More on “sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name:” We showed-up for Happy Hour at the Hotel Molokai — this time, our waitress recognized us and addressed us this time by the honorific “Uncle” and “Auntie.” 🙂 Apparently we are also maybe joining the ranks of “regulars,” although in a hotel environment, a “regular” may also be someone who is seen for more than a three-to-seven-day period — we’ve been in Molokai for three weeks now 🙂
As used in Hawaii, this honorific is the “friendly” form of address, usually given to persons who are older than the speaker, but WAY less-formal than “sir” or “ma’am” one is usually addressed by on the Mainland. No familial relationship is implied, of course — just a “nice-to-see-you” unstuffy approach to being friendly without being TOO casual (as in “Great seeing you, Trog! How’s it hanging?”). Respect for elders – a tradition LONG since lost on the Mainland – still holds sway in the family-centered traditions of the islands.
As one NEVER addresses a sergeant in the military — even one that once WAS one — as “sir” (that’s how an officer is addressed, first lesson some unfortunate new recruit would learn — to the benefit of the rest of us), it is all the MORE refreshing to be so-addressed. as something other than “sir.” And, like most men who leave the military service will do, I’ve let facial hair grow (just because I CAN — and it would be nice to see where THAT goes) — I’m starting to look more like Colonel Sanders with all this gray (and WELL-beyond the help of “Just for Men”), so I “get it” (and have worked HARD to keep from shouting that reflexive “DON’T CALL ME SIR – I WORK FOR A LIVING” that sergeants have long done) that I should be addressed with SOME honorific recognizing my “more-senior” status… but “sir” still grinds a bit…
…UNCLE, on the other hand… nice, polite, not grinding 🙂
(There are, by the way, a BUNCH of sites on the Internet covering Hawaiian customs [and courtesies – who knew that you DON’T call the local residents “Hawaiian” or “natives” unless they ARE ethnically Native Hawaiian – OR that a visitor taking public transit should wait for local residents to board first as they NEED to get to work on time and you probably have all DAY to get to where you want to be?] elsewhere on the Internet [a little reading IS suggested, if you’re planning on visiting]. I’ll just talk about the more-interesting ones – or ones that actually HAPPEN to us here 🙂 )