Things that are and are not cool with the Hawaii State Police

A story by Kristina Pedersen

Every time I leave for the airport my mom makes me a sandwich. It is a soggy day-ruiner. It is a burden, a responsibility I do not want. Like a baby that drips tomato guts and isn’t crunchy or good. So there I was, armed with this bastard sandwich on a flight to LA from Chicago.

The plan was for me to fly from Chicago to LA and then connect in LA to Honolulu. My sister and her roommate paige would be flying from san diego, where they lived. I didn’t have anything to do with this I just showed up. I really didn’t even know the name of the hotel, which feels interesting and symbolic and I like to make a point of telling people this detail but really who cares, I didn’t know anything I don’t know anything.

I had just switched planes and was about to take off when my sister texts me that she missed her flight. Paige, her roommate and financier of the whole trip, was cleaning the bong. This part is really important don’t forget about the bong. I didn’t know about the bong at the time because I didn’t even know what hotel we were staying in, remember? Before I took off, Katelin texts me Paige’s other friends’ phone number to call when I land and the address of the hotel (and the name of the hotel) and that she will be there five hundred dollars and 6 hours after me.

The Honolulu airport is a fucking paradise. The Honolulu airport would have been enough. I was feeling smug as hell at this point for doing a pretty bare minimum of not missing my flight that I thought it would only be appropriate that I would take the bus from the airport to the hotel like the martyr that I am. I thought of a really funny joke while waiting. “Flew all the way from Chicago to paradise and I’m STILL waiting for the bus.” I whispered it out loud to practice on a stranger? I texted it to all my friends.

I get to the hotel, White Sands. It wasn’t a shitty hotel but it was a cheap hotel. All the hotels were really nice and ours was nice enough (it had beds, people, Paige’s parents were paying for it, etc.). When I walked up to the sidewalk outside the hotel I saw a brunette in a bikini and I assumed this was Shannon. Shannon had cut-off denim shorts and a crop top thrown over a bikini. I have learned the hard way that the international “I come in peace” gesture to the Shannons of this universe is “Cute crop top!!!!!!!!” She was hanging out with two large scary 40-year-old-men. There was Brian and Mojo. They looked exactly alike. There was also another guy, Keoni. Close your eyes and imagine Keoni. You are right. He wasn’t wearing a shirt and had sort of a belly and was apparently in a real struggle to keep his eyes open without violently raising his eyebrows. He had this little goatee beard thing that could have been confused for a small cloud hanging too low, I could find no point of attachment to the face.

The bigger men walked away and Keoni and Shannon and I walked inside the hotel. I come to learn that Keoni is Paige’s boyfriend. I asked if he lived in San Diego also. He doesn’t and he didn’t move from there and they didn’t meet there. They met on her senior year spring break trip to Hawaii last year. “Oh, so you guys visit each other then?”
“No well I was going to visit but I went to jail for 6 months,” said not me.
We go check out our rooms. Your standard room. I am still mildly interested in Keoni not visiting his girlfriend that he met on spring break because he was in jail.

Keoni needs to shower because his girlfriend that he hasn’t seen in a year will arrive soon. We started heading over to his place so I ask about his place. He says we need to pick up the key from his friend Cory. I asked if Cory was his roommate. He said no and that he has just been crashing at Corey’s for a while after he got in a fight with his uncle. Keoni used to live with his uncle but they got in a big fight and he got kicked out. His uncle used to sell him this great weed and then one day gave him shitty weed so Keoni talked shit about his uncle’s weed but then the next time around his uncle gave him good weed but by then he had already heard that Keoni had been talking shit about his weed so they got in a big fight and Keoni got kicked out and they haven’t talked in three months but why should Keoni even care because like why would his uncle give him shitty weed like that?

As we are walking to find Cory to pick up the key to Cory’s own house, Keoni sees a lot of friends along the way. A sea of arms and fists and Keoni bumps them all. When you live in Waikiki beach, a tourist area of less than a square mile, you know all the other locals. You are all heroes to each other, you are all on the front lines. Waikiki could be anywhere in the world, there is a Forever 21 and Cheesecake factory and Hilton and H&M and cornrowed white people and good customer service and bad Mexican food.

