IMR: 2000: February: 23 — Thursday, 11:41 a.m.
Room 201, Hawaiian Studies Building, Univ. of Hawai`i-Manoa, Hawai`i

[ Katie in dreamland. ]Just got in from a quick visit to mom's. As usual, Katie played her heart out, and practically passed out before we got her into the car seat.

She's so beautiful. It honestly hurts to wonder how I could have possibly had anything to do with bringing her into this world. And I honestly don't know how I'm going to handle the fact that she will, some day, grow up.

When I catch a glimpse of her sweet little face in the soft light of the early morning, I can hardly breathe. And yet there'll come a day she'll always lock door to her room, shriek and run if I see her before she "puts her face on," roll her eyes any time I say anything complimentary, and tell anyone who will listen that her dad is so unhip, he's practically an ankle.

[ The Great Aloha Run brings chaos to downtown Honolulu... and quite a few Port-A-Potties. ]The only thing worse than a Monday is working on a holiday Monday. And the only thing worse than working on a holiday Monday is starting your day in total gridlock.

While 92 percent of the state population slept in on President's Day, I was driving bleary-eyed into downtown Honolulu. Unfortunately, the other 8 percent was already there for The Great Aloha Run.

Every road makai of King Street was closed. All the cross-streets were backed up halfway to Vineyard Boulevard as other baffled motorists — most of them late runners — poured in anyway.

As it turned out, one of the shut down roads was Merchant Street. And the only parking entrance for my building was on Merchant Street.

I circled, slowly and seething, several times, hoping for a way in. I even contemplated driving up the exit ramp, but since it was a holiday, there was no one in the parking booth. Finally, I ended up parking along the street in front of `Iolani Palace, and trudging four blocks back to the office.

By that time, the awesome raging river of humanity had already been unleashed, and all I got to see were several motorcycle cops and a line of fifty Port-A-Potties.

My coworkers and I expressed our frustration in goofy ways, usually coming up with various sarcastic remarks — "no one's answering the phones," or, "all the restaurants around here are closed" — that ended with, "...oh yeah, because it's a holiday today!"

Gah. Twenty two days to the meeting. At this point the momentum is so great, I sometimes feel like I'm just going along for the ride.

And it's a very bumpy ride.

The Supreme Court decided Rice v. Cayetano today. Rice won.

Of course I'm disappointed as a Hawaiian, but as I said when the case was first presented, I didn't think the state had a very good case. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs election process was flawed from the start. Whatever Native Hawaiians might know and believe, we have to be clear on emphasizing special political status rather than race when dealing with any government process.

Because the funny thing is, while Rice sued to have the right to vote in OHA elections, in actuality he could have all along. Jen too. The only verification of eligibility, after all, was filling out a form that said, "I verify that I am of Native Hawaiian descent."

Who's going to check? And more to the point, how?

I doubt the case will have as far-reaching implications for other Native Hawaiian programs as some say, but I do hope the decision gets some sharper gears turning to better translate their missions for modern Americans, who — I'm sad to say — are well beyond having the interest or ability to fully comprehend the history of this remote archipelago, and the part their nation played in it.

It's a pity Professor Trask is out of town tomorrow. Now that would've been a lecture I would have paid to hear.

I'm an uncle! Well, an uncle-in-law.

Jen became an aunt on Sunday. Her brother, Mike, and his wife Diane are now the proud parents to Erik John Eno, a healthy 7-pound, 20-inch baby boy.

A Pisces, like Nate. Great temprament. And it's probably just me, but I think 2/20/2000 is a cool birthday.

Jen's parents are flying up to Virginia tomorrow to visit them. For once Jen will be hounding her mom for pictures instead of vice versa.

Oh yeah, and I forgot something. Last week I mentioned my dad and said:

"...our faces are incredibly similar. (Not our heads, though. I'll get to that in a moment.)"

But I never did. What I meant to mention was, during a visit with him and Gayle the previous weekend, dad had one of those rare flashes of wackiness and decided quite suddenly to shave his head.

Yep. And it took some doing, too. He went to his lifelong barber, who refused to do anything beyond a short buzz. Then he asked Gayle to finish it, but she stopped halfway.

Eventually we convinced him that he looked stranger with half a shaved head than he did completely bald, so ultimately the deed was done. And I liked it.

I've always said that when I start to lose my hair — and I will, it's a genetic certainty — I'm going to just go ahead and shave it all off. Now I know it's not so crazy an idea.

I only hope I don't put too many dents in my skull before then.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 23 February 2000 · Last Modified: 2 March 2000