Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday 11

I took way too much advantage of the free time I had this weekend. The schoolwork isn't bad, but it lasts until 8 or 9 each night of the past three weeks, save 1-3 days a week. I have 3 scoodies completed. I just need to photograph them so I can make my ads for etsy and for Diversions. I haven't done any work on them since Sunday though, just thinking about something my mom told me over the weekend. I'm not one to indulge in vague connections to celebrities I'll never meet, but I suppose this one is actually pretty unique.

Again, it's about Barry. On the front page of the Honolulu Advertiser was a story of all the places in Hawaii he had lived while growing up. As so many of us know, he grew up with his grandparents who continuously made enormous sacrifices to provide for him the best they could. They lived in an apartment on Punahou Street and Beretania right across from my grandma's apartment. It's a 20 or so story building with some reddish metal beams on the outside and a garage as the first floor.

I wasn't raised by my grandma, but I stayed with her a lot up through middle school. Most of the time, I lived with my mom in Aina Haina, but she's a flight attendant and was frequently away for a day or more at a time. My grandma is very Chinese and a wonderful character. She lives with her ex-husband in a 2 bedroom apartment that smells like sesame oil. She stays up late and sleeps in late because her favorite hobby is playing mahjong with her friends. I think they must be pushing their bedtimes back later and later, every once in a while skipping a day. Every time I walked home from school, I walked on the Diamond Head side of the road to avoid traffic where Kapiolani Hospital sits next to the freeway, and because you couldn't avoid cars turning right onto Beretania.

From 3rd or 4th grade, whenever I was allowed to actually walk between school and grandma's, I fell into a habit of waking up earlier and earlier to go to school. Before long I was there before the kids who woke up at 4am to take the bus from Mililani and get there two and a half hours later. It didn't do me too much good though. I didn't get to spend much more time with friends because of it. I've since stopped trying so hard, having learned that my efforts as far as people go do me more harm than good. Even though I attribute most of the good things in my life to having received a Punahou education, I'll always feel shame for how I was viewed by other students. Given the convenience of the location, I'm sure it's a walk that Barry frequently took, though at more school-related times.

I vowed to call our new President Barry from now on. It seems happy and nostalgic, but I like it for a different reason. While it's no surprise to residents that there are many many Asian people and very very few Black people, the fact that Punahou has been predominantly White and Asian in composition seems, to others, that it would make an odd setting for the childhood of America's first Black President. "Barry" now seems like a whitewash applied to Barack in lieu of his being able to establish a more comfortable identity. I'm sure a lot of Punahou students felt uncomfortabe on the basis of identity; while always being highly appreciative of ethnic diversity, the atmosphere of living in Hawaii puts pressure on residents to make blaringly obvious how wonderful life is in Hawaii. Sometimes it's hard to get with the aloha spirit. Anywho, Barry's hope for me is that despite feeling uncomfortable to the point of forming no lasting reltionships in one of the best schools in the country, maybe some day I'll matter to people.

The end.

Oh, and I thought it would be cool to have one of those totebags that has a stencil of some boy singer or movie star or something, except it would be Ol' Dirty Bastard instead of some emo kid. Maybe it will say dirt dog on it too :)

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