Every pickup tells a story. That's been my motto, automotively speaking, for the last decade or so and it's also a good way to tell you how I spent last weekend.
I came to pickup trucks late in life, probably under the influence of Leo Kottke's hypnotic voice singing about the guy who drove one in "Pamela Brown."
I'm now on my second pickup, each bought from a shady character in a parking lot. The first one, an '87 GMC, was a textbook example of why you shouldn't buy a pickup truck from a shady character in a parking lot. The current one, a 2001 Toyota Tacoma, is approaching 140,000 miles and still going strong. I attribute this to my mechanic, who, I'm pretty sure, is actually a zen master in disguise.
The Maui News / RICK CHATENEVER photo
Ten-year-old silver Tacomas are so plentiful on the Valley Isle, I keep putting my key into the driver's door of identical ones in parking lots. Since silver Tacomas are fairly likely to have a pit bull in the shotgun seat - and/or an owner saying, "Hey, Brah, whatchudoing wit my truck?" - this can be dangerous.
A good way to tell them apart is by what's hanging from the rearview mirror. Actually, this is a good way to tell all vehicles on Maui apart. They've all got something hanging from the rearview. It's more reliable than a license plate to identify it as a Maui mobile - almost as surefire as the Maui Built decals on the tailgate or trunk.
My mirror has a fishhook necklace hanging from it, swinging in the windshield. The fishhook was a gift from The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua's Celebration of the Arts one year. It was an honor to receive it, symbolizing everything from the myth of demigod Maui to the skill of Hawaiian artisans in crafting objects of such beauty and practicality.
Mine is more of a symbol of being a klutz. I've managed to catch my finger on it on the way to the glove box a few times, even drawing blood once.
Last weekend the fishhook got some company. First was the lanyard and badge from the Maui Photo Festival and Workshops. I've been meaning to get to this five-day embrace of all things photo at the Hyatt Regency Maui ever since it started, three years ago.
The chance to participate in its crowning "Quintessential Hawaiian Photo Shoot -Hula on the Beach at Sunset" on Friday was all the incentive necessary, even if my little Lumix suffered a major case of lens envy at everyone else's equipment.
Led by amiable fine art photographer Randy Braun and surrounded by pro shooters like Aubrey Hord, it felt like some of the talent rubbed off, just standing next to them. Or maybe it was the spell cast by the entrancing young dancers that made it impossible to tell if you were creating the illusion with your camera - or getting lost in it in your viewfinder.
Either way, as the sky turned pastel and the surf pounded behind the dancers, every picture was worth 1,000 words if all the words were "sublime."
Being in Kaanapali reminded me I had missed my annual trip (I go to the west side once a year whether I need to or not) when they canceled the Ka'anapali Klassic ocean swim last spring.
To compensate, I showed up at the Kihei Aquatic Center Saturday morning for the Maui Pentathlon.
For those not in the swim - heh, heh, heh -it's a swimming meet consisting of four 50-yard races and one 100-yard individual medley of four strokes: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.
It's what Michael Phelps does in the Olympics. We do the same thing, only slower. Much slower.
Considering that most of the participants were younger than 18 - in fact, lots were younger than 10 -left room for the oldsters to try to remember what we were doing here.
Actually, this happens a lot whether you're swimming or not.
Aside from a few overzealous judges disqualifying people for debatable flip turns (hey, it was hard enough for guys in my division to just face the right way on the starting blocks), the event was great fun.
It dispelled old notions about competition, watching how supportive everyone was to everyone else. The kids who finished a distant last beamed with the same glow as the winners in their heats.
But having to do almost exactly the same moves as an 8-year-old was a useful reminder of Shakespeare's observations about this bell-shaped curve called life - and how we all basically enter it and exit it the same way, in diapers or, in this case, Speedos.
And the sunburned, endorphin-fueled morning made its own contribution to the rearview mirror collection: a little plastic sailfish. On the back it says First Place, Kane, 65-69. Winning your age group is much easier when you're the only one in it.
Or maybe it's just encouragement for the old man and the sea to hang in there.
* Contact Rick Chatenever at firstname.lastname@example.org