When I walked to Diamond Head today I decided to take advantage of Hawaii’s wonderful “No shirt, no shoes no problem” sort of attitude. I was a bit oblivious to others perceptions of me at first, but soon it became clear that they took me for the wrong gender. Sporting a pair of Lucky Brand zero skinny jeans and no shirt with long black hair and highly unmuscled now after months not climbing, I suppose I did look rather female from behind. I realized that day just how annoying it must be to be female – to have people’s gazes fixed at chest level (which happened all the time to occasionally audible groans of disappointment or gasps of surprise) and feel constantly on display. I guess girls get used to it. And then to always have to wear some kind of chest covering – how restricting that must be! It was a very educational experience.
I sort of wandered such that I walked around Diamond Head rather than right up it from the center of Waikiki, which yielded some spectacular views of the nicer beaches below. The hike itself was alternately hilarious – a paved road to begin – and vaguely serious – a section with quite a lot of stairs. I schadenfreude-ly enjoyed observing the fitness spectrum as I passed – you have the fat American tourists wheezing and huffing and complaining, the skinny never done exercise hiding from the sun Japanese tourists confused but determined, the Marines who run up without breaking a sweat (literally), and the hikers who look a bit bored. Definitely not a bell curve, and with physical weight in the equation rather a 1/x sort of arrangement, with x as increasing fitness positively and y number of people.
So twelve miles or so later I returned to retrieve my guitar for a late set back on Kalakaua. As soon as I neared the street I knew it’d be a rough night. Right at the best intersection where a smiling Hawaiian man usually played excellent ukulele music, I heard his two eight or nine year old daughters singing Celine Dion through the PA. What can you do? Naturally very off pitch but pretty good considering their age and the cuteness factor and the Celine Dion factor and the dad playing ukulele real well factor and the amped like crazy for two blocks in either direction factor drew an absolutely absurdly large crowd, blocking foot traffic all around the intersection. So I went to my American Apparel pitch, far enough away.
You gotta be confident in what you do, and give what you have with energy and soul and honesty no matter the circumstance. So I sang beside the same promotions lady as the last night until the building’s owner told me to move to the other side of the walkway, firmly, after forty minutes. My voice hardly lasted that long. Something is wrong with it even as I type this, with two full days and nearing a third of rest. Mario Kart Love Song stopped two very tanned Japanese guys with blonde hair to turn around and sit on the parapet, smiling at me. They’d eventually tip me coins and I forgave them as Dana explained the Japanese tourists don’t quite understand the values of the money here (but really, our coins are a bit confusing what with the sizes not corresponding to value and our dollars are all the same size and color). While they sat a very friendly young shore leaved Asian guy got my list and crowed in amazement. He gathered his friends around, asked them to give me some money, and proclaimed me an iPod, no “Better than an iPod, man!” He requested four songs in succession, the first of which was again the Mario Kart Love Song which delighted his friend into tipping.
I excelled at eye contact today, possibly taking my own advice to the boys from last night. The passersby were thick and nicer today – apparently 10,000 extra in the city from an aircraft carrier – and no assholes came to pick on me for their sick amusement. My favorite held gaze came from a set of three black women as I sang Where is My Mind, and one locked as the whole way past and shrugged silently. Hilarious. I don’t know where the things at, either.
I thought to take a break, but as I’ve mentioned that break has now lasted a couple days. I met the hobo who gave me my first tip and he asked for $3 for wine “for his health.” Had he not told me what it was for I’d have given him the $3 in full, but with that knowledge I only gave one. Maybe this was wrong of me. Later on I chatted with a Bill Murray doppelganger street vendor amiably, who told me he’d look out for me on the streets after his return from Rome. And then, passing the girls singing on the way home, I introduced myself to their father, who very nicely invited me to come play with them another night, providing I had a guitar which could be plugged in. So now, I gotta find one of those.
Earnings: $8.40, 40 minutes
Song of the Day: Mario Kart Love Song – Sam Hart