Cory works at a Cheeseburger in Paradise. Keoni worked there too but through a delicate combination of not showing up and showing up quote “too high,” his services were no longer necessary. I don’t know where the threshold of highness is for a Cheeseburger in Paradise shift.

We walked into Cheeseburger in Paradise, it looked exactly like a Cheeseburger in Paradise. Everything is so different, says Keoni. There are tables on one side of the room that used to be on the other. The cooks from last year are all gone. Everything has changed so much, says Keoni. I don’t want to tell him that probably it hasn’t changed that much. I don’t want to tell him that probably every Cheeserburger in Paradise in the world moved the table to the other side of the room. The cheeseburger in Paradise he knows and loves is gone forever, sort of. I didn’t want to tell him this so I texted it to all my friends.

After picking up Corey’s key to Corey’s house, we go to Corey’s house where Keoni rolls us a fat doobie. After his parole officer meeting tomorrow he promised to smoke with us. He says his parole officer knows he smokes but doesn’t care. His parole officer, who’s only and actual job is to care, does not care. Shannon reflects that this is very chill. I am skeptical of the facts…. Paige and Katelin arrived later when I was asleep. I was exhausted.

The next days I mostly spent time with my sister exploring. Katelin and I got tired midday of fake hiking in Oahu and headed back to the hotel to meet up with everyone (the people that were paying for the trip). When we met them I notice Paige has this huge bong with her. Not a baby bong, not the kind of bong that would still be appropriate/possible to use in public, a huge ridiculous bong that should always be kept in the privacy of your own home and I don’t think the university dorm room that I know Paige lives in counts even. The general attitude of people from California is “Nah.” I said hey what’s up with the bong. Paige says to me that we are going to smoke on the beach. This isn’t Mexico this is the United States you can’t smoke shit from your own ass at the beach let alone out of what is essentially an international airport that Paige is holding in her hands. Paige tells me that no in fact it is cool according to Keoni. I think that going to jail for half a year revokes one’s credentials of knowing what is and is not cool with the Hawaii state police. We reach a compromise and smoke in the park across the street.

The next day starts the same. My sister wakes up at 6am and we spend the first half hour of the day finding somewhere for her to shit after breakfast. After the hiking my sister and I go back to stop by the hotel to pick up some towels or take some more shits or something. I walked into the room and see the housekeeper taking pictures of the bong sitting on the kitchen table. Paige has been leaving it out because it was cool last year.

I slowly back out of the room and texted Paige to get over here because there might be a situation. She said that her best friend Jason was working at the front desk so everything was probably cool. By best friend, she meant the same person who happened to be working at the front desk one year ago when she was on spring break. The situation was out of my hands so I left to get my hair cornrowed. That night I went to bed early, or, as the police report states, I passed out with Full House on at full volume.

I wake up at 11pm to a security guard standing above me. Sir, I know exactly what this is about. I’m the only one home and he walks me over to the kitchen table. Paige had gotten dabs Fedex-ed to our hotel and had brought a special piece to smoke these drugs with. The security guard points to the tiny piece and asks me if I know what it is. It’s funny because I actually do not. I had been in the sun and the water and the mud all day and didn’t have my glasses on so there I was, on the front lines, manually zooming my head in and out to get a clear focus on a thing used to smoke another thing, both of which I had never heard of before. I waited for him to then quiz me on the bong because it was big enough for me to properly identify without looking completely out of my mind, but it wasn’t in the room.

I go to the front desk and pretty much throw everyone but my sister under the bus because I’m the only one here anyway so Pirate Code (if you fall behind you stay behind). I text my sister to get her ass back here. By the time she is back I already have all my stuff packed and a trespassing warning violation filled out in my name. They wrote my “build” as “small.” I was flattered. By the time everyone else gets back and gets kicked out and gets a dumb look from the security guard with a complex because he didn’t get to really help when the police arrived, it’s about 2am and Keoni can’t even open his eyes (because of the weed not the time).

