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In 2007 I spent two weeks on Kauaʻi and one day I decided to drive out to the beach at Polihale to see where the Pali cliffs ended or started.  Eventually one turns off from the asphalt road onto what can only be described as the road into hell: dirt and potholes everywhere requiring going no faster than 5 miles per hour, scattered parts of cars that had attempted the journey before you!!

I made it to the beach, spent some time shooting some photos and started back along that terrible road.  I came to a spot which had a magnificent view of the cliffs beyond a flat field.  So I left the car running with A/C on and radio playing, got out shot some photos.  When I went to get back into the car… it was locked!  The car was a Caliber and I am convinced it is Satan’s own vehicle: once the door has opened and closed, whether running or not, after ten seconds it locks itself!

(click Pali at Polihale Beach)

So there I was on the road in the middle of nowhere, no other cars coming or going, the radio merrily playing Hawaiian music, the A/C slightly puffing out through the cracks of the doors, the car running and no way for me to get in!  I must admit that after 15 minutes I panicked! After running around the outside of the car and trying all doors, pounding on windows, and repeatedly muttering “This just can’t be happening!”

I picked up a large rock to break the window behind the driver’s seat so that I could get back in and leave.  I hauled back and whacked at the window, only to have the rock bounce back and whack me in the head!  And the window remained unscathed!!  I hope that the menehune were not watching because for the next 15 minutes they would have seen a crazy monk attacking his own car with a rock, which resulted in nothing but sweating and panting!  There was just no way to get back into that blasted car!


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Finally, off in the distance, I could see two pickups trailing a small storm of dust as they made their way towards me.  When they got close enough I stood in the middle of the road waving my arms and yelling. I could tell, by the way that both drivers stared at me, that they were certain that I was mentally unbalanced!  And at that moment I was!  One of the drivers stuck his head out and I was able to walk over and present my dilemma to him.  The second driver got out and came over.  I showed them the window that I had been pounding upon, which, despite all of my exertions had only a few scratches.  One of the men said, “We need a tire iron,” and came back from his truck with one in his hand.  He asked me, “You sure you want me to do this?”  I replied, “Yes, I have no other way of getting back home.”  He approached my car, hauled back, looked over his shoulder at me and said, “Man, I have always wanted to do this!” and shattered the window!  They left laughing and I drove home surrounded by pebbles of shattered glass with the wind roaring in the now permanently opened window behind the driver’s seat!

At 62 I have learned that I don’t have to solve every mystery in my life!  Some are meant to be lived with in order for the mystery to reveal its secrets!  But on that day, in that field, the mystery of how to get back into that car was one that I had to tackle, head-on… with a tire iron!  I will never rent a Caliber again!

 Kahu Kimo


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