Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Two Reasons to Love This Town (as a guy)

They're in there somewhere.....

Hilo is an interesting town.  There's no getting around it¹.  Not only is it the rainiest city in the US², but it also features many other interesting items, such as:
  • a sundial (interesting choice, because as it's the rainiest city, it's more often than not cloudy, which therefore means that no one knows what time it is - I have a photo, but who wants to see a photo of a non-functional sundial?)
  • a clock (also interesting, as it's also broken and stands perpetually at 1:04 because that's when the 1960 tsunami hit....  We've got a problem keeping time here, it seems)

No one wants to see a broken sundial.
But everyone digs a broken clock.
At least it's right once in a while, yeah?

  • It's home to Merrie Monarch, the International Hula Festival, which is unassailably cool.
  • And lots of other things I'm sure I'll get around to telling you all about sometime, if I haven't told you about them already.
Now some of you might remember the tedious and long-winded explanation of not only ONE but TWO sets of Hilo Characters.

It's at this point I feel the need to tell you about a couple more.
Apart from being an ingenious name for a store, Cost-U-Less is also....(dun-duh-duh)...a store.  For those of you Cameronopieziologists (still waiting for additional input on that one, but big props to Tracy for at least chiming in) on the mainland, Cost-U-Less is kinda like a cross between a Sam's Club or CostCo and ... smaller than that that requires no membership.  So yeah, a mini-CostCo you don't have to sign up for.  At any rate, it's totally not important to the story.  Here I am, digressing again with cultural knowledge just in case a slight few of you ever make it to Hilo or Guam or Grand Cayman or any other of Cost-U-Less's (three S's, really?) 12 world-wide locations, and happen to be walking past when you think "I really need three pounds of bacon in a single package, and yet there's not a Sam's Club in sight.  What shall I do?"  Well, now you know.

And now I'm digressing about digressing.  Ugh.

Ok.  So there's this store, right? (Best prices on beer in town)  A few months ago, Kaleo and I went to this store.  I don't know how long ago exactly, because I figured it was a singular moment  and there was no point recounting the story, but now that similar events have unfolded again, it's totally worth mentioning.  I mean, if something happens once, it'll never happen again, right?  But if it happens twice, then it'll happen many many more times.  Correct? I don't know...  I heard that somewhere, and now I can't find it online...oh well, so it goes.  At least now you understand my twisted logic.

So there we were at the store.  I don't know when it was.  A while ago.  We walk into the store, and we're talking about something.  Smack-dab in the middle of a conversation.  I was making some really profound point (because that's what I do when I'm not digressing or putting explanations between parentheses), and then it happened.

This woman walked by, on her way out of the store towards the parking lot.  I don't know if she forgot her purse or pocketbook or whatever you want to call the place she keeps her money, or if she thought she'd left her windows down (this is the rainiest city in the US, if you haven't heard), or what her thing was with the outdoors at that moment, but she was headed outside with more than a fair bit of determination and haste.

Now, having seen her later, I can tell you that while she was not in any way repulsive, I did get a chance to see her around the store later, and she was not terribly attractive.  But in a very clear demonstration of self-awareness, she was acutely confident in what she knew was her best physical feature.

Let's just say, if her blouse and been any lower-cut, it'd have needed shoelaces.

She was "busting" out all over. (ha ha ha fake laugh ha)

Clearly she was "abreast" of the situation. (he he fake laugh he)

She had big, well-exposed boobs. (hee hee..wait....)

Now I'm not naturally a breast man.  I kinda follow the Lowell Kilzer school of thought that "If you've seen one boob, you've seen them both."  But this display somehow drew in my attention, then rejected it, then drew it back in again, kinda like all of the lights on the Las Vegas Strip, where at first you're just overwhelmed and impressed, and then you're like "Ugh, that's gawdy," and eventually you're impressed at the sheer gawdiness of it all.  That's how it was, and it completely took the words out of my mouth.  So there I was, mid-sentence, and suddenly there was nothing I could say.  The viewing lasted all of 2 seconds, maximum, and I was totally at a loss.

Kaleo of course had to laugh, and I had to apologize for my extreme guyness, even though that's exactly what that lady was looking for, so my reaction was completely beyond my control.  

No matter.  It was funny.

So why am I telling you all of this?

