A tale of Hawaiian roadside hospitality
“Oh, you’re from Amsterdam? So cool!’ Is the standard reply I get when I am traveling and telling people where I am from. Mainly because of the next thing that comes to mind.
‘You guys can smoke weed and stuff.’
Yes, we can.
‘But I don’t smoke’, is my usual response.
To the astonishment of possibly every foreigner I’ve ever spoken to.
The fact is, weed floors me. I can’t handle it. I am unable to speak, think or move when I am stoned. That’s probably exactly the point of it, but it’s not how I like to feel.
It’s a nice ice-breaker though. Especially when hitchhiking and making conversation.
In Hawaii, it’s legal to grow and smoke weed, or so Steve, one of my drivers, told me.
I was hitchhiking in Maui recently and got picked up by this huge Hawaiian man, in a fairly ‘unorganized’ truck where I preferred not to touch things if I could help it.
But hey, beggars can’t be choosers. Plus, Steve’s genuine smile was inviting enough for me to accept his offer to drive me, so I hopped in.
It’s always a fun way to meet people from all walks of life.
So I started: ‘What do you do for a living, Steve?’
‘Don’t laugh,’ he said, ‘I grow weed.’
‘Ah, that’s great! Easy money, right?’ I said. Just because I don’t smoke it doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s going on. ‘Is it legal here?’
And so he told me about his growing business, what he charges per ounce and how he distributes it. It made for an interesting conversation and he seemed to like telling me part of his life’s story. The conversation moved on, when suddenly Steve looked at me, paused for a second and decided to tell me: ‘I did time, them police caught me.’
‘Selling weed?’ I asked him.
‘No, for producing crystal meth!’ he said, looking at me with an uncertain, half smile.
Oh, this was a whole new level for me. Wanting to keep the light-hearted vibe going, I looked at him, smiled, and half-mortified yelled ‘Steve! You can’t do that! That is such a nasty drug.’
Steve laughed. ‘But the money was so good!’
I wasn’t sure where Steve was going to drop me. But soon after he picked me up, he let me off again. Which was a little relieving.
‘Here, I want you to have something,’ he opened the glove compartment and took at a few bags of weed.
‘Ah thanks, Steve, but I don’t smoke, I told you.’
‘Take it anyway, I want you to have it, it’s free you know!’
He must have liked our conversation.
‘No, really, it will just go to waste on me, please pay it forward, give it to someone who will actually smoke it.’
‘Alright then,’ he said as I stepped out of the car. ‘Nice meeting ya!’
I waved him goodbye and as soon as I stepped back onto the road to hitch my next ride I wished I would have taken the weed. It would be great to share it with other people on the road, even if I didn’t want any myself.
I told the story of Steve to my next six drivers, apologizing for not being able to share any weed with them. Especially my Slovak drivers were very disappointed.
Lesson learned? Never reject any drugs you are given for free. Except for crystal meth maybe.