Sunday, July 18, 2004

I’m back in Kona and I’m already ill. Yesterday I felt the insidious caress of a cold coming on so I went straight home and made a vain attempt to quash it with vitamin C and herbs I picked up in China. Today I am sick and grumpy.
The best thing about Kona, and I really mean THE best thing, is that there a loads of people here who think I’m the cat’s ass (good thing). Or at least there are loads of people who act as if that’s the case. Since being back I’ve been treated to dinner (thanks, Max), told that my presence at certain outings was a main motivation for the attendance of certain individuals with better things to do and already I’ve heard disappointment expressed at my pending departure. (Take cover! Her head’s going to blow…!) I can offer little explanation for this affection, but I conclude that I’m just plain lucky to know the most awesome people here, and it’s truly a pity that I can’t stand this fucking place.
And the longer I stay here the greater the hatred grows.
My most recent gripe about this place is the exorbitant influx of people moving here. This statement is rather ironic as I am not a native myself and  I clearly see that my family’s own migration here mirrors the ill I speak of, however what is happening now, I truly, in my own ignorance, believe, is something different and great and worthy of note and criticism.
The face of Kona has gone quite pale. Wrinklies are generally accused for this change, but what I see now is something different: SUV moms and yuppies, Republican campaign banners and I-want-to-give-the-appearance-that-I-have-money-but-I’m-still-hip VWs lined up in 4 p.m. rush hour traffic between HOME DEPOT and KMART (which is located across from the Wal-Mart—we’ve gotten so big we have a choice of evils).
I’m sure there are good things that go along with gentrification, but at this point the only two that I can see are foreign films played at the Aloha Theatre and the variety of yerba mate now available at the health food store (though it’s really expensive and I get my online anyway). I suppose are other and bigger good things that can result from gentrification, but I think it’s a bit early in the game to predict which way the winds will blow and where we are now, things don’t look overly bright. Not that I predict doom for this place I habitually disown as my home town, but what I do predict is a thick blanket of mediocrity settling in with the vog.
What I see now are the seeds for a suburb. A West Coast American suburb with parent-hating rich kid “punks”, “family values,” blonde highlights and tropical fashions set by Abercrombie and Fitch. A suburb where the already effete Democratic Party gets smothered by Republicans from San Diego and the growing ice problem, along with other social problems caused by those lazy welfare people, are rectified with bake sales and sign wavings.
Yes, yes. She’s a bleeding-heart liberal. The kind that will change her mind when she has “a family and a mortgage to pay.” But it’s rather frustrating to see these changes happening so quickly and without any regard to the people who never made the decision to be here, who never had the opportunity nor the wits about them to better themselves or get away, who are now scrambling to make recently inflated rents, pissed off and not sure why and completely unable to find good solutions for improving the situation.
This is how I see the situation now, anyway. But like I said: I’m ill and grumpy and being in Kona generally makes me cynical about life.

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