Aloha, Pearl Harbor and a
As I write this I’m on a 26th floor hotel balcony overlooking Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawai’i. My wife and our nearly adult aged children are with me on our first real family vacation in 13 years. I won’t lie, it’s not a hardship to spend a week here.
When we got to the Enterprise Rental Car counter at Honolulu airport I had a choice between a Chevrolet Impala and a Chrysler 300S. Of course I took the Chrysler. I’ve driven rental Impalas before, and they’re fine cars, but I’m a late model Mopar guy and the 300 just feels better to me. We’ve driven all around Oahu in this car this week and I’m very impressed with this 2016 3.6L car. The suspension is taut and sport oriented, the steering is very direct and if you leave the shift selector in “Sport” mode the car drives far better than a 300-horsepower 4,000-pound car should. Even the base rental car version is well appointed and extremely comfortable. The car is very quiet; when driving late at night in a torrential tropical downpour I couldn’t even hear the rain hitting the car except for a faint spattering sound from the windshield. The Chrysler 300S is a damn fine sports sedan. More on this in a moment.
I found out that “Aloha” doesn’t mean “Hello” and “Goodbye.” Like many things about cultures not our own, this is an oversimplification of a complex word with subtleties of meaning. For one thing, it’s actually two words that have grown into a phrase, “Alo” and “ha.” “Alo,” means presence, front and face, and “ha,” meaning breath. So the literal meaning of aloha is “the presence of breath” or “the breath of life.” Aloha is a way of living and treating each other with love and respect. Locals say the word as two, “Aloooo-ha.” It’s a phrase of love, peace, and compassion, more aligned with words like “Namaste,” or “Shalom.” Since learning of this deeper meaning, I’ve been more careful to say, hello and goodbye, saving Aloha for the few people I know on this island, or strangers that have been kind or patient.
I think we, the people of Earth, do better when we take the time to understand the people and cultures that differ from the ones we grew up with. America is the shining example to the world of this principle, this is a country that was built by immigrants who brought the best of their culture and traditions with them and we all melted together into what we call America. Note that I am not talking just assimilation here, “Assimilation” can mean to lose what was yours and take on what was not, to lose your essence and conform to an exteriorly defined “Norm.” There’s a reason fusion foods, like Korean-Mexican tacos, taste so delicious. The fused food styles bring their own strengths to the dish and make it better than either would be on its own. How does this apply to our car hobby? Bear with me a moment longer and you’ll see where I’m going with this.