Truly Virtual Web Art Museum

May 28, 2013  


Chile on My Mind
(a true story)




By Rodney E.J. Chang

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     Victoria was a regular visitor to Uncle Clay's snack shop in Aina Haina Shopping Center in East Honolulu.  The middle-age Asian woman sat chatting with Peter, another regular who enjoyed the best shave ice on the island – as declared in  Peter was a retired English teacher who now published local “ghost stories.”  Knowing this, Victoria just had to convey a peculiar event that she had just experienced, even if it was not a quite ghost story.  That was fine with Peter, as long as it had a connection to his broader interest of the paranormal.



    “The strangest string of events just happened to me the other week.”



    “What's that?”



    “You know how sometimes when you dream it seems so real?”






    “Well, I was having a dream where I found myself in a stranger's house.  The house was a Victorian, like the historical ones that still exist in Kaimuki town, after all time since they were built way back in the 1920s and 30s.  In the dream I saw the owner, a very old woman, sitting across me in a rocking chair.”



     “What did she look like?”



     “A witch, or at least an old hag.”



     “Did she scare you?”



     “No, but the dreamed seemed so real, even if it was one of those times when you know you're dreaming, but want to get out of it, sensing something really bad was about happen that would be terrifying.”



      “So did you get yourself out of the dream before something bad happened?”



      “Yes, I was able to pinch myself and wake up.”



      “That's it? No boogie man, no chasing, strangling, knife stabbing...”






      “So why are you wasting my time talking about this dream?  Was there something special about it?”



      “Of course.  The elderly woman told me she came from Chile and lived close to Quentin airport.”



      “Never heard of this airport.  Anyway, so what? What about it?”  Peter thought silently, When does it get at least a bit interesting?



      “I never met anyone from Chile since I arrived in Hawaii. I've never been to South America, have no knowledge or interest in the country.”






      “Well I figured I’d check the Internet if such an airport exactly existed.  I mean it was a detail I vividly remembered from the dream, so why not check?  Of course I expected it didn’t exist.”



      “But when I searched “Quentin” and “Chile” on the Web, boy was I surprised that there is an airport by that name in that country!”



    “Strange, I'll grant you that,” said her friend, now with a face that displayed interest.



    “It gets even weirder.  The next day I met a couple in Waikiki who told me they were visiting.  Guess where from?”



    “From Chile?”






    “That is a coincidence,” acknowledged Peter.



    “But wait, that wasn't all the Chile in my life at the moment.”



    “What? Even more “Chile?”



    “Then I look at this free travel magazine on the street and there, on the page that I randomly opened, is a full page color ad on Chile!”



     “Wow, spooky!” said her now absorbed listener.  “What do you think brought all this Chile into your life?  Did you just have chili on rice at Zippy's? Get an upset stomach from it?  Or maybe ate too much hot red chili peppers recently?”

            “天哪,真邪门!”他已经变成她的忠实听众了。“你觉得智利是不是跟你的生活挂上钩了?你是不是在兹皮斯餐馆吃了太多的米饭辣椒?然后闹肚子了?或者也许是因为你最近吃了太多的辣椒?” (译注:英文中 智利 辣椒 谐音。)


    “No, I don't really care for chili or those burning red peppers.”



     “Hmm, so you don't know how come that country kept coming up?  Could it be that it was some kind of sign that you haven't yet figured out the meaning?”



     “Like I said, I have no interest in the place and would never go there.  Anyway, things are back to normal.  No more of this Chile stuff for the past week and boy am I relieved.”



      Just after saying that, congenial Uncle Clay, who always made an effort to introduce strangers to strangers that entered his snack shop, for the sake of spreading the love of aloha in his “House of Pure Aloha,” called out loudly invitingly to Peter and Victoria.  A middle-aged couple, stood between Uncle Clay, behind the serving counter and the seated friends.



      “Hey Peter and Victoria.  I want to introduce you to these fine people. They're the first of their country to visit our humble house of pure aloha here in Hawaii.  They’re tourists from Chile, of all places!”