Under the Sun
Tangled up in baby-blue spray paint badness
IN ALL likelihood, no one will ever know who defaced rocks and boulders along Nuuanu Stream -- except for the bonehead or boneheads who did the deed.
The crime doesn't rise to the level that arouses extraordinary investigation. The cops aren't going to comb the area for discarded cans of spray paint, dust them for fingerprints to computer-match with those they have on file or any of the heavy-duty forensic CSI stuff shown on TV.
Nah, they got bigger fish to fry, badder guys to hook.
The story in the Sunday Star-Bulletin didn't surprise me. Vandalism has become so common that the incident at Kapena Falls is merely one more in a string of spoilings. I just shook my head, muttered something about it being another sign of the impending apocalypse and turned the page.
Still, there are questions. So if the culprits are out there reading these words -- which I seriously doubt, but will chance 'em anyway -- here's what I want to know.
What's wrong with you?
I don't mean the question as criticism or scoldings. I'd really like to hear the reasons you think it was a cool thing to mark rocks along a stream with baby blue paint, or with any other color for that matter.
I want to find out how you came to conceive of this idea and carry it out. You've probably seen others tag buildings and walls with paint; you've probably done it before, too. But why Kapena Falls?
OK, the trail is short, far shorter than the mall crossing from Macy's to Sears at Ala Moana. You probably didn't break a sweat. Except for the odd muddy spots, it's an easy hike, if you can call it that, so even boneheads couldn't get lost or twist an ankle.
What, then, was the challenge?
Maybe tagging stream rocks takes remarkable talent, a deft hand at applying precise pressure on the nozzle to dispense the right amount of paint for drip-free lettering on damp surfaces.
Or maybe the incentive was you felt you were breaking new ground, that no one had thought to mess up the Kapena boulders with paint before. Sure, other of your witless peers had scratched in initials with screwdrivers, knives and other sharp objects, but spray paint? Prime, fine graffiti.
Now about the paint itself. I wonder if it was left over from another hobby like decorative woodcraft. Perhaps you'd spent hard-earned money for the can, using it to refinish a chair or cabinet and you didn't want the rest to go to waste. Was that it?
Or did you hit the hardware store with bad intentions in mind? Was the baby blue on clearance sale? Did frugality kick in? Maybe you picked the lighter shade because you thought it would show up best on boulders.
I am also curious about the message you were trying to send. According to the story, the words "Kalihi" and "K-town" were sprayed on the rocks, indicating an attempt at boosterism and showing of pride for a downstream neighborhood.
That didn't work. In fact, a tour guide who lives in Kalihi was mortified when he saw the graffiti. "I feel shame," Kainoa Dela Cruz said, and I have no doubt other Kalihi residents weren't pleased either.
Did the branding make you feel good about yourself and about the place you call home? Has the world wronged you and does ruining a scenic site in retaliation make up for that?
One last thing: Not being tuned to pop culture and current 'hood idiom, I can't decipher the meaning of "G-Red" and "B-Red," two other terms you inscribed at stream's edge. But the word "Juvenile" you also sprayed on a rock needs no puzzling out. That was an inadvertent description of your actions. No question about that.
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Cynthia Oi has been on the staff of the Star-Bulletin since 1976. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org