Giving Credit Where Poi Is Due

Credit cards were lost and found in pursuit of fresh poi | Jane Esaki photo

Credit cards were lost and found in pursuit of fresh poi | Jane Esaki photo

I am at the gas station ready to fill up when I reach into my bag to grab my credit card case — and it’s missing! Suddenly the world turns upside down.

First comes suspicion: Someone lifted it from my open bag that I left carelessly on the console of my car while I was recycling.

Then the second-guessing: How could I be so blind as to not notice the thick case falling out of my bag?

Finally, the most plausible: I left it at the checkout line.

With hope dangling before me like a carrot in front of a horse, I successfully trace my steps to the last time I used my credit card. My son had been craving some fresh Hanalei Poi, so we stopped at Big

Save for the Friday night treat. A braddah worker led us to a vacant shelf, at which point my son suggested making poi out of taro, which led to Poi-Making 101 by the friendly Hawaiian. It was inspiring — never mind that the taro needed to be scrubbed, peeled, cut and boiled for as much time as you don’t have until it gets soft enough so you can spend more time that you don’t have to pound it and knead it before it’s remotely close to the ready-made poi.

Point is, now we had to buy the taro and that was the last time I used my card.

So I call Big Save to see if anyone found my cards, but the clerk searched for five minutes to no avail.

The edict: Immediately call all credit card companies to stop further transactions, like pounding the final nail in the coffin. That done, I now have absolutely no cash, except for two dimes and four pennies in my car, which I later discover is not even enough to buy a McDonald’s 99-cent soft-serve cone to ease my tension — tension because I can’t access my bank until Monday. That the red arrow is on empty. And my refrigerator is hungry.

Outside, Hurricane Ana is at our doorstep and the sky reflects a pall of pervasive gloom. Wow, this is surreal. I have never felt so helpless, save for the time I locked my keys and my phone in my car, which makes it hard to call for roadside assistance. I digress, but you get my drift.

On the bright side, the not-quite-so-smooth poi still turns out absolutely delicious in its own chunky, country-style way. Which reminds me: I still want to get my son some Hanalei Poi. After all, there’s nothing quite so earthy, gooey and comforting. I’ll try using that obsolete thing called the blank check imprinted with my former name that I have in case of an emergency. It is now Sunday night, and I make a quick turn into Big Save again. This time, the shelf is brimming with rows of that luscious purple sweet stuff. I grab one container and I look for the friendliest cashier, hoping she will take my check without an ID. After all, they do that with credit cards, right? Don’t bother answering that question right now.

Just as I am about to write the check, another employee literally leaps out in front of me like a sprite and hands me my case of cards! I am so ecstatic and grateful — if I could jump for joy, stomp my feet and hug him without looking like an idiot in front of the whole store, I would. Just as suddenly as my world had turned upside down, it is immediately right-side up again. The young man says he recognized me as the person who was in the next checkout line from the one he was manning the day I bought the taro. A customer had found my cards in the parking lot and brought them to him after I left. The cards were in the store safe, unbeknownst to the clerk I had called earlier.

There’s a reason why we come back full circle. In this case, I was supposed to get that poi.