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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 26, 2002

So, what type are you?

By Lee Cataluna
Advertiser Columnist

I used to believe that the world was evenly divided into two types of people: the ones who really WANT to be on television, and the ones who really DON'T want to be on television.

I'd see it all the time when I worked in TV news.

Out in the field covering a story, there'd be a line of people standing there hoping to get picked to be interviewed, no matter what the topic. Of course, all any of them ever said on camera was: "I didn't really know the guy. He was kinda quiet, kept to himself. He didn't really bother anybody. So when is this gonna be on TV?"

Meanwhile, the ones who were running full sprint in the opposite direction of the camera actually saw something, knew something, had some useful information.

But recently, I've come to a new theory of human nature: The world is divided into people who would happily hop on the massage apparatus in Shirokiya and those who would rather die than put their feet on the churning rollers where the unwashed masses have put their unwashed feet.

I suppose it comes down to fear and your perception of human nature. If you believe in the general goodness of mankind, you have no worry about what might be on that chair that you could catch (cooties, or worse). No one who had any sort of nasty condition would sit on those chairs in the first place, and in the second place, germs don't live that long on Naugahyde anyway. Plus, there's that sheet of plastic there expressly for your protection.

But if you are the type that leads with caution, the type that goes through the public restroom routine of readying the paper towel BEFORE you wash your hands so you won't have to touch the lever on the paper towel holder with your clean hands — the same lever someone else might have touched with their dirty hands — then you would never consider sitting in the floor model massage chair. Further, all the protective plastic covering in the world would not get you to entertain the thought of putting your feet on the community rolly-ball footie massagers.

Perhaps the biggest personality test, with much more at stake than the row of trial-run vibrating loungers in Shirokiya , is the pair of coin-operated massage chairs that have popped up in the Ala Moana Center food court. They sit there, side by side, dark, ominous and kind of purring a little, surrounded by signs bearing instructions for use and warnings as to who should not use the chairs.

It takes a certain type to sit on one of those. It takes a certain type to be able to relax in any way in the cavernous, chaotic food court. And it takes a certain type to sit there, eyes half shut, jaw slack, head back, oblivious to the people gathered around watching in either envy or horror, depending on what type they are.

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