Our subdivision has its own private parks, including one that has a pool. This is nice for a couple of reasons. One, hardly anyone uses it. Two, it’s only a couple of blocks from my house. Three, hardly anyone uses it. Four, despite this being Hawaii, there aren’t many places to swim; all the lower Puna ocean spots recently got eaten by lava. Five, hardly anyone uses it. Six, it’s a really nice pool, solar powered, clean, and has ozone treated water so there is no chlorine so no chlorine stench. The first time I swam there, the air smelled of gardenias. Today, it smelled of freshly mown grass. And six, did I mention that hardly anyone uses it?
This dearth of bodies in itself would be pretty marvelous, but imagine coming from years and years of life in Tokyo. Sure, there are pools, plenty of them, but they are never more than three feet deep and there are plenty of hot, sweaty people to fill them. And the rules. Ah, there are oh-so-many rules. You can gain entry to a public pool for a mere $3 but:
-Two hour limit and everyone must get out after an hour to rest
-No food or drinks, not even water
-No jewelry or hair clips
-No make-up or sunscreen
-No running, diving or pool toys
-No more laughing, no more fun, Quaker meeting has begun
The staff are vigilant about enforcing the rules–in my head, the guys are wearing only tiny Speedos and paste-on Hitler mustaches. In effect, there is no swimming since there’s very little water between the bodies anyway. My impression: people soup.
So today, there were a few people lounging by the Honu Street pool but I had the water to myself for a few delightful minutes, a degree of self-indulgence I hadn’t felt since last month’s hot fudge sundae, but coupled with the joyous freedom of movement that only water affords and there were no volcanic rocks to step on and not a calorie to be gained.
Of course, it couldn’t last.
It would be foolish to seek perfection in paradise. Anyone who thinks they will find it here is kidding themselves. The only perfection lies in how we perceive the world and how we handle the ways it tries to influence us. While yoga and drumming and costuming (more about that later) are challenging but incredibly fulfilling, we are discovering that our only neighbors are raving lunatics. I had been warned that this is lower Puna and there are problems with drugs and vagrancy, but I was not expecting threats and obscene childishness from next door. It is a heartbreak.
So I will continue to pursue my inner Om, keep my feet on the ground and above all, stay rooted in calm. Short of torching their house, there is little we can do beyond not letting them ruin our lives.
However, there is a favor I would ask of you, gentle reader. If I age, say, 10 or 15 years and then dye my hair purple, develop a double D bust and park myself by the pool wearing a neon green string bikini with fringe, then light a cigarette (!!!), please slap me. Slap me hard.