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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 21, 2010

Pleading for a podless future

By Lee Cataluna

This past weekend at the Hawaii Book and Music Festival, everyone was doing the monkeypod shuffle.

You know the dance. Step-drag your slipper, step-drag your slipper. The floor mat of my car is littered with the sticky seeds and bits of gummy pods even though I did the monkeypod shuffle for two blocks to get to where I parked. They stick in the grooves of your footwear even if your footwear doesn't have much in the way of grooves. If you're wearing athletic shoes with any kind of tread, a walk under a monkeypod tree guarantees you 20 minutes of digging out bits of cockroach-brown pods from the bottom of your sneakers with a chopstick and tweezers (or whatever your weapon of choice).

There were parents trying to push their high-ticket strollers through the tacky confetti. With each step, the Maclaren wheels would get more and more gummed up. You could see the frustration building on the dad's face. A stroller stuck in monkeypod pods is much worse than a truck stuck in mud. At least if your truck gets stuck, your buddies are around to help you out. Get your baby's stroller wheel-locked in a field of tree rubbish and you're on your own. You have to carry the kid in one arm and the disabled stroller in the other, and it's a long walk to the car. Step-drag your slipper, step-drag your slipper.

Not only are they underfoot, they're overhead, threatening to give each head a solid knock every time the wind blows.

It's high season for this. Shady school yards and community parks are podded-up a foot deep right now. In places where some poor soul tried to clean up with a rake, the pods lie in great piles like snow drifts. Mynah birds peck unenthusiastically at the pods, as if they just taste OK, but not nearly as awesome as a rotten mango (though we're not quite into rotten mango season at this point). Dogs go plowing through with their doggy zest and don't realize until later that their paws are caked and miserable. Step-shake your back leg, step-shake your back leg.

There's a science fair project for someone. Podless monkeypods. It's not like the pods are particularly useful anyhow. They don't make good eating, they don't make nice lei. They're not even very good for "stick fight" because they break on the first try.

Those trees sure provide a graceful canopy in school yards, parks and the civic center lawn around Honolulu Hale, but this time of year, those pods are almost too much to take. Can't someone come up with a podless monkeypod? There are seedless grapes, seedless watermelons, seedless cucumbers. C'mon already.