Not that i needed any more evidence that this cold, dirty, violent and bitter northern sports-city might be killing me, but this week a doctor diagnosed me with a severe vitamin-D deficiency, which could be the root of why my body & mind are falling apart. Hopefully that means my mood & health will improve after i take some special blue pills for a month, and then taper down to supplements, thus saving myself from literal rickets — not to mention the lifetime of persistent suicidal ideations that makes me such a hit at parties.
I don’t get super woo about cosmic signs and confluences, but it is tempting to see this diagnosis as a subtle hint to move back home to Hawai’i. The truth is, i have been acutely homesick for years now. Maybe it’s time to give up on my lifelong ambition to be accepted by the Real World of The Mainland. Maybe now’s a good time to cash my chips & let it all go — while there’s still some life left in the acidifying & cesiumed-up ocean; before climate collapse grinds the tradewinds to a halt; before Honolulu finally becomes completely indistinguishable from SoCal. If there’s one thing Hawai’i has always excelled at indulging, it’s nostalgia. I could just ease back into another shit restaurant job in Waikiki, help my aging father with some household chores, keep drawing my little comics in cafes and posting them on my little website, for a couple people thousands of miles away — just like back in the ’90s (sans the website). I’ll go hiking a lot, take a poke at a graduate degree at the alma mater. Find a mushroom club, pick up a couple pet-portrait commissions. Watch some inter-office softball games; eat a lot more poke & shave ice & kal bi; go to a karaoke bar every now & then with friends who knew me since before i was a fully developed human being. Maybe even bolt a surfboard rack to my bicycle and finally become one of the old hermit surfer men i used to worry i would be if i never got off the island. I could just fade into a mist of anonymity, drugged up on tropical heat, tropical underemployment, and tropical irrelevance. In a word: retire.
Last night i dipped into Oahu’s craigslist rent & job listings, which forced me to visualize the logistics of really, actually moving back to my hometown. It stirred in me a potent and unresolved mix of longing and claustrophobic dread, much like one feels when imagining death’s release. For the first time in years i really remembered all the reasons i’d left: the restlessness of being stuck on a tiny, sedate island where shoes are formal wear; the constant dismal struggle to make the giant rents; the often (but definitely not always!) mediocre artistic scenes with largely unchanging casts; the perpetual one-direction “brain drain”; the endless parade of corny, boorish tourists reminding you that your life is less important than their holiday; the nagging fears that your creative & political projects are just unsolicited, self-indulgent and pretentious cultural affectations imported from overseas and forced on an environment that, honestly, is managing well enough without your help. Do i really want to move back to a place where people identify me more by which high school i attended than what comics i’ve drawn?
And furthermore, do my fears of returning to all that prove that i’ve spent the last 20 years living a lie, hiding my true nature form myself (and others) by putting an ocean between me and the inescapable facts of who i can’t stop being, and who i can never become?
How do you go back to just being a haole again, after you’ve spent so much time as a white guy? Who knows if i could even afford to; this economy sure doesn’t give beggars a whole lot of choices, but i gotta get out of this city somehow. It would really piss me off to die in Chicago.
Sorry that this is a lot of needless processing at your expense… but the content must flow. Thanks to all the people who responded to my requests for advice on my last couple posts. Now i’m going to go to bed to dream about surfing.