Shave Ice, Ice Cream Cones, and Swag

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I don’t mind standing in line for shave ice when I go home to Hawai’i. I need time to think, to imagine flavors, and to choose up to three. I can’t order boring flavors like cherry or lemon, not in Hawai’i. Safe bets: mango and coconut. Okay, for a third flavor – guava? Papaya? Lilikoi? Flavored syrups poured over heaps of crushed ice, set atop vanilla ice cream, all in a plastic cone, served with a straw and a spoon. It all tastes so good in my head that I always think about ordering a large, then blurt out “medium” when I order.

Shave ice makes me feel not only like I’m home, but also like I’m a kid again, in my safe place, without any worries. This is how I imagined two judges felt when I saw them walking around downtown eating ice cream cones. It was lunchtime, and I was in my car at a red light where the judges were crossing the street.

Both men, in their 60’s and still trim, wore conservative suits. One sported a ponytail – he’s retired and now hears small claims cases. The other had hair that was short and conservative like his suit. They seemed absorbed in their conversation. Talking, thinking, eating, and walking all at the same time – coordinated multi-tasking. I can’t walk and sip a drink at the same time, so I was impressed.

The thing that struck me most about these two judges was how they walked with swag. They didn’t carry themselves with an air of self-importance, but they had an air of confidence. Two older gentlemen in suits, eating ice cream cones, being themselves, oblivious to the world. Isn’t that the essence of feeling like a kid? Being in your own little world, engrossed in what you’re doing at the moment, unconcerned with what the world sees or thinks about you.

Adulthood is about juggling our responsibilities and managing our insecurities in a world where we’re studied and judged. Like the black robes that the judges put on every morning, we put on adult personas and try to behave ourselves until we can get to a safe place and be the children we want to be.

By all means, remain responsible, productive members of society. But, in the interest of good mental health, don’t forget to have that shave ice, ice cream, or whatever else it is that brings out your inner child, and go to that place where you are a self-contained human being with swag.


© Living off Island, writingwahine, 2015.


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