“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” –Arnold Bennett
So we did it. The house sold. We packed up a shipping container with all of the shit we could stomach…plus a bit more (come on, we’re ‘Mericans), and left the mainland for the Garden Island in the archipelago known as Hawai’i. We are a week-ish in and I can say, with little hesitation (only the amount allowable by prudence, and my inability to commit to anything, including my own thoughts), it is foreign. Everything is different…even more so than I expected. And I love it. That is, when I’m not consumed with hating it.
Moving to Kaua’i reminds me of my first try at surfing.
It was a cold Saturday morning. The time was 6 in the morning…yes: 6. I was standing knee-deep in a body of water that is, on average, about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4444444 Celsius), give or take a variance so miniscule it requires no more of your time, called the Pacific Ocean, off the beach in the town called Westport, Washington. The jetty was to my right as I gazed toward Japan. There was a low cloud bank and I could not see my friend Smitty that well…I could only hear his derisive chiding (a form of surfer encouragement meant to draw you deeper into the water). I was anxious, but in no real danger. The surf was mild (about 3-5 feet), I was rocking a full wet-suit (borrowed w/ no gloves, hood, or boots), and I had a long board (the length of which I can’t recall, but I was assured that one could “get up on it in a swimming pool” which is to say: it was stable). The under-tow or rip-tide was unappreciable. Still, I hesitated. I think I mentioned this before, but it bears the weight of repetition: it was cold.
There is a world of separation, in terms of commitment, with regard to being knee-deep in cold water (any temperature south of 98.6, really) and balls-deep. But if you want to surf, you gotta get your balls wet. This, of course, doesn’t apply to you, ladies…nor does it relieve you of the hook. Any lady who has surfed cold water can tell you that their lack of testicles makes surfing cold water no more comfortable. The Northern Pacific Ocean is nothing if not an equalizer. It posses the special ability to make everyone’s private parts, regardless of how affable and outgoing they are in everyday life: shy. ERA? YES! That being said, there is no time, not in Chronos, nor Kairos, that can be aptly described as: “the right time” to get one’s privates wet with 40 degree water. This is an epiphany that strikes one when building up the courage to go deeper at 6 in the morning standing knee-deep in the springtime waters off the coast of Washington state. But you know the old adage: “If you want to surf, you gotta get…”, you get the idea.
Everything in Kaua’i is an exercise in the preceding concept.
There is no time that feels like: “the right time” to do any of the things I have to do. Everything from looking for a car, looking for a house, looking for a job, whatever, requires me to push the boundaries of depth at which I am comfortable. And I am faced with the struggle of resisting the temptation to shrivel into myself every single morning. It is the kind of discomfort that I need. There-in lies a noble impetus to get outside of my head and meet with people on an unlevel playing field where “white privilege” is not a thing…in as much as this privileged white person can tell. I have been 20 years out of practice in procuring any of these things from a square even near the number 1. And I am at square one…plus a little start-up cash. But here cash means a lot less than an 808 prefix in your phone number. I thought I had a willingness to change everything…to go with the flow…but my phone number that has followed me for a decade plus 2? I don’t know…
It’s petty, I’m aware.
It would be impossible for you (my lovely half-dozen to one-full-dozen readers) to over-estimate how much I under-estimated this move…but what do you do? My suit’s already wet in the worst possible way…