Moving to Maui- Part Four


I figured after the embarrassment and absurdity of the late night cleaning incident (see The Move to Maui, Part Three) things were bound to calm down for a little while. Right?

People often ask me if it’s true that you must work two jobs to afford to live on Maui. The truth: it depends on what those jobs are. The General Manager of the hotel is obviously not going to need  a second job. The waitress, bartender, or lowly concierge working part-time (Me!)…probably yes. It also depends on how lavish a lifestyle you’re used to, what you like to eat, where you want to live, how extensive your vices….pretty much like anywhere else.

I took a second job as a Tennis Court Supervisor at another hotel. This sounds important,doesn’t it? But all I did was check players in, sweep the courts twice a day (by hand) and haul five-gallon jugs of ice-water out to the courts and hoist them up to waist-high stands out there. (Arrrggh! He-man style.) Being that I weighed 100 pounds dripping wet, this was not the wisest thing to be doing, which came back to haunt me, more on that later…but in the meantime I looked for a job in my own field of interior design.

As I’ve said in earlier posts,it’s pretty unusual to be able to move to Hawaii and keep your former lifestyle…unless that former lifestyle involves a hefty trust fund or you need a Brinks truck to move your bank account.

Since I had been in business for myself as a stressed-out designer, I thought it was time to go to work for someone else. (This was back when the idea of finding another job was not absurd.) I got a job nailed down with a place that imported Balinese and Thai furniture.  The owner was leaving on a buying trip and said I could start work when she got back. Whoo-hoo! A job! Then she got back and said she’d “changed her mind.” That was all. No other reason given.

This was my first of many lessons about Maui-ites. They are….different. (Disclaimer: obviously this does not mean everybody, it just seems like it when you live here.)

I’m trying to figure out how to put it delicately. I guess I’ll go with “quirky” as a nice way to say spacy, flaky, and unpredictable in one all-purpose word. It’s as if all the disenfranchised and disenchanted people in the world who can’t quite seem to pull it together in other places all wake up at some point and say, “I know! I’ll move to Paradise! That will solve everything.” So they do. But then everybody else is expected to deal with their… eccentricities.

Case in point: My next job interview was with a design firm (I’ll never tell!) that was owned by a husband-and-wife. I wore a silk dress, looked and acted professional, and was told I had the job. But whoa, nelly! Not so fast. The husband had interviewed me. Then the wife entered the room and the whole climate changed from warm Hawaii breezes to Iceland.

Turns out they were divorced but still in business together. And she saw me as some sort of competition for her husband (therapy, anyone?) but of course I was ten steps behind, my head swiveling from one to the other as they argued. I was trying to make sense of all this as a scene from Jerry Springer erupted and I thought they were going to come to blows right there on the floor. The last thing I heard as I hoofed it out of there in my high heels was her screaming at him, all the way out to the parking lot.

For the record, I didn’t want the job. I had asked a simple question: “Since you have to order all the furniture sight-unseen to get it to the island, what happens when it gets here and it’s hard a rock?” Their answer: “You lie through your teeth and tell them it’s the most comfortable couch you’ve ever sat on.” So I was out of there anyway, even before they went at each other’s jugulars.  Not the way I do business, folks. And good luck with those anger management issues.

So I kept working my manini (small) jobs, learning that nothing in Paradise was as it had seemed when I had come here on vacation, and wondered what was in store for me next.

Whatever it was, I was hoping it wouldn’t involve Jerry Springer.

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button at the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

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