Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Flakes of Maui (They Could be You!)

If California is the land of fruits and nuts, Maui is the land of coconuts and bananas.

Something about Maui makes people relax and flake out. People who are so solid and reliable elsewhere can be monumental flakes here. Is it the water? Is it the air?

What do I mean by flaky?
  • To say yes when you mean no.
  • To commit to some project and change your mind.
  • To invite people to your place and cancel last minute.
  • To RSVP to an event, have a friend pay for your ticket, and not show up.
  • To promote a nonprofit or co-op, raise funds for it, and then disappear.
  • To create websites for small businesses and then leave Maui abruptly, and you have all the passwords.
  • To tell someone their project is at the top of your list, and you’ll get to it next week, and it’s been five years.
  • To keep offering to “get in touch” or meet a friend, and when details are getting firmed up, stop replying.
  • To change your name so frequently that people don't know what to call you when they see you. This week it's Rainbow Mermaid Starsong. Next week it's Shanti Om Deva. (I made up these names, so hopefully won't offend any real people who may happen to have these names.)
  • To list a garage sale in Craigslist without a date, address, or contact information.
These are all true stories, some of which have happened to me. Even celebrities like John Stephan, who sings Roy Orbison tunes, suddenly up and cancel four months of shows scheduled on Maui in 2014. (I'm sure there was a real reason here, but from the outside, it did look kind of flaky.)

Why are people flaky here? Six theories:
1.      The vacation mentality is hard at work, LOL. On vacation, who wants to commit, make a schedule, or work? This relaxation attitude extends to the rest of the population, not just tourists.

2.      Maui is influenced by its Asian population, generations of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Filipino immigrants and their descendants. Perhaps there is an Asian attitude of pleasing people by saying what they want to hear, or agreeing with them, or saying yes, when one means no.

3.      Maui has a lot of Californian transplants. No offense, California, but you don’t inspire the same kind of dependability as say, Minnesota. The California mindset is relaxed, spontaneous, and at times superficial, which can sometimes manifest as flakiness.

4.      There are a lot of events and projects on Maui for a small island. People like to wait till the last minute to decide to do something, like buy tickets, go to an event, or RSVP, because there’s the possibility that something better might be happening!

5.      Maybe people all over the world are becoming more flaky because of all the distractions in our daily lives – texting, social media, the internet… it’s harder to digest information and remember what we’ve committed to.

6.       Maui has a transient quality to it. People come and go, move to Maui then leave Maui, then come back to Maui. People are transient. Things are transient.

On the flip side, I have also experienced my flaky moments on Maui, so I am sympathetic to flakes. One of my flaky projects is several minutes of really shaky video to give to Fleming Arboretum but it’s been on the back burner for years because I don’t want to give them unusable video and it’s incredibly time consuming to clean it up. There are events I've really wanted to go to, and couldn't (drama involved).

I recently talked with a friend who hosted an event at her house, and we both agreed… it is so hard to get people to commit to something here. People will say yes, they want to come, and you will never see them again… Hmmm, maybe I should invite more people to my house!

What's amazing though, is how many projects and events actually do get done, despite all this flaky energy. Even big projects like ART=MiXX multimedia events, or Source Maui, or festivals like the Haiku Ho'olaulea or volunteer conferences like WordCamp Maui

Here's a shortcut to the archives for the A to Z Challenge and other blog posts.

The theme of this year’s Ato Z Challenge is Living on Maui: A Beginner’s Survival Guide. While I can’t include everything in only 26 short blog posts, this is my foolish attempt.

If you are participating in the A to Z Challenge, please use either Disqus or Facebook to comment below. Please include your link so that I can visit you back, but it might be as late as May!



  1. Ha Ha Courtney, love this - just so you know, the flakes are not all on Maui! We have them here in R.I. Come to think of it, I think they are everywhere. Everything on your list has happened to me. I am guilty too of a minor infraction here or there. Maybe we're ALL flakes!

  2. I was going to say... I was a very flaky, I am... great post learned something... Welcome in the letter "F"... thank you!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There's no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

  3. Someday I'll get to Hawaii...maybe when the kids are grown and out of college. I think I probably wouldn't mind the flakiness, as long as I was a visitor. I can see that getting old pretty quick if I was permanently living there. Visiting from A to Z...

  4. Loved this. I know there are at least 38 ways to say no without saying no in Japanese.

  5. Yes, embrace one's inner flake!

  6. I have learned a very useful word today :D

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from

    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

  7. Funny, and so true, article, Courtney. My flaky gene kicked in a few years ago. I just realized it in December when I had not finished an outline I promised a friend. Everyday I tell myself I'm going to work on it -- would only take 3 days of focusing, but I find other ways to not do it.

  8. I have a lot to work with. I used to have strong integrity and did as I said, now, after having my 5th baby, I'v been super flaky. I see it. I cringe! I avoid commitments that I feel are too much (I am juggling so much in my life right now and my intentions to help others are in the right place, but I get LOST so easy and fast, I cry...).

    I know a lot of flaky people and I don't want to be one of them because they hurt. :(

    Thanks for this article. :)

    Elizabeth Mueller
    AtoZ 2015
    My Little Pony

  9. You know I have lived in California all my life, and I know exactly what you mean by people not being the most industrious here. I mean I see a lot of hardworking people, but in general people are always talking about wanting to go home close to five o'lock, or when their next vacation will be. I have always been a person who enjoys helping others and working hard, so I have never understood the more laid back attitude. My parents are originally from the Midwest, and I think the work ethic is just stronger back there. Maybe it is a cultural shift as well, but it just does not bode well if people say yes to something, and then flake out. What happened to respect? You should respect people enough as an adult that you are honest with them. If you do not plan on following through with a project, then do not accept the project.

  10. Hmm. I am from California so perhaps this explains a lot about me, lol.

  11. Dropping by to say hi!
    I do hate it when people flake on me. I know it happens sometimes for valid reasons, but when it happens too often by the same person... I get very wary about inviting them to anything else or including them in any of my plans.

    Deeply Shallow


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