essays by shé

The Noisy Boys of Kilauea

When I looked at the place, the landlady said one guy lived next door.

A lie.

Ten to fifteen guys live next door — during the week. Hired to work on a resort, they are commercial landscapers. Some come from Oahu, some from Maui, and recently a few from México. They all wear fluorescent orange work shirts and sturdy boots. They usually fly home for the weekend.

There’s also a unit on the other side of the house o’ guys that sheltered a squeaker for a time. “Squeaker” is what I called girls who squeal and fling their hair around. Like, wow! Also known as liars and fakers and poseurs, when I got older.

I prefer the noisy boys. They are more direct, though rowdy. They sing, they laugh loudly, they shower outside, they launder and launder and launder. Dirty work, landscaping.

Snap hiss: beer cans.

Pick-ups block the drive.

Delivery trucks rumble up to my wall, which from the outside, looks like what it used to be: a garage.

Their music runs to love songs, and their cleansers are highly fragrant. And they are kind: “I’m sorry about your mother,” said one. “How was your day?” asks another. “Oy! Move the truck for her!” shouts another. They always haul the overstuffed trash bin out on Monday nights, and I usually roll it in, empty, on Tuesdays.

The noisy boys miss their families. Sometimes I listen to their shouted cell phone conversations. Sometimes I grab my noise-canceling headphones.

They used to piss me off: their noise, their stink, their number. Sometimes they still do. But they’re usually laughing, even after a long day outside digging and planting and arguing with the boss. They may not always keep their word (help with the banana tree, guys?), but they are amiable. And that counts for a lot.

"The Noisy Boys of Kilauea" by Shé, 12" x 12" acrylic on canvas, 2022
The Noisy Boys of Kilauea by Shé, 12″ x 12″ acrylic on canvas, 2022




2 responses to “The Noisy Boys of Kilauea”

  1. KL Avatar

    Loved this–really great description of life on your corner of HI. I feel like I was sitting on the steps watching, listening to it all.

  2. Shé Avatar

    Glad you like it — thanks for reading.

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