Monday, May 31, 2010

Hawaii again

Some days are better than others.

I've been in Hawaii the last week. The weather is, for the most part, beautiful. It's not hot and certainly not cold this time of year. The ocean is still beautiful, with crystal clear water.

Why be depressed?

Really, Hawaii is a depressing place. Its beauty makes it even more so.

Young kids just getting out of school don't have a lot of options here, in terms of career growth - unless you consider waiting tables and other tourist-based industries careers of choice. These jobs come with low pay and no benefits - certainly a package that isn't sought by many.

But, that's all there is.

As folks get older, they move into the homeless business. Obviously, everyone doesn't become homeless - families are still strong here and locals help each other. Still, the number of homeless folks on the street in Honolulu is staggering.

If you're paying attention, you're immersed in the problem. Folks sleeping on the streets, in doorways, in planter boxes - everywhere. Some beg and some scrounge to survive and that's really all they get - survival.

As they sit there waiting for sleep to come, they watch folks walking by who spent more money on their "aloha wear" than these folks had for dinner this month. My tropical shirt doesn't seem so happy now.

I'm one of the folks with "tropical wear" and often walking for my exercise so I can go eat my $20 dinner.

Does that make me (and others) bad? I don't think so. But, it does make me sad.

I'm smart enough not to just hand someone a wad of money. It could, with rampant drug abuse, alcoholism, and violence, make things worse rather than better. But, it's tempting to settle for a smaller meal or just invite one of them to eat with me. I'll be on the lookout for a good group or maybe just buy someone a sandwich.

I have to do something. It's only human.

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