We sit on the street and look up hotels. I found a hostel that was cheap and would do for the night to just get some sleep. My sister is sleep-eating, Keoni is looking at his hand. Shannon says she has a better idea. She says why don’t we go to Walmart and buy a tent and pitch it on the beach. I guess my first and final three thoughts on the subject, on the whole trip really, were that you can’t just pitch a tent in Waikiki beach next to the Cheesecake Factory, we haven’t seen a Walmart in the whole four days we had been there, and there was no way these girl scouts would carry out this plan without my leadership and I had a better idea: no fucking way.

We reached an impasse and decided to split. My sister and I stayed in a hostel for the night and for the rest of the week crashed with my aunt and grandma at the Royal Hawaiian Resort, the one that used to be the palace of the king and queen of Hawaii before manifest destiny happened, which I have always opposed for the record. Manifest Destiny and that damn airplane sandwich. It’s not clear what happened to the bong. “Another cultural institution lost in Hawaii forever probably,” is what i texted all my friends.

-being in the car as a thread, waking up with my sister,

Katelin and I spent all day together exploring and walking inland away from the island coast to find some good hiking. We SORT OF like to hike and my mom takes this incorrectly as WE DO like to hike PARTICULARLY WITH OUR FAMILY and WE DO want to go camping with her and her fiancé. A very generous interpretation. In the years before we went to France we once also went to the end of the universe, among other things, on a certain camping trip to some national parks.

The same hustle my mother plays with the sandwiches, she plays with family vacations. My sister and I are huge suckers. One year we went on a miserable camping trip to some national parks where the only endorphins my brain released for a week were as a result of the natural chemical process as a result of eating so these are my fondest memories of the trip. In either Wyoming or Utah (tomayto, tomahto), we roll up to what is maybe the only restaurant for a million miles (or in other terms, far enough away that no other restaurant would be able to hear us scream). I can’t even confirm if all this was even real but I swear to god I have witnesses. The restaurant had the usual/casual promise of strange impressions of foods (compare getting a burger at a Turkish restaurant to getting a burger at a burger restaurant), like if Monet were to paint a pizza. Yes we would all see that it was a pizza, but what is a pizza in the first place? This is the kind of crisis you have at restaurants like these, they make you question the existentialism of pizza. Everyone that worked there was of a different nationality, it was one of those places where kids come from all over the world to work in America. These kids’ dream was Utah (or Wyoming?). They were also all really beautiful and had that special aloof party thing about them like all they do is get fucked up and serve bad food and never get hung over and never let the language barriers stop them from doing all of the above: good vines only. Besides these foreign gods and goddesses, we were the only people there. And after a weird amount of time spent looking at the menu we decided that the only restaurant in 50 miles would be fine for dinner. We had obviously interrupted some sort of operation, here, in the twilight zone, because everyone was really flustered and confused that we were there. This restaurant must have been a front, and here we are, hungry as hell, disrupting something way bigger than ourselves. Everyone was really thrown off that we were trying to order food, here, at this restaurant, to eat. I guess in reflection it was pretty ridiculous that we would have the audacity to walk in on the end of the universe for dinner. Our bad, in retrospect. After a lot of what seemed to be a very emotionally exhausting effort on my mom’s part and the cashier’s part, we all got our orders in. Then there seemed to be some confusion about the role “money” would be playing in this little arrangement of ours. Things weren’t adding up or there were too many things or everyone forgot how money worked, or something, I can’t remember. And it completely baffles me as to how there could have been any confusion about the mechanics and contingencies of ordering 3 sandwiches and a salad that I couldn’t even make something up for the sake of moving along the story. When we finally sat down they brought us the wrong dishes to our table three times, which is curious because we were the only people there.

The next day starts the same. My sister wakes up at 6am and we spend the first half hour of the day finding somewhere for her to shit after breakfast. We go snorkeling and then go on a very muddy hike to a waterfall. Everything was a mud hell paradise. The hike we did later in the week was similar and a real test of our bond. It’s a story with a little bit of tears and a little bit of magic (the same start to how my mom’s obscenely pedantic fiancé went about telling us he had proposed.) We ruined our shoes, there was so much mud and we could not convince our grandmother that we weren’t on the Amazing Race and the mud wasn’t brought in by the government just for fun. She’s a tough crowd though, she also once concluded that all the stuffed heads and antlers in a Cabella’s were fake because there was no way in her world that anyone could successfully kill all those animals. Her and my aunt wouldn’t arrive until the next day though.