IMR: 2000: February: 04 — Friday, 10:52 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawaii

[ They come from miles around. It's draw is almost irresistable. The annual Punahou Carnival, to raise money for a private school for rich kids. ]
[ If there's anyone you've ever wanted to see again, why not blow a scrip and page them via the 'sound booth'? Almost everyone on the island is there, after all. ]
[ We assume Katie's ready to be introduced to her first carnival ride, in this case the kiddie 'Crazy Plane.' We assumed wrong. She came off the ride shrieking like a banshee. ]
[ Not one to give up easily, I then insist we subject Katie to the more mellow Merry-go-Round. She didn't like it much either, but did stop crying now and then to watch the world go by. ]
[ Just wait. By next year she'll be begging to go on the Zipper. Good luck, mom... I'll stand here and hold your purse. ]
Living as we do two blocks away, we really had no choice tonight but to go to the Punahou Carnival.

Actually, it never ceases to amaze me that the school takes over three weeks to set up for this carnival, only to run it for two nights. (You know it's got to be one hell of a fundraiser if they're putting up with that kind of logistics.)

I'm also at a loss to explain why 90 percent of the population of Honolulu considers that reasonable, and thus thinks nothing about trying to squeeze onto a tiny patch of grass in lower Manoa, fighting for street parking on narrow residential roads up to two miles out, creating a crowd density that makes Times Square at New Year's look like the Australian outback.

It can't really be just the malasadas.

Or maybe it can. In fact, the reason why Jen was so intent on going was because she'd talked to Nate and Jaimee today, and they put in an order for malasadas to be bought, packed, and shipped to them in Oregon.

(They're vacuum sealed in a plastic bag in our freezer right now, a Express Mail box standing by for an airport post office run tomorrow morning.)

I wasn't about to brave the crowd merely for some sugar-coated fried dough balls, though. We wandered a bit (Jen surrendered stroller navigation to me, as such crowded conditions are best left to only the most skilled pilots), bought some awful yet strangely good carnival food, and watched Katie dance to the horrendous hip-hop music blaring from the noisier rides.

Jen wanted to do the Music Express, but the line was too long. The same went for that swinging pirate boat thing. And the lines at the malasada tent? Damn.

I stood in line forever to get the maximum dozen. Never mind that several of the folks ahead of me took home two, three dozen each. How's that? Oh! I see, they're buds with the pretty boy passing the baggies. (That's right, punk-ass Read at the first tent, I've got your number!)

Eventually, we decided we'd take Katie over to the kiddie corner and see what's up. I spotted the Crazy Plane, in which parents could ride with tots, and figured Katie was old enough to be introduced to her first carnival ride.

I figured wrong. When Jen stepped off, Katie was sweaty and red from screaming and clinging to her mother's shoulder with the strength of an industrial vise.

"Bad idea," Jen said.

"How about the Merry-go-Round," I asked, obviously not a quick learner.

"Ooooo-kay," Jen said.

Fortunately, Katie took the considerably gentler ride a little better. Not well, but better. She was still scared and cried most of the way, but the lights and mirrors and spinning world around her did enchant her for a few seconds.

Oh well. There's always next year.

And someday, Katie's going to be begging Jen and I to go on rides we've never had the guts to ride. And someday, she's going to be going to the carnival all by herself.

With all her little friends.

And their six-inch tall, clear plastic shoes, obscenely short surf shorts, pierced navels, tight tank tops, pagers and pretentious little DKNY purses.

Escorted by their backwards-cap and baggy shorts wearing, slouching, grunting, swearing, lowrider Honda driving, English class failing boyfriends named Brandon and Ty and Kimo.

Eh. Now I think I'm going to be sick.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 4 February 2000 · Last Modified: 4 February 2000