A couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying a mango margarita at a party down the street, when I was approached from the side by a friendly, neighborhood hippy.

“You know, somewhere on your property, there is an uncut four karat diamond buried by a tree,” she said.

I blinked at Tanya, a woman I know who lives down the road from me. She was dressed warmly in multiple layers of hippy attire for the cool June evening. A pair of purple pants stuck out under a floral patterned skirt and slouched over a pair of Elven-styled shoes fastened by leather straps. A loose knit brown sweater hugged her shoulders.

I smiled. I like Tanya. She is in her early 40s and has long, sandy hair and blue eyes. She stands close to 5’2”, but would probably be closer to 5’4” if she stood a little straighter. Several years ago, she was in a car accident, which left her with a somewhat debilitating head injury. Once she told my husband over a couple of beers that her husband was cheating on her and that he and his girlfriend were plotting to kill her.

“A four karat diamond?” I repeated in a tone not unlike one I use with my children when they tell me they just saw a giraffe in the forest or that a monster named Brian drank all of the maple syrup in the pantry.

“Well,” she hesitated, “it’s either the four karat diamond or a crystal. I can’t remember if I buried the diamond with the iguana.”

“The iguana,” I repeated, taking a long draw from my cup and angling off from the group of neighbors with whom I had been discussing the housing market only moments before. “There’s an iguana buried next to my house?” At 9000 feet in the Rocky Mountains, I was somewhat amused by this thought.

“No, the iguana is buried at my old apartment down in Boulder. I just can’t remember if I put the diamond in the box with the iguana, or if it was the crystal. Whichever one it’s not is buried on your property. It will also be in a wooden box.”

I nodded as if everything was perfectly clear now. A few moments of silence passed between us. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“I’m sorry…why?”

“Because he was miserable in his cage – it was so obvious – so I used to let him roam freely around my apartment. It was the middle of winter and I accidentally left the window open and he got out. It was horrible. I found him frozen solid, huddled up against the building.”

I squinted at her.

“The iguana?”

She nodded somberly and pushed a strand of hair out of her eyes.

“No, I meant why did you bury a diamond—or a crystal—on my property?”

“I don’t know,” she began shaking her head. “Maybe it was a ‘put your money with your love’ thing? Derek and I wanted to buy that house and camped out there on the property border several times. We ended up not qualifying for the loan.”

“Oh.”

A few more moments of silence passed between us, but I couldn’t leave it alone.

“So, I gotta know. How did you get this diamond?” And what did it do to you to merit burial?, I completed in my head.

“Oh, this guy I knew gave it to me. He was part of the Rainbow People and we’d had a fling…he had several of these diamonds. He gave them out to a bunch of us. I wasn’t the only one.”

I nodded, imagining vividly the scene in which the Rainbow Man handed out diamonds to all of his hippy lovers. In my mind, they surrounded him in a forest glen with only the moon to light their faces.

I like hippies. That is to say, I don’t dislike them. Living where I do outside of Boulder, I have ample opportunity to comingle with the pagan unwashed. I even know a few by name: Marley. Moonbeam. Dharma. I don’t really know a Dharma, but I know of one. She and her life partner, Greg, live in an eclectically decorated apartment and have unusual friends. They are very funny.

In the small town just down the mountain pass from where I live, there are numerous hippies. It is a virtual hippy haven. When they are not crowded around a trashcan bonfire or on sofas on another hippy’s front porch, they congregate outside of a small diner called The Mercantile. “The Merc”, as it is known by locals, serves up home style vittles to the locals, as well as to a multitude of cyclists who make their way up the canyon trying to get away from the bustling metro-center of Boulder. The Merc offers things on its menu like burgers and jicama fajitas to their equally sweat-caked clientele and smells chronically of coffee and syrup no matter the time of day. It’s lovely. Truly. When Simon Smithson and Zara Potts came to visit recently, this is where we met. They called it “charming”.

I’m relatively content in my current lifestyle, but I imagine that if I wanted to reinvent myself and I had no ties, becoming a hippy would be reasonably attractive:

Certainly, I wouldn’t have to negotiate as much laundry as I currently do.

I could wear organically grown flowers in my hair without pretense.

I’ve never observed a hippy at the gym or jogging down the sidewalk, so I assume I could give up on the guilt I feel for not having a regular exercise program. This is not to say that hippies don’t exercise. As a matter of fact, hippies love kung fu. I love that hippies love kung fu.

I could be unabashedly and unapologetically polyamorous.

I could wear loose-fitting floral print cotton fabric paired with…other loose-fitting floral print cotton fabric.

I could throw myself full-time into causes I believe in and acquire a deep tan.

