It’s one-flippin-fourteen in the morning and I cannot get to sleep.  I’ve been listening to my iPod for about two hours now and nothing is rocking me to sleep.  Perhaps I’m too hyped up about the Dallas Cowboys last-second win over the Bills, but I doubt it.  You see, my wife and I just came back from Hawaii and my clock is all screwed up.

If we were still in Hawaii, we’d be eating dinner right about now … that explains why I could eat an entire roasted pig if I had a fire pit in the back yard.

But I digress … the real reason for this post is to write about the bi-polar personality of Hawaiians in the travel business.  A week ago when we were headed for Hawaii, we were treated like royalty.  Even though we weren’t sitting in first class on the flight over, we were at least on a nice, new plane.  The TV screens were flat panels.  The seats smelled new and you could conceivably drop food on the floor and still pick it up and eat it without getting a mystery fuzz ball on it.

They greeted us with flowers when we stepped off the plane.  The air smelled of exotic flowers and lavender.  We felt like we were Roman emperors coming home from conquering the Gauls.  Hawaiians were at every point along the way anxiously awaiting to assist us with luggage and to answer our every question.  We were indeed in paradise.

The week was heavenly and the time seemed to slip in our hands like white sand.  The time had come for us to return home.  Then we saw the other side of the bi-polar Hawaiians.

It all started at the check-out desk.  All week long we had visited this desk and had been treated like show-dogs.  “You want that slice of cheese from the moon Mr. Apollo?  It will be delivered to your room in 15 minutes.  Have a nice evening!”  But on check-out day, we got the Wicked Witch from the West instead of Jeeves.  She didn’t smile once.  She acted like we were the cause of her PMS.  There was no ‘aloha’ or ‘mahalo.’  It was more like ‘blow-my-hole-o’ or ‘ya-gonna-needa-loan-a.’

When we pulled into valet the first day, Mr. Greeter had opened my door, put a mint in my mouth and shined my shoes before I turned the engine off.  But when I pulled up to put the luggage in the car, there were five attendants sitting down telling jokes while I filled the car with luggage.  I swear the people in charge must have sprayed us with ultra-violet invisible paint that only hotel personnel could see … anyone wearing ‘the mark’ would be treated poorly or ignored.

My theory is that at the beginning of the week, they all know that we are going to spend big bucks … that our hard-earned dollars will put food in their kids’ mouths.  So they will do anything for a buck.  But at the end of the week, they know we’re leaving and thus they know our wallets have shrunk like a phallus in an arctic pool.  You are nothing to them … you are salt that has lost its savor … a tree that has dropped all its fruit … a tourist who has maxed out his credit cards.

The bitter cold didn’t stop at the check out.  It continued at the airport too.  Instead of being showered with flowers, we were yelled at, herded like cattle and shunned like lepers.  The only thing they didn’t do to us was spray us with water cannons.

The plane home was an old 757.  They must have just pulled it off the airplane graveyard in the desert, put some gas in it and put people on it.  I swear I saw something move between the seats when I dropped my peanut (which I had to pay $5 for).  I had to beg for water for my poor wife. 

“A cup please for my ailing wife?” 

“Two dollars!!”

“But I have no money.”

“Use the toilet water then!!”

“Thank you, o kind attendant, thank you!”

Going there, we were on a direct flight.  Going home, we had two layovers.  But that wasn’t bad enough … on our final leg, our flight was cancelled.  The airline graciously shoved us on a regional flight to Arkansas.  The flight attendant on that flight must have been an inbred.  He was really weird and must leave a lonely life to want to aspire to be a male flight attendant.

Four hours after we were supposed to be home, we finally arrived.  Now all we have are memories of peaceful beaches and sweet-smelling air.