Here is what I learned from visiting with my landlady tonight:
What the ocean did to me. She was explaining to her coworkers what I looked like. You shoulda seen! He all buss’ up! I say from up to down, all on the right, he buss’ up, ya?
It is generally seen as positive that I got this out of the way.
She asks if there is anything that I need, anything that I would like. She explains she is working on another set of sheets for the bed and the only thing I can think of is a toaster.
“I’ll tell you what I don’t like about toasters here,” she says. She moves into the ever-so-slight grave tone that makes me wonder if this is a serious matter or merely wants to make a point. “I had a toaster. All nice, stainless steel, had a cover for it, everything. But the roaches would get in it. You know how just a little something gets on the wires? I had to clean it all the time, and still they get in it. It started to stink. So I gave it away.”
She explained how to make toast on the stove.
I went to the laundromat Saturday, mostly because I was tired of the towels smelling fungal and rancid. Tyke’s had the best reviews on Google, though I wonder how good a four-star laundromat can really be. I tell her this.
“Wow, Tyke’s, you brave,” she said.
Why brave? Was this not smart? It was what I remember of laundromats: poor people with nice cars and many kids. Plenty of haole, not just me.
“No, it’s fine.” I am given a better laundromat to use, one that takes debit cards.
“How is the car?” Car breakins are discussed. The guidebook explains you should leave the car unlocked, so at least they won’t wreck it trying to get in. “It’s just people, just like everywhere. Please don’t leave anything valuable in the car, ya?”
The Big Island is much better than Oahu. If your car breaks down there and you leave it overnight, it will be gone in the morning, except perhaps the shell. “Tires, you know. Seats. They break it all up.”
“It’s chopped,” I say.
She explains how at the Oahu flea market she and her sister take their suitcases with them, because they would only be targets in the locked car. The thieves know rental cars.
We discuss simple living, the overemphasis on things, how you have to jiggle the plug to get the washing machine to work. She will contact her sister about my coming over, since I return the car in Kona on Saturday and pick up a replacement Sunday.
“Don’t worry,” she says. “She’s busy. You’ll hear from us. You’re already da kine.”
We went over some pidgin earlier: I now know make plate and geev’um.
“Da kine,” she says. She makes the geev’um sign. “The one, bradah.”
It is nice to be accepted, even when you are unsure.