Hawaii, the home of a box store.


I went to Target yesterday!!

When I was 15 years old I wrote an essay called “Target: The Eighth Wonder of the Modern World.” I am not kidding. It was a warm, deeply felt elegy to mass produced but vaguely stylish home wares, friendly employees and brightly lit aisles. I was asked to read it at the final assembly and everything. It was a pretty great essay.

Also, I went to Hawai’i yesterday.

But lets talk about Target. I got a french press, which is the greatest purchase of my adult life. And that’s including the time I bought an Anthropologie dressing gown, and the Copenhagen magnet that had actual tufts of hair on the vikings, so you know I have pretty high standards. I bought three bags of coffee, and a yoga mat and the biggest jar of peanut butter you have ever seen. It took me ten minutes of stirring to mix it. I bent the knife in the process. 

And I bought a beach towel which came in handy when I swam in the ocean by a grove of coconut palms under a clear blue sky later that afternoon.

The Target was huge, and it was full of people from SAS, mostly the faculty, because we are classy enough to walk from the free Walmart shuttle, past the Walmart, Lowes and Safeway, to get to the tasteful box store. We ran around the aisles, comparing notes (“A yoga mat! I hadn’t even thought of a yoga mat!” “Yes, there is a tea aisle, but it’s not by the coffee. I know, weird!” “You can’t have too much immodium!”) We were all in a terrible rush, see, because after this we were going to be forced to do things that afternoon.

I, myself, was going to have to go stand up paddle boarding down a calm river with schools of fish jumping around me, surrounded by a lush park full of birds with a guide who told me all about King Kamehameha.* Others I know were forced to go zip lining through a tropical botanical garden. Some were made to kayak to tranquil waterfalls and ancient banyan trees at sunset.

The paddle boarding reminds me: I got sunscreen at Target, too, that seemed important. And a latte! My god that latte was good. I did also get immodium, because apparently you can’t have too much, and pepto because the physician’s assistant told me I should. This has made me mildly nervous about the food that’s coming my way, but once a girl has thrown up all over the front seat of one taxi in India, she’s pretty much got “embarrassing food illness” down as a life skill. I bought a pair of sweatpants, too, because elastic waistbands are important on a ship. 

I had to get out of Target quicker than I wanted because I also needed to get some poke – spicy, raw marinaded fish that is a specialty of Hawaii – and a beer and sit in the sun taking in the view of the bay.

Actually, I didn’t get to do that.

I spent too long at Target.

At Target, I saw that the following stereotypes about Hawaii are at least true: people actually says aloha a lot, they do really use the hang loose symbol to start and end conversations (even the immigration agents),** tons of signs are in Japanese as well as English, and everyone hates Honolulu (“There’s no aloha left in Honolulu.” – Actual sentence, proving that it’s not only in moves that aloha is used as a noun, a fact that makes me indescribably happy.) I learned a lot at that Target. 

Target is great. I can definitely see why so many people take vacations there.

Maybe, some day, if I’m really lucky, I’ll get to take my own kids to Target.*** 

*who, in addition to uniting the Hawaiian Islands, was over 7 feet tall, which is an awesome fact I never knew.

**That fact not actually learned at Target.

***I’m being facetious. I didn’t only go to Target. I also went to CVS. 

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