Two Tickets to Paradise

I’ve got two tickets to paradise
Won’t you pack your bags, we’ll leave tonight
—Eddie Money

It’s one of the two questions I hate the most.

You live in Hawaii! Do you love it there?

Why do I hate this question? Well…it’s complicated.

The weather is undeniably good. Averaging in the 80s Farenheit. Most days if it’s raining wait a bit and the sun will come back out and brighten things up. But it’s also one of the most expensive places to live in the country. And local folks will tell you that you can’t feed your family with a rainbow.

The beaches are inviting. But when you’re working two or three jobs to make ends meet there’s not a lot of time available to hang out at the beach. The local economy is dependent on tourism and geography means nearly everything is shipped in. This creates low-wage jobs and high prices.

I’ve met some wonderful people here who personify the Aloha Spirit. They are welcoming, generous, kind. But I have met far more people frustrated and resentful of folks from elsewhere crowding the local folks out. While I understand why some feel that way, it doesn’t make it any more comfortable to be the target of the resentment just because I didn’t grow up here.

Whenever I get asked about Hawaii there’s a split second where I have to decide. How am I going to answer? Am I going to tell the whole story, warts and all? Or am I going to mimic the tour book description? Am I completely truthful? Or do I reinforce the image they have of sunny beaches and umbrella drinks?

So it’s complicated. Hawaii is a wondrous place with amazing landscapes and kindhearted people. But it’s also a stressful place with more than its share of difficulties.

Which brings me to the other question I hate the most.

How are you doing with your diabetes?

How am I doing? It’s complicated…