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Kermet Apio's Laugh Corner

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March 2005

 Hawaiian Time


Every culture has stereotype attributed to it, except maybe Latvia. I’ll make one up: Latvians love Clay Aiken. Pass it on. I know there are quite a few stereotypes linked to Hawaiians (none of which include Clay Aiken) but I wanted to address one: the notion that we are always late, or in politically correct terms, Promptness Challenged. Sometimes it’s hard to argue a stereotype, especially when you had a month to write a column and eight hours before the deadline you’re working on the first paragraph. So I guess I’ll try not so much to debunk as to explain. For those of you who don’t live in this dream state, let me try and show you its intrinsic beauty.

The Hawaiian time clock is marked thusly: Bum-bye, Laytah On, and Wheneva. Here they are in practical application.

“I made the reservations at 8:00. What time you coming?”

1). “Bum Bye.” This basically means that at 8:00, the subject will be getting out of the shower. Look for an arrival about 30 minutes late, give or take a deodorant mishap.

2). “Laytah on.” Here the subject plans to watch Wheel and Jeopardy before remembering that the dog needs to be walked. Look for this person at about 9:00.

3). “Whenevah.” This person has subconsciously no intention of going. He may see you if he happens to be dragged into a vehicle that happens to be going in that direction and happens to stop near you.

There were about 50 people at my wedding, many of them friends from the mainland who made the wedding part of their Hawaiian vacation. Somehow I think if I was from Kansas they may have just mailed a card. At the reception the same 50 people were in a huge reception hall, many wondering if I had grossly miscalculated the number of people who care about me. An hour and a half after the scheduled start time of the reception there were 380 people there. The tourists learned something that day – there’s no food at the wedding.

There’s never been a reason to rush in Hawaii . They are islands. If you drive off in a hurry, you’ll just get home sooner. On voting day in Hawaii , if you vote for President after work it’s midnight on the East Coast. On your way to the polls you can turn on the radio and listen to your candidate’s concession speech. When the Monday Night Football game begins on TV in Hawaii, the actual game has been over for an hour. They give the score on the news in silence so you can close your eyes. In Hawaii we don’t want to know what’s going on right now because it will ruin it later (unless you bet on the game with the idiot friend who hasn’t figured it out yet). Hawaiians welcome in the New Year six hours after Dick Clark has gone to bed. So please try and understand if we are a little late for lunch. We’re a little late for everything.

Here’s my theory: If we’re all late, then none of us are late. Right? Those people who insist on being prompt are ruining it for the rest of us. They are the problem. Yes, I said it. They create an awkward situation that previously did not exist. I think that they should have to call the rest of us on the cell phones and get our drink orders. It’s the least they could do.

Let me paint a scenario. It’s morning and 75 degrees. The dew on the grass sparkles as the warm sun peeks over the blue ocean’s horizon and lights the jagged mountains cut by waterfalls. You smell the sweetness of orchids and hear birds chirping and waves breaking softly on the sand. Oh, and you have to be at that training seminar at 9:00. Yeah right.

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