I could drink mate tea judiciously, eat hummus copiously and fart freely.

I could stop buying diapers for my one-year-old and let him just work it out naturally.

I could trade in my laptop for computer time at the public library where I would write free-style prose in between letters to my local members of Congress.

I could nurse my children openly and uncovered in public, as well as the children of my friends.

But there would be a darker side, too. I would have to force myself to like Reggae, which unlike Slade Ham’s recent experience with a world-class flag waver, might permanently bum me out. I once went to a reggae show in the back of a dirty restaurant in the heart of Boulder and aside from getting secondhand blitz-krieged by the bud cloud in there, I was cooked. Not only could I barely keep my eyes open after awhile from the repetitive rhythm, my knees were shot from repeatedly lifting them in the only reggae dance I know, which involves a sort of funky step not unlike an asynchronous military march. I spent the next 12 hours on somebody’s fully furnished porch waving away flies and some guy named Reefer who kept trying to gnaw on my arm.

I’m also not ready to give up Starbucks. While I’m not a regular there and will naturally gravitate toward the locally owned shop, I do occasionally find myself without a choice and before I know it I’m siphoning that brown mega-corp nectar through a straw like a half-crazed, sleep deprived mosquito. And everybody knows that if I were a hippy – a real hippy – that just couldn’t happen. Real hippies don’t go to Starbucks. They just don’t.

And then there is the body hair issue. It’s one thing to allow one’s leg and underarm hair to grow to the point of resembling a Silverback gorilla, but my face? I have eyebrows. I mean, I have eyebrows. And those little strays that sometimes pop out on my chin. Let’s just say that I am no stranger to tweezers and if I let my eyebrows unfurl across my face like a barbarian nautical flag, I’m just not sure I would be…OK…anymore. As a hippy, I assume that hypocrisy is carefully monitored by the clan, and if they caught me tweezing away at the mirror in the doorless, unisex bathroom – regardless of the fact that I could donate 6-inches of pit hair to Locks of Love – I would be done. Voted off the island. Washed away in a recycled rainwater sea.

In short, being a hippy looks easy to the outsider, but I’m not so sure it really is. People call hippies “slackers” or “lazy”, but I am beginning to suspect that the opposite is true. Modern culture blocks any effort that is less than heartfelt and the modern hippy often finds him or herself bracing against the waves that a counterculture life seems to attract, thus making life harder in the end.

In fact, every aspect of modern life is a blockade to the hippy. Certainly most restaurants don’t fit the dietary requirements. Transportation is limited to automobiles that rhyme with Schmolkswagen and that require regular maintenance and parts replacement due to an unspoken “circa 1965” clause. Hippy parents can find good, holistic education at certain institutions such as Waldorf, but places like Waldorf require money – money which, unless said hippy is a trust fund recipient, is entirely unattainable given the lack of top shelf jobs for people who refuse to shave or wear sleek, black pantsuits. Even entertainment is somewhat limited. Movie theaters are out as there are no hippy-approved snacks at the movie theater snack bar. Plus, they’re air-conditioned, which just seems, well, wrong as I don’t believe hippies mesh well with climate control. Simply put, a life decision to be a hippy is fundamentally a decision against being part of popular culture. This may be an obvious observation, but those who pull it off with any measure of success have my respect and fascination.

Tanya has managed it brilliantly in spite of a partially debilitating head injury.

Realizing that she has a special gift and that the trauma to her brain could very well at some point render further information gathering difficult, I pressed ahead with my interrogation.

“So, where did you bury it?” I asked, quickly adding that I would return it to her should it be found. A little too quickly, perhaps.

“I don’t remember exactly. It was a big tree.”

I nodded. There are hundreds of trees on my property.

“I think it was by the cabin,” she told me. “On the south side. Or maybe the west.”

“Was the tree to the south – or the west – of the cabin, or is that the position of the diamond – or crystal – in relation to the tree?”

“Both. Neither. I don’t really know.”

I nodded, crossing my arms and thinking about what it would take to dig a ring around every tree that fit that description. Surely there were at least a dozen. Or fifty. Clearly, she didn’t care. It was obvious she didn’t recognize or even want the value this could bring, having no doubt decided during her stint with the Rainbow People that American currency holds no power over her. But me, I would know just what to do with that money. Er, diamond. Or crystal. But I bet it was the diamond. Why else would she have said anything? I began making plans about how I would methodically start digging the next day at first light. Better yet, I could tell my 6-year-old that we were going on a treasure hunt and that there was actual treasure beneath one of the trees and that it was her goal to find it. I could bribe her with chocolate. Nilla Wafers. Or even just a non-scheduled private showing of Shrek. When she found it, I would take it straight to an appraiser. I might even stop at Starbucks along the way and wear a sleek, black pantsuit.

