I have been telling myself for several days, "It is time to post again!" but grab the computer and get distracted. This week's distraction was the birthday. After years of hints, this was the one that finally says "You are REALLY a senior citizen."
We -- my parents, brother and sister-in-law -- enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Reef Hotel smack on Waikiki Beach. I sat next to the outside "wall". This is one of those low walls that in another setting might mark a walkway. This one has a track in it, so they can close off the dining room to keep out intruders or bad weather. Most of the time it's like being on my covered deck in Groveland. If I had dropped something over the wall, it would have landed in the sand of Waikiki beach about 4' below. My view was of Diamond Head. From across the table, Meda looked out towards the harbor and the setting sun. Too bad the sky was too cloudy for one of those remarkable sunsets.
Last year the quote of the day was, "Happy birthday. Your car needs $1700 in repairs." This year the tune was only slightly more modest, but no less disconcerting. It came from the Groveland Community Services District. "Happy Birthday. Your house used 33,000 gallons of water last month." At least they called to share this bit of good news. Then Leda from the front desk added, "But the meter was not spinning when they read it, so it is not a continuous flow like a pipe break. Let us check and see if the meter is working correctly. I'll call you back." That was Thursday. I'm still waiting for the call-back.
I jumped on TheBus (Honolulu's mass transit system) yesterday morning and took a ride out to the other side of the City to collect one of those Senior Benefits to which I am now entitled: a Senior Bus Pass. Google Maps calculates the distance as 9 miles door-to-door by freeway, with a travel time of 9 minutes. Note that Google Maps does not understand Honolulu traffic. First, maximum freeway speed is 50 MPH. Average speed is something less, especially during commute hours when the freeway can turn into a real mainland-style parking 6-lane parking lot. So it probably takes more like 20 minutes with light traffic and no missed turns to get there by car. By bus? Google Maps says about 70 minutes. It took us more like 90 minutes. At the Kalihi Transit Center (TheBus Headquarters) you fill out a simple form, pay your $30, have your picture taken -- and, new photo ID card in hand -- ride the bus for free for the next 12 months. Last week this pass would have cost me $440. No, probably not. I probably would have been told by everyone in the office to come back AFTER my birthday! Hawaii works like that. The average service person pays attention to the client/customer and helps them get the best possible deal.
A bit of sad news. While on Hawaii in February, we visited my cousin Michael McPherson. He was looking forward to his 61st birthday later in the month, but commented that he was "prematurely makule" -- prematurely old. Yesterday emergency responders found his body after a call from a concerned friend. He apparently lay down for a nap a couple of days before -- and never woke up. Aloha, Michael. We will miss you.
Look for the good. Give thanks. Keep praying .....