Recognized Social Butterfly


A Plus Counterbalances a Minus

On my walk last week in Waikiki, I encountered a forlorn middle-aged woman dressed in a tattered muumuu. As she got closer to me, I noticed that her calloused hands were extended in front of her as if she were supplicating a higher power. When she was about to pass by me, she began to sob and ritualistically moan in a jumble of haunting cadences. I hoped that her rapturous mantra, whatever it signified, would help alleviate or even cure her malaise. I felt like consoling her, but, I didn’t intervene, being typically cautious about trying to help anyone who showed symptoms of mental distress, especially disabilities like schizophrenia that afflict so many street people in Honolulu.

As I began to continue my walk, I kept dwelling on the woman’s tearful situation.  But I soon regained my composure. Around the bend, I saw a pudgy middle-aged man comfortably sitting in a wheel chair. As I approached him, he greeted me with: “How’s it going, bro?” Such an unexpected heartfelt aloha revived my spirits. I stopped for a moment to thank the man for rousing me out of my funk. He responded with a wink, “It’s my pleasure.”

From what I have observed over the years, Waikiki, with a few exceptions, offers an abundance of life-affirming moments that I cherish—or as William Wordsworth once mused about inspiring experiences, they are spontaneous “emotion[s] recollected in tranquility.”




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