What kind of horrible place is this?
27 March 2017
Sorry for the overly dramatic and slightly inappropriate click-bait title. I've probably been spending too much time listening to the news, it's taught me to use hyperbole, rhetoric, and alternative facts in order to influence people. Fair and balanced be damned, it's much easier to imply guilt by making an accusation in the form of a question. No actual evidence is necessary.
The building in the picture is not really a rape shack, though it certainly does look suspicious. It's hidden deep in the jungle with no path leading to it. There's no furniture other than a filthy, old, foam mattress. Creepiest of all is the door that locks from the outside. If you screamed really loud, someone might hear you, maybe, but I'm the closest neighbor and I'd have to be standing outside somewhere quiet instead of inside watching news clips on YouTube.
Now that I've thoroughly influenced you by planting a few misleading ideas while leaving out relevant facts, go ahead and try to guess the real story. Who built this shack and why? Was it built by a gun-loving Republican? Does it belong to a weed-smoking hippie Democrat? Is it some sort of criminal hideout? Drugs? Terrorists? Fanatics? If it's not a rape shack, what is it?
Here's a hint: besides sex and money, what else makes people act strange? It might feel perfectly reasonable to one group yet seem completely unreasonable to another group. It teaches us to get along with others yet is often used to persecute others. It sometimes causes us to unfairly judge others as well as be unfairly judged by others.
Religion, that's what this shack was for. This shack was built by Buddhist monks who used it for meditation. Even if you're not Buddhist, it's easy to agree that Buddhist monks are some of the most peaceful people on the planet. This shack must have been perfect for meditating. Imagine having a beautiful, quiet jungle in Hawaii all to yourself. Nothing but the sound of birds, a gentle breeze, and warm sunlight filtering down through the leaves. The shack has been abandoned for more than a decade now but when it was new it probably looked much nicer. If the shack was slightly larger, and had a bathroom and a cleaner mattress, it could be advertised on Airbnb as a tropical vacation rental.
Once you get past first impressions and see the whole picture, all of a sudden it's an entirely different story. This story is about to come to an end though, as that section of jungle is being cleared so it can be planted with coffee. Don't worry, it wasn't native jungle, it was originally cleared many years ago. Around here, any land left untended will quickly revert back to jungle. Unfortunately it reverts back to invasive weed species rather than native jungle so it's good that this area is being cleared again.
The new owners seem to be doing it responsibly. They're removing all the invasive plants while leaving behind the native ohia trees. It's actually starting to look quite spectacular. No longer will I be able to dare friends to follow me to the creepy shack in the jungle, I'll have to invent a different game instead. Would you like to explore a hidden troll cave? Or we could go climb the enchanted fairy tree. There are some giant vines where we can swing like Tarzan. It's all close to here, just make sure you have good hiking shoes in case we have to run from the wild boars. And don't forget to bring your imagination hat, that makes everything more adventurous.