Sun, Beaches, Palm Trees, and….Tents

I am taking a step away from talking about myself. Lets focus on a more serious issue.

To the outside world  Hawaii is  a tropical paradise. From the beaches, to the pineapples, to the amazing ocean waves it is the land of beauty, warmth, ,life, and peace. Some consider it a promise land where they come to relax, escape the troubles of reality, get married, or have a once in a lifetime vacation.

However, to those who live here there is a harsh reality of truth, one that may go unnoticed by tourist at times, but is still deeply a very disturbing a sad fact. A reality that puts a dark cloud over the tropical promise land.  The reality of homelessness and poverty in Hawaii.

To those who have seen the entire island of Oahu (the island with the largest population), understand that it is not all clean, serene beaches and sunshine. Travel outside of Waikiki to certain areas of  Waipahu or Wainaine, and you may forget where you actually are. You may even forget that you are still in the U. S. To those who truly know the island, know the truth about the growing population of homeless individuals and families that encompass the island. As a friend described it once “Hawaii is like a third world country”. Sadly, some areas are so improvised that it can remind one of being in a country that is struggling for resources.

The growing homeless population is the untold detriment of the island. To see a state where “tent communities” are a form of suitable housing is not exactly the idealistic notion of the American Dream. However, it a normal way of living on the island. Hey I even had a quick second thought of living in a tent so I can save money on rent. Though it is possible due to the year long warm weather,  it truly is not an ideal lifestyle.  For families to live in tents on a beach,  sadly it is not a public issue. It can be common. Children grow up together in tent communities. The beaches are used to shower, and public bathrooms can be treated like their very own. Would this require CPS action in New York, of course! However in Hawaii, as long as the children are being taken care of sufficiently CPS involvement is not necessary. The positive side: families are able to stay together, and the family unit is not disrupted.

In the recent Governor elections the issue of what to do about the homeless population came up as a topic of debate. It amazed me that the responses were to turn on the sprinklers at the park, and make it uncomfortable for them as much as possible.  That does not offer a solution, just moves people to a new location. Perhaps further away from the tourist? Hide the problem not fix has become the unsaid motto of what to do about homelessness.

The truth is that it just boils down to money.  The state of Hawaii is already in a deficit, considering that they actually furloughed school days last year, I know money is a serious state problem. To build more affordable housing, shelters, or to create more jobs may be out of the question at the immediate time. But, to have such a beautiful island, a paradise, that caters more to the tourist than the actual people who have grew up on the land, and call it home makes paradise a true disappointment. A former homeless man described his experience as this: ” I was waking up each day in paradise, but I felt like I was living each day in hell”.

Love And Other Forms Of Torture

Here is a little insight into me: My favorite movies are, Love and Basketball, How to lose a guy in 10 days, Serendipity, Brown  Sugar, and Coyote Ugly.  Ignoring the fact that all of these movies are sappy romantic chick flicks (that I usually rotate through on a regular basis), they have another incredibly huge common factor. The final scene of these movies all end up with the guy chasing the girl at the end, in some form or fashion the man ends up declaring his undying love for the leading lady. Mind you this happens after she has already thought she has lost him forever.  Girl feels like guy is gone, and guy dramatically shows that she is the one that he really loves. (I know it’s a movie so drama is a requirement) Got it!

So now lets take out the main characters, scenery, the sappy feelings of confusion turned into true love, and these are all virtually become the same movie. Here is what happens: Girl meets guy– girl and guy mutually like each other– they decide to try to fall in love– or play games to avoid the truth that they actually love each other– dramatic climax– girl and guy break away from each other–period of indecisiveness turned sadness–leading to the happy ending where guy chases girl and they both proclaim endless love to each other– finally they live happily ever after ( I assume). Conclusion: Chick flicks or romantic movies are actually adult forms of  Disney movies without the cartoons bursting out into song!

From the time girls are young we quickly learn about the notion of happily ever after. I can remember thinking “one day my prince will come” or just waiting for that Knight in shinning armor to come save me from….I am guessing myself to say the least. Little girls are groomed to be a princess. With dolls, dresses, and tiara’s, young girls love the idea of  being a Princess. However, as they grow older some still  hope that a prince charming will be the one to turn that storm cloud into a bright ray of sunshine. What is with that? When we are young it is magical thinking, when we are adults what do we call it? Maybe a delusion? Maybe wishful thinking? Whatever it is, I blame Hollywood.

As an adult we face reality. No more playing dress up in the princess costume, the costume gets replaced with a wedding dress, that may actually look like your childhood version of the princess costume. Yet, the reality of love isn’t as easy as a man running across the county on one leg for you, doing anything to prove that he loves you. I would like to think so. Maybe for some people they do get that childhood dream of being a princess.  I would like to think that the happily ever after exist, but does it?           

I am and probably will always will be a hopeless or helpless romantic (depending on which way you look at it). My friends laugh at me, but that’s alright, that’s just me. I like romance, you know the type that are in movies, and are sung about in love songs. Does it exist in real life? Well don’t ask me I’m single so I am yet to find out. But I am guessing someone out there has it.

A few months ago I saw the movie Love and Other Drugs with Jake Gyllenhaal, and Anne Hathaway. Cute movie. But it was also typical. The stuff that I only wonder about. Girl meets guy–somehow they fall in love–girl pushes guy away time after time–guy keeps coming back, every time going to another extreme to prove how much he loves her. I am assuming they then live happily ever after. He is the prince who saves her from herself. Now I will just wait for the Disney version to come out.

So while waiting for that prince to come, do we as women torture ourselves during the wait? Maybe Disney is to blame for coming up with that darn theme of Happily Ever After.  Perhaps it should be, kinda sorta, maybe, but not really happily ever after. Is it wrong to be a hopeless romantic, and expect for a guy to run after you when you push him away. Ok maybe not that serious, but at least to show you how important you are to him and how much you he wants to be with you. And women we can show the same. Is it wrong to have high expectations for your “prince”?  Whatever it is I know right now I am placing the blame on Disney and Hollywood for putting the idea out there that amazing, out of this world romantic love really exists. You know the type of love that only happens in the movies.