Man, I love hippies.

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ERIKA RAE is the author of Devangelical, a humor memoir about growing up Evangelical (Emergency Press, December, 2012). She is editor-in-chief at Scree Magazine and nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. Erika earned her MA in Lit­er­a­ture and Lin­guis­tics from the Uni­ver­sity of Hong Kong and to this day can ask where the bath­room is in Can­tonese, although it is likely that she will not under­stand the answer. In her dream world, she fan­cies her­self a kung fu mas­ter clev­erly dis­guised as a gen­tle moun­tain dweller, eagerly antic­i­pat­ing dan­ger at the bot­tom of every latte. When she is not whipping one of her 3 children and denying them bread with their broth, she runs an ISP with her husband from their home in the Colorado Rockies.

110 responses to “Real Hippies Don’t Go To Starbucks”

  1. Joe Daly says:

    This needs to be your next podcast. The dialogue alone demands it!

    >>I could trade in my laptop for computer time at the public library where I would write free-style prose in between letters to my local members of Congress. <<

    You clearly have a deeply-layered understanding of the counter-culture. This was so right on that it’s a bit scary.

    Hilarious read, and yes, the next time I’m in Colorado and the ground isn’t too hard for digging, I will be prospecting on your property. You can have half of whatever I find. Unless it’s a four carat diamond. Then I’m buying your family dinner.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Well, I’ve given a lot of thought to this, Joe. The problem is-as I insinuated above-I’m too lazy and egocentric to become a hippy.

      And I really do want to find that diamond, too. I’ve partially dug rings around three of the most obvious trees, so far. I could use some help. Come on over! I’ve got an extra shovel… If we find it and it ends up being just a crystal, we can call it a day, head down to the Merc, and discuss the evil of currency over a couple of beers. It’s win-win either way, Joe.

  2. Cynthia Hawkins says:

    Oh, how I’ve always wanted to be a hippy. I even bought a Rusted Root album once in casual pursuit of my dream. But … wait … “Movie theaters are out”??? That’s a deal-breaker right there.

    • Erika Rae says:

      I, too, love Rusted Root. I have a couple of their cds, myself. Is it OK to be a temporary hippy? I mean, we could listen to hippy music, chow some zucchini pancakes for snacks, and then hop in the Hummer and go to Starbucks on the way to the evening showing. We won’t be winning any consistency awards, but it will be the best of both worlds. And anyway, I’m a gemini. I’m OK with this.

      • Cynthia Hawkins says:

        I’m a virgo and therefore shouldn’t be okay with it, yet somehow I am anyway. This sounds like a brilliant plan! Kind of like how I eat Amish noodles while watching television.

  3. Richard Cox says:

    You make a good point. Anyone who belongs to a certain group and seriously owns it is not really a slacker in the commonly-understood sense. In fact, as you point out, you have to (sometimes begrudgingly) respect anyone who takes any cultural identification to a serious level. Even counter-culture. Just because you don’t care for someone’s ideals doesn’t mean you can’t respect them for taking a real stand.

    Fence-sitters are humanity’s real slackers. Half-ass hippies. Lazy voters. Network news disciples.

    And flag wavers. Hahaha.

  4. dwoz says:

    I’m reminded of a sufi story, where the protagonist, Nasrudin, overheard a story being told by a police captain, about a thief who had just been captured, sans contraband.

    “I know that fellow!” Nasrudin said to the captain. Only last week, I saw him digging a hole in the field behind my house!

    The next day, a battalion of policemen descended on the field with picks and shovels, only to leave empty-handed.

    The day following, Nasrudin planted his newly turned garden.

  5. Matt says:

    Hippies just rub me the wrong way, for reasons I can’t exactly articulate. I know that they’re mostly harmless, and I don’t really have anything against them, yet I cannot seem to say the work “hippie” out loud with out it being preceded by “fucking.” Maybe it’s the constant smell of b.o., patchouli, and cheap skunk weed.

    *sigh*

    I’ve got growing to do as a person, I know.

    • Erika Rae says:

      I think there is a “hot plastic” component, as well. Could just be my weird olfactory sense, but yeah. Patchouli, BO, skunk weed and plastic.

    • Erika Rae says:

      I’m guessing you deal a lot with hippies. You know, being a martial arts instructor and all.

      • Matt says:

        Well, being in Southern California, they do turn up from time to time, but most of those are the fence-sitting superficial kind Richard mentions above. I had much more hands-on experience when I was a bouncer in New Orleans. Hippies swarm the city for the entire week of Jazz Fest, and the smell, of all of them packed up in the club for Robert Randolph or Galactic or Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, was atrocious. I’ve been around decaying corpses that smelled better.

