IMR: 1998: August: 09 -- Sunday, 10:51 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
So maybe I overreacted.

When I went to bed on Thursday, I was so furious I thought I was going to tear the stuffing out of my pillow. Really. I got up twice just to splash some water on my face and clear my mind. I was convinced it was the end of the world, that The Vast Conspiracy Against Me had struck again.

When I woke up, of course, I knew I was just being stupid.

Registration canceled. Big fat hairy deal! I mean, the only other people registering this late are freshmen, and I doubt they're lining up to take upper-division courses. The two classes I had are both at 300 level, and I had a reserved spot in one of them. It's highly unlikely I won't be able to get both back when I reregister in a week or so.

And if I can't? Oh well. I was this close to taking a semester off anyway -- why not let circumstance make the decision for me?

My mood was high again in no time. In fact, I was only slightly less jubilant than I was the moment before finding out about my registration. I did, indeed, work out a way to stay in school, keep my campus jobs and take on this third, new, promising job downtown.

Things could still very well rock.

Looking back at my little fit, though, I realized it was just the kind of overblown frustration for which I'm known. (Remember graduation day?) I set myself up, I'm actually looking for the fatal flaw, the last straw, the loose brick that brings everything tumbling down.

I sabotage myself before anyone else has a chance to. It's a self-defense mechanism that I'm now mature enough to recognize, but not yet mature enough to avoid.

So there I was, Thursday night, elated that everything could work out... that I'd puzzled out a plan that would allow me to do everything. I was excited, happy, proud. And I wasn't going to let myself get away with feeling so good for very long.

Pow. Registration canceled. Cue melodramatic death scene.

Now that the cycle has run its course, from joyous to pissed to almost joyous, I'm right where I want to be. Optimistic but properly cautious, energized but thinking clearly.

If only I could get here without the silly tantrums.

Although I won't officially be starting downtown until after school starts, they want me to be there tomorrow morning when even more computer equipment is going to be installed.

My job is supposed to be a combination of web design, public relations and network management. Of course they're starting me in the area I know the least about.

I hope they don't ask me any Windows NT questions. (Or worse, make me confess that I use a Mac.) I haven't even started on the Red Hat Linux manual at the press. Heck, I've barely absorbed how a Novell network runs.

On the other hand, they hadn't heard of the PDF document format, which I probably know way too much about. So I'm sure it'll balance out.

On Friday, William joined Katie and I during one of our regular tours around Ala Moana, as I demonstrated how we pass the time on a slow afternoon.

So it was only fitting that on Saturday, William shared his method for beating cabin fever with us: The Long Drive.

The day's itinerary? Head west until the road stopped, then turn back. That is, follow Moanalua Freeway until it turns into H-1 until it turns into Farrington Highway until it ends at Kaena Point, enjoy the view of the ocean a little while, then repeat the process in reverse.

Though it probably unnerved William some, I sat in back with Katie as we headed out. Although she fussed a little, Katie was asleep in no time, providing ample opportunity for us to talk about nothing in particular.

William -- out of habit I'm sure -- kept the radio tuned to KQMQ, and I tried to keep the conversation going just to avoid listening to Celine Dion and Michael Jackson. What music I did hear reminded me of Washington Intermediate and hanging out with Nate at the Boys Club, eating ice cups and making plexiglass trinkets in the shop.

We also gauged the progress of the contraflow Zip Lane, which I discovered runs from the airport all the way past Kapolei Shopping Center. It looks like it's just about ready to go, and for the sake of sanity, I hope the state tests it a few times before school starts again in a few weeks.

The freeway ended soon enough, and we were cruising along the Wai`anae coast, quickly losing count of the assorted campaign signs tacked to roadside fences. Out that way, the OHA race seems considerably more heated than the race for governor.

Again I was reminded of Nate. Of our passion for mountain biking, specifically, and the time I joined him in rounding Kaena Point. We rode from the point all the way to Pearl City, much of it along Farrington. Although the speed limit is 35, cars hit 70 easily, and I remember being buffetted around by the huge walls of wind created by passing buses and trucks.

We realized speeding was not to be an option, however, as we rounded one turn and suddenly found ourselves in bumper-to-bumper traffic. As we inched forward, it became clear that the road ahead had simply been shut down, traffic detoured through a sprawling residential neighborhood.

The reason? The Taste of Wai`anae Food Festival, which was taking place throughout the Wai`anae Mall as well as along and across Farrington Highway.

Our plans to reach the point foiled, we decided to at least stop and see what there was to see.

[ Waianae ]As it turned out, there wasn't much. Nothing I was interested in, anyway. Although booths stretched down the center of the road for as far as the eye could see, none seemed to be selling anything particularly tasty.

More distressingly, everyone there was considerably darker and bigger than me. Even the pre-teen girls talking story in the beds of raised pickup trucks looked like they could easily kick my ass. With the heat and noise and thick pidgin accents, I couldn't believe I was still technically in Honolulu county.

Suffice it to say, we dug out pretty quickly. I was a little embarassed, though, to have felt nervous.

During the drive back, we passed a group of people marching along the highway with flags and banners. As I would later see on TV, it was the local version of the recent Aloha March in Washington D.C. The local group is going around the entire island, apparently picking up marchers in every town they pass.

(The march on the White House -- which was timed to mark the 100th anniversary of the annexation of Hawai`i -- actually made CNN. My hat's off to them for bringing some attention to the sovereignty issue... one can only hope it gave some Americans pause.)

We stopped at Pearlridge for a snack, William and I chowing down on pizza and Katie finishing an entire jar of pureed squash for the first time.

We bumped into Ruth and her near-twin sister Naomi outside the movie theaters. I barely recognized them, though; they were getting portraits done at CoverLook and were appropriately made up.

Ruth fawned over Katie, who smiled and kicked on cue. They'd last met at the reception, when Katie was two months old. "The next time you see her, she'll probably be walking," I said.

As usual, Ruth also tried to set me up with a job. For once, though, I could honestly say, "No thanks."

As Katie nodded off, William and I drank our Cokes and watched people go by, formulating sociological models of the average Pearlridge shopper and how he or she differs from shoppers at, say, Kahala or Windward malls.

After reaching completely absurd (and probably politically incorrect) conclusions, we hunted for and eventually found Shirokiya, where Katie was startled from her nap by a big yellow machine that shouted, "Neoprint! Hahahahaha!"

We got back into town a little after 7 p.m., vowing to do it again sometime soon. (Next time, though, I don't think we'll be getting out of the car.)

Jen asked for a raise a couple of days ago. All she got was a pissy rant.

I don't get it. She's been with the company for two years. She's served as an assistant manager for the last several months. And yet she's earning the same wage she got when she first started -- minimum.

I've worked at my two jobs for just over a year, and I've gotten several raises at both, actually hitting the ceiling for the respective student pay classes.

Urg. Jen deserves so much better. She was praying and praying and praying that this new job would have been enough to allow her to quit and take care of Katie 24-7. Unfortunately, until I prove to this organization that its website can be one of its most valuable resources (and thus worthy of a full-time attendant), it looks like she'll be stuck in retail for a while longer.

I know it's unrealistic to imagine raising a family in this state on a single income, but Jen's limitless love of Katie and her deep, yet unwavering hope almost makes me believe it's possible.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 9 August 1998 · Last Modified: 13 August 1998