not the sort of people who are going to take the time to reflect on the finer points of the suggestion of a blinking sign. It's us poor law abiding fools who are forced to sit there for 20 minutes while the flashing sign taunts us- as the other half of society blows by.

So was this morning about some idiot lady in a van trying to cut me off??? Probably not. It was the cumulative effect of a series of rather blatant injustices regarding race, policy and law. If I hear, that's just how things are done here one more flipping time... I can't listen to morning radio for 5 minutes without being barraged by one racist comment after another. Just because you are an equal opportunity offender, doesn't make the act any less racist or any less wrong. I'm tired of stupidity and ignorance being excused. When my 6 year old tells me that kids at her old school called her a fat bitch- I try to rack my brain for a reasonable way to explain this. He was wrong. It is wrong. It is even more wrong to me that there is no consequence. Just as you can drive on medians and make illegal turns, 6 year olds calling each other names is no longer a disciplinable offense. It's only wrong if you get caught mentality. They are just words right?  Despite the 6 notices I receive each year(filled with lots and lots of official words) about title 19 and bullying and how it includes words and discrimination and that there is zero tolerance in any school for such behavior. I have not seen this in practice.  Words are the foundation of our beliefs. The same words can convey very different things in the way they are used. The word aloha is a perfect example- hello, goodbye, love, peace, acceptance, let's get drunk and party(as in aloha Friday).

All I can figure is that the problem is in fact me. Somewhere I either misinterpreted aloha or broke my aloha.  There are many who do believe in aloha- the true spirit of aloha.  But they are the rare gem being over taken by beaches. I believe in aloha. I was not born nor raised here- so there is a contingent who will say I cannot possibly understand true aloha. I prefer to believe that we are the exact demographic who truly can understand aloha- because it is a choice not an obligation. The aloha spirit is one of love, compassion and acceptance. Acceptance of friends, family and strangers alike. After all strangers are just friends you have not met yet. The true spirit of Aloha is carried on the peaceful breeze, the constant tide and the suns rays. Yet as the breeze turns to gale, the tide to tsunami and the sun a burning force- the spirit of aloha can be taken under. The true spirit of aloha could be what allows people to let people over in traffic- but the true spirit of aloha is also waiting your turn so others don't have to wait for you and doing the right thing even when no one is watching. The true spirit of aloha is recognizing when your aloha is broke and trying to fix it. My aloha is broke, but I don't think I can fix it alone.

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