No one would argue that Maui is as close to paradise as we can get. However, for it to be paradise with a capital "P," there should certainly be easier and better access to restrooms here.
For example, in Kihei, one of Maui's most heavily populated areas, public restroom accommodations are similar to those you might find in a third-world country. The way it is now in many establishments, individuals needing to use a restroom have to first get a key, and then go to the other side of the marketplace, or ask to use the facility at the business next door (which doesn't usually sit well with the owners of that store).
If they're lucky and are near the ocean, they may have to cross the street to the beach facilities--otherwise, just hope they can find one of those nasty porta potties somewhere within their kidneys' time window.
When I rule the world, property owners who want to open or remodel a public store or restaurant will have to provide restroom facilities within the building itself before they will be issued a license or be given permission to rent that space.
For starters, let's all chip in and buy a nice outside bathroom for the cell phone parking lot at Kahului Airport, and then maybe we can talk the Mainland CVS owners of Longs into building a simple little unisex restroom in a corner of their store where they now sell 17 brands of the same toothpaste.
It's not a joke to many private business owners, either. If you want to start World War III, just ask the proprietors of local bars or restaurants why they have signs posted on the front windows that say "Restrooms for Customers Only." It may sound very mean-spirited and "non-aloha," but according to them, not if you have to clean up the messes that are made by inconsiderate restroom users who trash private facilities because they just don't care.
But why does this even have to be an issue on our beautiful, tourist-driven island here in paradise (note small "p")?
Aren't some important elections coming up in a few months? Maybe I'll change my name to "John" and run a campaign on the "Get-It-Done NOW" "potty" ticket.
Okay, I'm done whining. And no--I'm not gonna "go back to the Mainland."
This opinion column is written by Charles Laquidara, who has lived on Maui for over 11 years. He worked at WBCN radio in Boston for 30 years as the morning-drive host of a show called "The Big Mattress" and is occasionally heard on Mana'o Radio here on-island. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.