Not infrequently before we left home, when we mentioned to someone that we were about to go to Maui, they would reply in a mildly sarcastic tone of voice, “Gee, that’s too bad; what a rough life.” Well, it is. Sort of. Maybe not exactly rough, but certainly not surfboard smooth either. Consider some of what we have to put up with here on Maui:
(1) At some point every day, usually while we’re lying on the beach in the afternoon, we have to decide where to go out to dinner that evening. This takes a lot of thought since Maui, like almost everywhere, isn’t very vegetarian friendly. Thinking is hard. Plus, we get distracted by the waves, migrating whales, and fellow beachgoers. It can take several minutes to come up with a dining plan. Way too much work, but someone has to do it.
(2) Today I sliced a papaya in half for breakfast, scooped out the seeds, squeezed lime juice on it, and then found that it was pulpy. What gives? I had to root around under the pulpy fibers to find enough soft papaya fruit to eat. More hard work. I took a nap afterwards to recover.
(3) Speaking of naps, there is a guy in a room beneath us who talks really loud on his cell phone while sitting in a lounge chair on his outside deck. When this noise is combined with the sound of kids screaming as they play on the beach, some days it takes me as much as five minutes to get to sleep during my afternoon siesta time. Without the noisy neighbor I could do it in two or three minutes. I feel like I’m wasting time.
(4) For twenty minutes last night I had to hold T-shirts that Laurel was considering buying from a “25% Off the Sale Price” display. I would clutch the “possibles” while Laurel rummaged through the piles of shirts, looking for just the right size, color, and design. Finally we made it to the cash register, whereupon Laurel took another look at the T-shirt that she had laboriously picked out and said, “I’ve decided I don’t like it. I’m going to put it back.” We left empty-handed, and also increasingly empty-stomached, as I hadn’t eaten dinner yet, not yet having put in the minimum shopping time that Laurel makes me endure, I mean, enjoy, before I get to eat.
(5) We then walked several blocks (in the opposite direction from the restaurant we were planning to eat at, I couldn’t help noticing) to a Lahaina store that has lots of Fresh Produce. Not fruits and vegetables, but the bright, colorful, tropical clothing line. Laurel is addicted to Fresh Produce. She can’t pass up a store that has it, or any other clothing line that looks like it. I spent another twenty minutes, thankfully in a chair this time, watching Laurel pick out Fresh Produce possibilities and try them on. At one point I did have to stand and hold a medium T-shirt by its sleeves while Laurel compared it to every other medium shirt of the same color/design to see which was the smallest “medium.” “Mediums come in different sizes,” she explained. I could barely hear her, my stomach was growling so loud.
(6) On a more serious note, I was boogie-boarding this morning when a man next to me in the water said, “That guy over there said he saw a shark as he was on the last wave he caught. I’m going in.” I said, “Good idea. I think I will too.” We retreated about halfway to the beach, but after a few minutes I got so absorbed in the waves I forgot about the shark warning.
After an hour or so I was exhausted and went up to our mats to recuperate. Laurel had just come back from getting a newspaper at a local store. She said, “The gossip in the store was that a shark attacked a surfer this morning at a nearby beach.”
This afternoon I heard some people talking in the water: “The surfer bled to death before they could get him to a hospital.” Hopefully it isn’t true. We’ll probably read about it in the newspaper tomorrow. A sobering reminder that the ocean, for all its delights, is still a dangerous place, and that sharks are much more at home in the waves than we humans. Life on Maui, or wherever, is fragile. It’s a cliché but it’s true: live like there is no tomorrow. Sadly, for a surfer today, that may have been true.
[P.S. Just logged on to put up this posting and saw this CNN story about the shark attack. The surfer did die. Kahana beach is just a few miles, or less, away from Napili Bay. Probably the shark seen in Napili while I was boogie-boarding was the same one that killed the surfer. Creepy.]