By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 12/5/2020
Occurred: 11/1/2020
Topics/Keywords: #Coronavirus #Maui Page Views: 144
You may find yourself in a shotgun shack…

So, here it is: November, 2020. my husband,Keith, our two dogs and I moved to this shed on Maui from an apartment in Arizona 7½ months ago, at the very start of the Coronavirus shutdown. In many ways, it seems as if we moved here a few weeks ago. Yet, it also feels like a lifetime ago.

One of the things that makes our days run together, is that we tend to do the same things over and over. They are wonderful things, like being surrounded by gorgeous scenery, swimming or lounging at a deserted beach, riding the quad about the property or even just watching episodes of Chuck in the evenings.

I know this experience is shared by everyone else these days, except that many most people have fewer desirable options in which they can safely engage. I realize and am grateful every day for our being isolated, if isolated we must be, in paradise.

When we first arrived, it looked like it would be a fairly straightforward task to "tame" this property. Well, not that land can ever be tamed; the most one can hope for is well-managed. But Zach was hoping to make his shipping container livable in a short time; we expected the bamboo huts to be erected so we could live in something intended for that purpose (as opposed to a storage shed) to arrive in June; we expected to have smoothly-running water and electricity entirely supplied by solar panels.

But the pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into many of those plans, while our own naivete also got in the way. For some reason <sarcasm> people didn't want to risk their lives to come into work during a pandemic just to build a bamboo hut for distant white people.

The climate is also challenging for equipment. Between the moisture from the almost-daily rains (and that's in the dry season!) and the salt air, anything left outside gets rusted, corroded, and generally unusable.

The quad, for example, stopped working about a month ago. I thought it was the transmission, but I'm not a mechanic guy so even if my guess were right, I couldn't do anything about it.

So we asked a local guy for a recommendation, and he directed us to a fellow I'll call Lars (not his real name). Lars came down to assess our needs with his wife. We had a riding lawn mower, the quad, and three generators that needed service. Lars agreed to meet us at the upper gate the next Friday morning at 9 AM. I even texted him the night before to confirm, which he did.

Lars lives almost right across from our property (not directly across; that's owned by Kris Kristopherson) and we had seen his blue van parked there, next to a horribly wrecked car. "That's ours," he told me. "Phyllis was driving, and our two little girls were with us, and she went over a cliff trying to avoid a tourist in the middle of the road. The car rolled a ways. The girls got broken bones and Phyllis got a concussion, but I walked away without so much as a bruise."

Nevertheless, on Friday morning there was no sign of Lars. I texted. I called. I texted the guy who had recommended Lars. In each case, there was no response. I had been ghosted by a mechanic.

Well, I was pissed. I let it bother me for days.

Eventually, Keith overheard someone talking in the general store, saying how poor Lars had been suddenly taken ill, and had spent a week or so in and out of the hospital. So, at least, Lars hadn't intentionally ghosted me.

I also have mixed feelings about Maui's being opened up for tourism. On the plus side, it means a lot more income from Doordashing. On the negative side, Maui has been, up to now, very lightly hit with COVID-19. They are being very careful with pre-testing and quarrantining. Yet, I worry that our haven will be compromised if we get a few more infections brought in.

It seems that most of Hawaii's infections have come from family gatherings. Even non-touristy islands like Lanai and Molokai have had a few, all brought in by family members coming in from other islands. And we have Thanksgiving ahead of us, when my daughter and grandkids will be returning. I know they will be careful to adhere to the rules, getting pre-tested and so on. But how many others will do the same?

Two weeks before Christmas is going to be very sad for a lot of people who got together for Thanksgiving, I fear.

I've also had a problem with getting my Hawaii driver's license. We don't actually have any officially-approved living units on Serenity Slope; so we have been unable to get a physical address. And, without one, I cannot get a driver's license or even register to vote in arguably the most important election of my life, coming up in just a couple more days.

So, like most everyone else, we are managing. Nothing's perfect, unless by "perfection" one means "a perfect journey of experience to meet one's karmic debts".

We try to follow the example of our dogs. They are having the time of their lives,what with swimming in oceans and waterfalls and never having to spend a moment without either Keith or me present. It makes sense to me, regardless of one's circumstances, to find something to enjoy and then focus on that, instead of dwelling on the things that aren't working out.