Let Gigi tell you about our fun mini-holiday in Honolulu. It's about a 45 minute plane ride to the big city. Gigi and David picked us up at the airport and whisked us off to lunch at Kincaids. Then we went to her house, where we chatted about various matters, as she relates. Terry, Hank and I discussed the Nation cruise. We all agreed that this cruise was such a great experience that we are going again in December when we will visit the Caribbean. I'm planning to stow away a few coquis to return to their homeland. (Only kidding.)
I'm having fun reading The Boys Great Escape, a blog by our renter now living in what was my late mother in law's house. It's right next door. He and his partner are debating whether to stay here or move on at this point. It seems a little too quiet for them and rather suburban. We're happy here, but we also go to Seattle a lot, and we have a big trip at least once a year, to Europe or as last year on the Nation Cruise. And Terry goes on several business trips a year as well.
But the longer I live in Hilo, the more things I get involved with and the more interesting this place becomes. I do think the years I worked locally at the University, the Community School and at the Kulani Prison, and my affiliations with The League of Women Voters, not to mention having relatives in town, have made this place my home. And then there are my many wonderful friends, the YWCA pool, yoga and pottery at the Senior Center, etc. etc.
A friend of mine says that about half the people who move here move back. I can't verify that, but people do return or go elsewhere for various reasons. The primary reason is economic. It can be very hard to make a good living here.
We are still somewhat in the Seattle mode. After settling our will and other documents with the lawyer, we went to the local Starbucks to celebrate with coffee and bagels (both good). While we were sitting there, a sudden squall came up and people were running everywhere. As we left, it was still raining a little. Dodging the local favorite modes of transportation,, huge SUVs or monster trucks whose drivers never get out of their vehicles but buy their drinks at the drive up window, I spotted a handsome black chicken strutting around the parking lot, getting a good soaking but not worried about it. Like all Hilo residents, it knew that the sun would be out again in just a little while.
I hope I never have to leave this place, where I feel so much at home.
Palin's logic: Sputniks and Spudnuts. The Soviets had government space projects and communism, and the place fell apart. We have donuts and democracy and free enterprise, therefore we flourish. Our government sponsored space program isn't doing so well, but people are eating lots of donuts. All else follows. We could, for instance, privatize our space program and send donuts into space. That would create lots of jobs for hard working American citizens while keeping taxes down. What's so hard to understand about that?
When I was younger, it amazed me, the chances my younger friends would take in life. They always seemed to think something would turn up, and that was pretty much true, for quite a while. Weren't they young, after all, and wasn't that what counted? In the 90's, as they started getting older, but when money grew on trees, plenty of them made and lost fortunes. Likewise with the housing boom, which some did well with but where many got caught in the downdraft.
Born in 1939, just near the end of the Depression, I grew up with my parents' stories of hardship and was not willing to fool with relationships, money, and so on. Work, take care of family, save, avoid credit, etc. etc. Boring, but today my husband and I are well set. This makes me feel lucky rather than smug. There are some Boomers who did the same, but there wasn't so much of the good stuff left by the time they got to the payoff. And now they have to compete with people in their 20's and 30's for jobs and all the rest it.
Boomers are moving into old age, and there are more of them with fewer assets. I am glad our entitlements are in place. I also know if I had been born later and lived as the Boomers did, I might be singing a song of woe right now instead of one of joy and thankfulness.
But there is an attitude Boomers have that I will never get or understand, that is for sure. They are overly optimistic, in my opinion, and optimism really doesn't put bread on the table, I fear. This kind of optimism, also, is all too apt to turn into its inverse: whining, blaming, and pessimism, when things go wrong, as they always do. Hard knocks? But of course. Everyone gets those. Why does anyone expect anything different?
As I read the reviews of Caribou Island, even the excellent ones, I feel unsatisfied. To me, they have not been willing to come to terms with just how devastating this novel is. I might write a review (I hear you all saying, oh please, please), but I just got back from Seattle and am just too busy right now. So just in a few words, or maybe by way of comparison. Conrad wrote the best book on British imperialism: Lord Jim. Caribou Island is the best book on manifest destiny. That dream is over and has been for 100+ years, but fools go right on looking for the great moment when they can bend the entire world to their wills. Building a cabin on an island with one's own hands is a feeble attempt to wipe out reality. The masturbatory fantasy of murder, rape and pillage lies at the heart of this mentality. The ones who have given that dream up devote themselves to what Vann calls the life of the penis. They drink, dope, fool around with boats and motorcycles and so on, driving women to despair with their uselessness. What a picture he paints, and how real it is. Well, back to the sweet life in Hawaii. It's just lovely today, and we are going to pick up the dog and cat at the kennel.
More: Thinking about it, I realize that Caribou Island calls for criticism, not review. So it shouldn't be written about much until people have read it. I was reminded, also, of Faulkner's people living out fantasies of the dear old days of the Southland or Toni Morrison's obscure evocations of lost Africa. This is the book that will spring western writers out of the prison of regionalism, because it has the right literary stuff.
More More: Where is my head? I didn't mean Lord Jim; I meant Heart of Darkness.