In almost every instance in my life, my general goal is to make people like me, and also avoid death. I am a people pleaser in most ways… I have apologized to more than 10 mannequins (“Oops, so sorry I bumped into you, Plastic Pamela!”), pretended to appreciate a lengthy rundown of the latest (and best?) Taylor Swift songs, and have faked interest in way too many people’s entire iPhone photo history.
I blame it all on my mom, who feels the need to explain why she doesn’t want to buy a particular blouse to the fitting room attendant at Macy’s and who cannot find the heart to simply ignore the drugged up man on the street who wants to tell her about his idea for a post-apocalyptic movie starring several ferrets.
But that’s neither here nor there.
Many people seem to have heard and/or experienced horror stories about angry locals in Hawaii, and while I personally haven’t seen much of this, like anywhere else in the world, it does happen. I’ve seen people from Texas get pissed for all sorts of stuff – thinking they’re from East Texas, thinking they’re from Dallas, thinking they rely on a horse for transportation, thinking Austin means you’re a hairy tattooed pierced feminist lesbian vegan artist in a bluegrass band (can I be that in my next life?), and that because you drive a new F350 your family must have discovered oil.
Hawaii is no different. People get mad when you insult them, leave heaping piles of trash in your drunken wake, and generally forget all ways to behave like a normal human being.
I’ve found that having a vagina generally helps people (typically people without a vagina) be more understanding and forgiving of your nonsensical vacation-brain, but if you lack the equipment (again, a vagina) to properly avoid being on the receiving end of hatred, I have outlined some ways in which you might definitely piss off the locals.
How to Piss Off the Locals in Hawaii
#1 Totally Jack Their Waves
Dude. Brah. Watch yo’ shit! A bajillion wannabe pro surfer bros come to Maui every year to ride some of the best waves in the Pacific. The thing is, the local dudes get first dibs, and maybe second, third and fourth, too. That only makes sense in my brain, but then again I’m no surfer dude. While you shouldn’t assume that every surf session will go exactly how it did in Blue Crush (that scene when she takes him to ride waves at that secluded, locals-only spot and he gets deservedly punched in his handsome schnoz), definitely ask around and use proper etiquette when surfing.
Check out this guide to Maui Surfing for help.
#2 F with the Ocean
Dude. Brah. Hold onto yo’ shit! The ocean is a huge, ginormous part of life when you live in Hawaii. For lots of people, it’s an office, a playground, an escape and a way of life. Don’t throw your Miller Lite cans, your cigarette butts, your sandwich wrappers or your empty sunscreen bottles in the ocean. Shit lives in there! Lots of shit that does not appreciate swimming through your trash. I’ve seen so many people sit back and watch as their floats and coolers drift away into the big blue ocean. Don’t do that. Also don’t try to feed, chase, ride or touch the turtles – it’s against the law and makes you look like a total douche-hole.
#3 Make a Total Mockery of Hawaiian Culture
Here’s the thing: rich, entitled white people with way too much power pretty much stole Hawaii from the Hawaiian people. Most people know this. And while it’s too late to change anything about it as an outsider, it’s too crappy to act like Hawaii is only known for the mai tais and grass skirts. There’s a ton of fascinating history and culture here, so take the time to learn at least something about what makes this place different from everywhere else in the world. I promise it will make your trip a lot more interesting and meaningful. I’m not saying it’s not okay to roller skate in coconut bras and have a great time, but just use good judgment about what’s appropriate and what’s not.
#4 Drive like a Turd
Dude. Brah. Pull yo’ shit over! Driving on Maui (and any island in Hawaii, I assume) is… well, interesting. Most roads are one way, the speed limits are particularly slow and there are several long stretches of windy roads that hug steep cliffs with no guardrail. But just because you’re going 5 mph trying to avoid death-by-steep-cliff doesn’t mean other people aren’t simply trying to get home on roads they drive every single day. If you see a car that is clearly not a rental from the nearest Hertz, do the kind and sensible thing and let them pass. Also, whale watching and driving is the tropical form of texting and driving. Don’t let a humpback distract you from more important things, like the bumper of the car in front of you or the 50 foot free-fall to your own demise.
#5 Build Wealthy-People Shit
If there’s one thing Hawaii needs, it’s another neighborhood full of ridiculously overpriced golf course homes and outdoor shopping malls, am I right?! Blarg. This is not a new trend in Hawaii, nor is it a new trend in the country (finished taking over the city with all those fancy condo complexes, Austin?), but in Hawaii it’s particularly gross because there is only so much land you can build on before there is no more land. There are no suburbs. Think about that for a moment. While I enjoy the opportunity to get kicked out of the nearest five star resort pool any time I choose, the super wealthy (most of whom probably don’t live here full time or at all) are seemingly slowly booting everyone else out, piece by piece. It irks me and I’m not even a little bit from here. Imagine how you’d feel if you and your entire family were slowly being pushed into smaller, shittier neighborhoods of an already cozy island to make room for another resort you can’t afford to enjoy. No mahalo.
#6 Complain About Hawaii
“You guys don’t serve Jagerbombs?!” is not a good beginning to a conversation with a local bartender. Or any human, actually. Hawaii doesn’t have everything you’ve ever wanted, including midnight Chinese take-out delivery, strip clubs or casinos. Why do you think so many people from Hawaii vacation in Vegas? If you can’t come here for two weeks and not complain about things you miss back on the mainland or can’t believe don’t exist in the most isolated population center on Earth, Orlando is really lovely this time of year.
Update: This has (somewhat surprisingly) turned out to be my most popular Travelin’ Fools post to date, for good or bad. As you can see in the comments below, it’s also my most controversial post. While I invite you to add your comments and thoughts below – whether positive or negative, as I certainly allow both – I invite you to avoid calling anyone a “fucking dumbass,” “haole bitch,” “fuckin idiot” or chosen string of similarly sweet compliments, as we are no longer pissy thirteen years old, but adults with fully-functioning brains and vocabularies. Mahalo!