I went to Maui two weeks ago. While I was there, I came across some locals. I thought a lot about what it’s like to actually live in Hawaii. If you live in Hawaii, you live on an island. You can’t drive to other places. That seems so isolating. Also, Hawaii is so different. I was there during Thanksgiving and found out that people there don’t celebrate the holiday as much as other Americans. It’s weird to imagine not celebrating the holiday because I love it so much.
People who grew up in Hawaii probably don’t think much of these differences. It’s their home, after all. It’s what’s familiar to them. But there are people who move to Hawaii. These people chose an alternate lifestyle and had to adapt to it. They also moved to an island away from anything else.
When I ziplined at North Shore Zipline* in Maui, one of the guys who worked there was from Arizona. I’ll call him Jack. He moved to Maui from Arizona when he was 20 and called it one of the best decisions of his life. Before I climbed a ladder to get onto one of the ziplines, he told me that I had to finish a sentence. He began with “This one time in Maui…” and I finished with “I met a loser named Jack.” It was a joke, of course. Jack is actually a really cool person. He liked the joke, but told me, “your vacation is my life.”
And that’s it right there. People in Hawaii don’t care about how different their lives are because they’re having a great time. I guess being isolated on an island isn’t so bad when you’re on a fantastic island. I imagine all islands to be fantastic, actually. They all seem tropical. I guess Guantanamo Bay isn’t much of a vacation. Well, Maui is.
Jack’s right – while others look forward to a week in Maui, he gets to live it all the time. While they’re planning activities to partake in and restaurants to eat at, he can do those things whenever he wants.
Does Thanksgiving exist because we need it? It’s at the end of November – a time when it’s cold, but there is still more cold weather to get through. It’s also weeks away from Christmas. A bleak time, for sure. Maybe, we eat a lot on Thanksgiving to feel better about life.
Do a lot of Hawaiians not celebrate Thanksgiving because they don’t feel the need to eat excessively to feel better? The weather is the same year – round. It’s always somewhere perfectly between too hot and too cold. They’re surrounded by such beauty. Maybe, they’re too content with their way of living to need Thanksgiving to get through life.
I think Hawaii’s time zone is a metaphor for what it must be like to live there. Hawaii’s time of day is behind the rest of the United States. They watch things on TV after everyone else. They wake up after everyone. They’re essentially always last. By the time it’s midnight on the east coast, it’s 7 p.m. in Hawaii. But do they care? Sure, Hawaiians can’t live tweet The Bachelor because by the time they watch it, everyone else has. But why would they live tweet some dating game show when they could swim under a waterfall? They’re living more lavishly than the rest of us.
* I told them I’d write about my experience on my blog. I don’t think they’ll ever find this, though.