As has been well documented in this space, I have spent the previous four years as a resident of Honolulu. As should come as a surprise to nobody, I have thoroughly enjoyed it, though that isn't to say it has been w/o fault of any kind. One of my favorite movie quotes ever is from the opening monologue of The Descendants, wherein George Clooney muses that people on that mainland think everybody lives in board shorts and spends their days surfing or swaying their hips, when in reality things like cancer and poverty are just as prevalent, if not more so, here than in other places.

To that end, whenever I see an article written by a local extolling some of the “other side of Paradise” parts of Hawaii, I like to pass it along, if for no other reason than to keep people from always trying to whitewash our lives w/ “at least you live in Hawaii”. This one was written by Julie Cao, appearing on the Matador Network…


How to piss off someone from Hawaii
Ask us if you need a visa to visit Hawaii. Acquire some basic geographical knowledge before you get to Hawaii. I know it sounds silly to you, Matador reader, but some people really believe Hawaii isn’t a part of the United States. And, yes, we do speak English here.

Treat us like a voluntary tour guide. We’re proud of our ‘aina and our culture, and we’re more than happy to share them with you. But we’re not here to be your tour guide. There’s a point when we really stop caring about your incessant requests for a guided tour.

No matter how breathtaking the natural scenery we’re surrounded by, our lives in Hawaii are just as stressful and hectic as yours — sometimes even more so. The cost of living in this state is twice that in the rest of the country, while our wages are well below the national average. Some of us have to work two jobs to pay off our debts. Don’t be the nasty visitor and needy friend who expects us to drop everything to take you around the island when our boss just asked us to work overtime.

Ask if we have electricity or internet. We’re living in the 50th state of the United States, not just some deserted island in the middle of the Pacific. Of course we have electricity, and of course we have internet. Those who ask us this question should remember that Hawaii had electricity and telephone service earlier than the White House.

Console us with “but you live in Hawaii” when we seek your shoulder to lean on. If we’re upset and seeking consolation from you, please be nice. Let us shed our tears, and keep your jealousy to yourself. You have no idea how much your dismissive “but you live in Hawaii” hurts our feelings, as if living here is the cure-all for the stress and problems of modern-day life.

Assume we just go to the beach all day, every day. I’m sorry to break this to you, but we really don’t have time to go to the beach every day. Some of us haven’t been to the beach in years, even. We have to spend eight hours or longer in front of our desks at the office and work hard, just like you do. When our daily work is done, we still have to deal with the tedious pau hana (after-work) traffic.

As you may know, Honolulu has the nation’s second-worst traffic, just behind Los Angeles. We waste a total of 60 hours on average annually, which equates to over a week of surfing time, just sitting in the traffic.

Tell us we pronounce “Hawaii” funny. Stop. We live here. We know how to say it. You pronounce it funny.

Dress up to go to the beach. Come on. We’re informal people, and the beach is an informal place. Leave your suits and pants at home, avoid makeup, your LV purse, and your Chanel boots — they’re not fashionable and aren’t welcome on any beach in Hawaii. Your swimsuits are all you should be wearing.

Steal our slippers at the party. Don’t take away our precious flip-flops if you can’t find yours. You don’t want to get beat down in the parking lot at midnight, and we don’t want to head straight to the slipper aisle at the grocery store barefoot.

Jaywalk. Hawaiian cops make a profit by tagging jaywalkers. Even if you’re caught walking between the blinking yellow and red lights, the police won’t show you any sympathy. Worst of all, after your $70 jaywalking ticket is issued, you’ll be warned that the next time the fee will be doubled.

Mess with Mother Nature. Don’t let us catch you throwing trash into the ocean. We’re proud of our unspoiled natural wonder. We take away everything we bring to the beach at the end of the day and throw our trash in the nearest litter bin.

If you’re at the beach, be respectful of nature. Always leave the ocean and sand as clean as you found it, or cleaner. Always.

Tell us you don’t like Hawaii. If you feel the cost of living in Hawaii is high and the pau hana gridlock is ugly, that’s fine. However, I’m sorry the breathtaking natural scenery, laid-back pace of life, and aloha spirit of the people doesn’t appeal to you. If that’s the case, you certainly won’t be missed.

Receieve a FREE copy of the ebook 21 Hours

Receive a welcome gift of a free copy of my novel, 21 Hours, when you join my mailing list. I'll keep you up to date on announcements, including new releases, price drops, free promotions, and the occasional giveaway.

Thanks so much, and happy reading!