The Goddess Speaks
Sunshine’s toll is only skin-deep
We recently entertained house guests from Seattle, and it wasn't until I really looked at both of them that I realized that I need to put my skin on rewind. My friend and her mother have lovely skin, and their faces don't seem to sport the spots, dots, freckles and fissures that I see in the mirror every morning.
Even products with such esoteric titles as "Serum Intensive Wrinkle Defining Complex" can't alter the impact of years in the sun. Seattle encourages an inside life, and as long as Nancy and Agnes were with us, I found myself hanging out over the kitchen counter instead of lounging on the lanai. That was great for my complexion, but it seems odd to think of home as being inside the walls, as they do. Clearly, my worldview doesn't match theirs.
They were thrilled by things I accept as part of the scenery. For one thing, despite my misgivings, we had an iffy lunch from the Kahuku Shrimp Truck (eat, wave off flies, eat) which they loved. Later, in Waikiki, Nancy just had to have one of those hideous tiki drink glasses, and they seemed to think my lifestyle was exotic.
They even wanted to wear their leis on the third day, long after the spirit of the flowers had left for the tuberose happy-hunting ground. Neither had ever eaten raw fish, and they kept asking me what simple words like puka, mauka and makai meant! I mean, they didn't even speak the same English that we do.
Still, I can see that there's a lot to be said for life in the foreign country of No Sun. For one thing, you can accomplish a lot when it isn't lovely outside.
Imagine the books my students would read if we had snow days! Consider the dust I could eliminate if I kept my windows and doors closed! Think about how young I would look if I hadn't spent the last couple of decades staring at the sea looking for marine events (e.g., whales, turtles, fish jumping and champagne being poured).
It's all been a downhill slope for me since our arrival in 1988. When you're 90, if you never see the sun, at least your skin looks great. I had the chance for wrinkle-free senility, but I blew it by coming to Hawaii and now I'll look ancient long before the grim reaper knocks at my door.
Nancy has beautiful, glowing skin -- and she's my age. That makes me grouchy, but do I really want to live in a place that when the sun appears, people come running out of the buildings as if it were a national holiday? Honestly, I saw this happen -- one little drop of sunshine nearly triggered a stampede in Seattle, and here I am grumbling about a few wrinkles and spots. I mean, where else can you eat shrimp cooked in a truck, wear flowers for less than the cost of a Starbucks and navigate anywhere without a GPS?
Cris Rathyen teaches English at Moanalua High School.
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