I've been here long enough to know my way around the island decently, to predict the weather, to understand Pidgin and some of Hawaii's other quirks (see my Hawaii page for more on all of them) and to have my fave beaches picked out.
But every once in a while, I have a blonde moment.
One of the things I love about Hawaii is the fact that people let you over in traffic. You don't have to force your way over. In Maryland, if you put your blinker on, people purposely didn't let you in. Then of course you thank them for ignoring you by blessing them with a sweet little hand gesture. (I don't, of course.) True story.
Here, I've barely seen the bird given. People let people into their lane with no problems and in response, the polite thing to do is a little wave back or, even more commonly seen, the shaka. People will do the famous "Hang Loose" relaxed hand gesture as a thank you by waving it out their side window (which makes me smile every time I see it) or over their shoulder.
A few months ago I was at a sunset premiere on the beach for the premiere of Hawaii Five-0. I had been an extra on the show the week before and had made friends with another extra named Sabrina who came with me to the premiere- a laid back viewing of the show on the beach. We were discussing "haole shakas." She pointed out the group of older white women (obviously tourists- you know the look) who were huddled around the red carpet waving their cheesy shaka signs back and forth every time a news camera pointed their way. "That," Sabrina had said, "is a haole shaka if I've ever seen one."
Only a week or two later, in my early days of tentatively throwing the occasional shaka when people would let me over into their lane in traffic, I made my biggest Hawaii FAIL to date.
After a bright blue Honda Accord let me over into their lane, I raised my hand cockily to throw a shaka as a thank you. When I brought my hand back down I blushed furiously.
I had the right idea...and technically they have very similar meanings....but, no, it just wasn't right...
I guess everyone has their FAIL moments.