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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, August 24, 2001

Locals go only when guests come

By Lee Cataluna
Advertiser Columnist

How can you tell if someone is local?

You've probably seen those lists. They've made the rounds through e-mail. They've been faxed from friend to friend. They're posted on Web sites, especially those sites meant for people from Hawai'i living elsewhere.

The lists mention things like the permanent space you get between your first and second toes from years of wearing rubber slippers; the significance of the ultimate getting-to-know-you question "What school you wen' grad?"; and the all-consuming urge to bocha before you go to bed, even if you took a shower once or twice or three times during the day.

But perhaps one of the fastest ways to tell if you're local to a place is to ask yourself if you "go" anywhere. If you still go places, you're not local.

Here's what I mean:

Tourists go everywhere. Arizona Memorial, check. Sea Life Park, check. The top of Diamond Head, puff, puff, puff, check.

Locals go nowhere. Only school, work, Longs, home. Next day, school, work, Foodland, home. Maybe beach on the weekend, especially if you have kids or you live close. Maybe party at your friend's house. Maybe sometimes you vary the routine and go to Costco on a weekday instead of Saturday. But other than that, we just don't go.

Unless we have guests from the Mainland. Then we're driving the road to Hana, getting up at 3 in the morning for the Haleakala sunrise, stopping at the Pali lookout and marveling at how much cars get there now, yeah?

It's like that everywhere, though. My Aunty-guys who lived in Anaheim never went to Disneyland. My friend who moved to New York City never does New York City stuff. But when we visit, they're driving us to the Magic Kingdom, walking us through Central Park, feeding us Coney Island hotdogs.

Part of it is because when you live somewhere and become part of the community, you just don't have the time to holoholo. But mostly, it's because when you've made a place your home, there isn't an urgency to take everything in. When you're just visiting or brand new, you want to see as much as you can. When you live there, you figure, ah, Waimea Canyon always going be there. I catch 'em later.

If you haven't been to Hanauma Bay since Kamehameha Schools Summer Explorations in the fifth grade; if you only go to Waikiki when you have out-of-town guests or a company Christmas party; if you live in Wai'anae and never come this side of the power plant or if you live in town and never go that side of the power plant; if you haven't been to Kaua'i since before 'Iniki and think it's still all bus' up, then chances are, you probably have that slipper space between your first and second toes and would rather die than go to bed without a bath.

Lee Cataluna's column runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Reach her at 535-8172 or lcataluna@honoluluadvertiser.com