So as you may know, we pick up buckets of scraps/slop/green waste from local health food stores to use in our compost piles.  One of my (at current count) five jobs right now is doing some web design for a local coffee shop/coffee grower/chocolatier/tour operator (Hilo's an interesting and diverse place....and rainy) and so since I'm often there anyway, I've started picking up coffee grounds there as well.  Now normally, the counter is run by any number of intelligent, openly conversational, friendly and attractive women.  Which is (of course) why I like to go thereʰ.  But on this particular Monday, the barista was Kevin, who, while being plenty friendly, frankly doesn't hold a candle to anyone else who works there (no offense Kevin, that's just how I roll).  But I figured I needed a cup of coffee, so I stayed for a bit.  The owner, Tom, showed up and started working behind the counter.  Kevin took a break, and sat with his back to the front window.

As it happened, I was at that time regaling Kevin with the finer points of potato rake use and casual transport (an important and yet under-discussed topic, as you all well know) when some young woman came running down the sidewalk in front of the store wearing only a tank top and bikini bottoms (which, by the way, didn't quite fit in exactly the way that means they fit in the best possible way).

She was not the "butt" of any jokes, I'll tell you. (ha ha ho ho hee)

All of her best bits were already "behind" her. (oh ho ho ha ha ha)

Seriously though, and not only because the crappy second-rate puns are getting old: WOW.

Once again, whatever I was saying right then just decided it couldn't compete, and stopped falling out of my mouth.  Kevin turned to look at what had distracted me, and didn't look back.

Now, I wasn't staring.  I wasn't.  As my observance protracted (thanks, thesaurus!) I cloudily thought "Don't stare!" so I started to look away, and then another part of my brain said "Yeah, but don't 'Don't stare!' in a way that looks obviously like you're trying to not stare!" and while those two parts of my brain debated the finer points of public courtesy I just watched for the couple of seconds more until she was out of view.

Kevin eventually turned back around.

I was still processing the whole event, carefully saving it in my memory, so when I'm on my death bed, and it appears to everyone I'm vocally and mentally mediating an argument between Thomas Edison and Nigel Tuffnel, I'll actually just be replaying that moment over and over again in my mind.  That is, of course, unless something better happens between now and then.ª

At any rate, after a moment of processing, restarting my brain, and then processing the fact that I had to restart it at all, and then trying desperately to remember what I was talking about (which I failed to do), I simply said, "I love this town."

Kevin agreed.


¹ Can you tell I'm digging the footnotes lately?  :)

² Sure, there are rainier places, and possibly even rainier towns, hamlets, settlements, villages, boroughs, metropolitan districts, and/or neighborhoods, but as far as actual cities go, Hilo's got them all beat.  Wikipedia, which seems to be full of completely contradictory information from what I've heard locally, continues that standard by saying it's an average of 126", but that's only recording up to 2000.  The local scuttlebutt is that it's closer to 140". (for the record, we get more rain than the airport up here, at an estimate of about 180+ inches a year)

³ The day after Sunday

ʰ When a guy lives alone in a tent on a hill for long enough with no one to talk to but the dogs (who've heard all my stories a dozen times over) and the birds (with whom one can't ever get a word in edgewise), this kind of a situation, even barring any romantic entanglements, is heaven.

ª I'm guessing nothing will.  But who knows...  I read today in the paper (as pointed out by one of the pretty, entertaining, and very friendly female baristas) that some woman in Texas has won the lottery jackpot 4 times.  Therefore anything can happen.  But this question is this: Why, if you've won the lottery, do you keep playing?  The answer:  Because sometimes when it's a sausage party at the local coffee shop where you hoped to talk with women, a half-naked stunner of a woman will run by and linger slightly outside the window; ergo: anything can happen.


  1. okay, after this account I now can see I will never qualify to be a Hilo girls and get to be referred to in various site -seeing toilet walls, but does the Cost-U-Less have sheets?
    remember I am retired and need a gig... or dream...or hobby. Still don't know the price of a potato rake
    Can you do a google map to Cost-U-Less in a foot note?
    As for our dedicated readers name... my abilities to spell are now being challenged greatly with the choices so how about camfans. oh, that sucks. I'm headed to the fridge for my beer now

  2. Thanks for the Lowell Kilzer quote. His wisdom is now forever captured for the Cameronomiconiacs to enjoy.

  3. Incidentally, I am NOT the Texan woman who won the lottery 4 times. If I were, I would not be in Texas - I would be knocking on your door!

  4. @ Tracy: Ha ha ha like I've got a door for you to knock on....
    (ok, I do...but for the record I still live in a tent)