It’s the week before Christmas. I’m in a store at Ala Moana Shopping Center, that conglomeration of places that speak hardly at all to local people anymore, at least not to me.
But I’m in one store there that I actually like. It’s all second-hand items. Lots of aloha shirts, paintings, prints, photographs. Everything is purchased from owners who sell the items to this shop for whatever reason.
On one wall near the front, there are all kinds of used ‘ukuleles hanging on hooks. Close to the entrance, I’m guessing, so that tourists can see them easily as they walk past the store. A hook to reel them in. From the prices, not loss leaders, but hooks nonetheless.
I’m standing there looking at these ‘ukes. I’m no virtuoso, but I like the aesthetics of them. I own several. Some of these are very attractive. I’m not going to make a fool of myself by taking one off its hook and strumming it, though. “My Dog Has Fleas” is about the top and only tune in my ‘ukulele repertoire.
But I like hearing what comes out of the sound box. I know what appeals to me. Some of these sound pretty cheap and tinny, but others don’t. And these are all used, so the wood of some of them have been aged, mellowed by much music and time
There are quite a few hanging there, and I’m sampling a good number of them.
While I’m doing this, a little boy, local Japanese, maybe nine years old, comes and stands by me. He, too, reaches out and plucks a string on one ‘ukulele, then another.
Suddenly there’s a woman staffer behind us. She says to the boy, “Are you going to buy one of these?”
He looks up at her, wide-eyed. I’m a little shaken as well, what with her ninja stealth and the blurted question.
The boy says nothing.
“I asked you,” she says, “if you are going to buy one of these?” She sounds like the kind of teacher who shouldn’t be teaching.
The boy shakes his head.
“Then don’t touch them. Go away from here.”
The shocked little boy nods and walks away, right out the store entrance.
The woman turns to move on, but I say to her, “Why did you do that?”
“What?” she asks, it’s now her turn to be shocked.
“Why did you say that to him?”
“I knew he wasn’t’ going to buy one, and we don’t want children handling these. Some of them are very expensive.”
“I can see that,” I say, “but what if he was going to buy one?”
“Then he should say so.”
I’m a little upset. I say, “You know, I spend a good deal of money in this store, but because of what you just did to that little boy, I’m never going to spend any more money here.”
She gives me this really nasty, haughty look, but says nothing. She pivots and heads for register counter.
I follow her to where she now stands beside her cohorts, fuming.
I say, “Can you imagine if you had said that to a young Jake Shimabukuro? You could have killed his spirit. You may have just killed the spirit of the next Jake Shimabukuro.”
Ho man, did that get a rise out of her. Her co-workers, not fully tuned in to the situation, are all looking at me like I’m nuts.
I say, “Hey, have a nice day.”
That’s another one to add to the list of stores in that mall that don’t speak to me anymore.
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Today’s word is
Use it to inspire a piece of writing and then post that piece as a comment below. I’d love to read it : )