When you land on the mainland you suddenly feel, “I have to get out of here.”
Then you realize that here is everywhere. Here goes on for hundreds and hundreds of miles, there is no escape from here, you are trapped.
You then get crammed into an airport shuttle weaving madly through traffic at 40 miles an hour. Engines roaring, horns honking, fingers flipping.
Aren’t you glad you’re on such a peaceful vacation?
After you stand for two hours in the rental car line, after you fend off the rental car guy from “putting you in,” a gold Mercedes for $200 a day, after you strap yourself into your tiny Nissan and careen down the freeway freaked out of your mind, you ask yourself the eternal question, “Why am I doing this?”
Why do we leave Hawaii to suffer the slings and arrows of the outrageous mainland?
Instead of going to the mainland you could just as easily climb into a spinning dryer and spin around for an hour, and then take $1,000 in twenties and put them through a paper shredder. Why not? This is what a trip to the mainland does to you.
The reason we walk like robots to the airport each year to fly away again is the fault of our minds. Your brain is such a con man, a real trickster. You see, your mind remembers the good times and forgets the bad.
After sitting in Kona for a year, you start remembering the nice lady you knew in Idaho, you remember happy moments on a beach somewhere, the shining Christmas tree, the BBQs, beers with your friends. Oh, happy, happy.
You forget the freeways and cars swerving by you at 100 miles an hour, the 14-wheelers blowing your doors off. You forget the screaming planes, the traffic, the smog and the flipped fingers. The horrors fade as you bask in the glow of the good times.
And, once again, you amble to the airport in a daze and are flown to a terrible place.
Somehow, in your daze, you forgot the worst tortures of all — airports and the planes that take you there. Forget water boarding, if you want to torture a terrorist send him through about eight airports, he’ll crack and tell you everything.
After being scrunched on the plane for five hours between Bubba and his wife, Blubba, with bleary eyes you walk off the plane. You have to watch out for the businessmen in black suits walking about 20 miles an hour pulling their rolling suitcase. In my trunks and aloha shirt, I jump out of their way.
All around you is every specimen of human, from suits to nuts, and every single one is staring blankly at a smartphone. You fight your way through the crowd searching for a breakfast muffin for less that $19.95 and what you settle for is a $10 donut.
Then you look up and see your next flight is leaving in two minutes from a distant terminal. I’m nervous enough about flying, why do they use the word terminal?
After wandering in the underworld for two weeks you’re ready to come home.
You are you returning to Kona. You dream of the white beaches, the light blue skies and the green mountains. You smile wide and turn to the others in the airport line and let out a loud, “aloha!” Everyone laughs as you board the plane for paradise.
But you’ll forget how bad it was and will be back next year. The airlines are counting on it.
Dennis Gregory writes a bimonthly column for West Hawaii Today and welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org