        • Erika Rae says:

          There’s a reason “funk” is both a type of music and a word used to describe smell.

        • Uche Ogbuji says:

          Oh you got me started now! WTF is up with Robert Randolph and hippies?! I’m trying to enjoy some God-soaked southern soul and these cats are always there doing some fake-ass so-called African dances. Same thing when I go to watch Zap Mama or Angelique Kidjo in Boulder. I mean, I love that Boulder peeps have ridic good taste in music, but c’mon. That’s not hippy shit! Is it?

        • Matt says:

          Yeah, that was the strange thing about the four years I was in N.O. for Jazz Fest. Never seemed to be a lot of actual jazz, just jam bands and roots rock that the stoned out hippies could do their little pseudo-tribal dances to.

        • Erika Rae says:

          The Hippie Pseudo-Tribal dance is something to behold and involves a lot of arm swinging, head nodding, as well as occasional skipping. It is distinct and it is large. In terms of the space it takes to pull off a legitimate HPT dance, it rivals only the breakdance, whose proponents perform a space-clearing pre-dance technique to ensure adequate room for a leg flailing, head spinning performance. But whereas the breakdancer clears his or her space in deference to other dancers to prevent injury to self or others, the HPT dancer neither protects nor warns anyone. Thus, weed is more than a prop, it is a necessity as it helps numb the HPT dancer against the pain from running into other HPT dancers, who appear equally possessed, as well as oblivious.

        • Matt says:

          That’s the one right there!

          There should be anthropological studies. Don! Where are you?! Get on this already.

  6. Debbie says:

    I don’t think I could be a hippy, the body hair thing might be ok with some people but not for me. Well that and I like showers. Now the running around naked part – that I like 🙂

    • Erika Rae says:

      Yeah, the running around naked with outta control body hair makes me cringe, too.

      Is that a knife you’re holding behind your back? I am suddenly inclined to agree with everything you say.

  7. God, it’s been so long since I’ve heard someone say (write) the phrase “Rainbow People.” It gave me a little shiver. I want to balance the admission that, while I have indeed attended a Rainbow Gathering in my lifetime, I also used to own a t-shirt (worn with pride) that said DIRTY HIPPY EAT FIST…..well, it seemed funny at the time.

    My favorite line: “She stands close to 5’2”, but would probably be closer to 5’4” if she stood a little straighter.” Yeah, what’s with that Max Creek slouch? Not enough lysine in Tofurkey?

    • Erika Rae says:

      Not enough lysine in Tofurkey…hahaha.

      Yes, I’ve been approached a few times by people in Boulder introducing themselves along the lines of, “Hello, sister. I’m from the Coalition of the Rainbow Family of Living Light. Have you got any spare change so a guy like me can eat? Keep in mind, the crepes down the street cost at least five dollars.” I suppose if I’d been wearing your T-shirt, I might have been left alone…

      • That shirt actually started a number of interesting conversations. For one thing, both my punk and sports friends thought it was hilarious. And my more sensitive/nature friends genially tolerated my attempt to use Aggressive Humor as a way to cross between the three worlds, since they instinctively knew that shirt was like the big membrane-circle in Stargate. But also the occasional deadlocked stranger would come up to me on the sidewalk with hurt eyes and say something like “aw, man, you don’t really think that, do you?” And then I’d say no, dude, it’s just a dumb joke, and they’d be so relieved that me and him and the six patchouli girls they knew and four other guys with Santana glasses and hemp anklets and two guys from the football team and all the members of some band called Kill Faction or whatever, would all end up at someone else’s party in a squat across town and have a great time.

  8. Irene Zion says:

    Erica Rae,

    You could donate your pit hair to locks of love, but you would have to grow all those hairs to at least 8 inches. Do you think you could do that?
    I once had 12 inches of hair cut in a pony tail and rubberbanded all up and down, but locks of love only wants hair for kids and apparently kids don’t have grey hair, so I gave it to a wig shop to make a wig for some poor grey haired lady undergoing chemo.

    I’m afraid that I would have to spend the rest of my summer digging trenches around each of my trees, were I you. Yes, I believe that’s what I’d have to do. Fruitless as that may be.

    How old are these hippies around you? There are hippies on Hawaii on some of the islands that are the original hippies. They are old, old, hippies!

    This was fun. I love reading what you write!

    • Gloria says:

      Irene-

      When I shaved my hair recently, since it wasn’t long enough to send to Locks of Love, I decided to send it to BP with a note that says, “Please use this to plug the oil spill. It works like a charm in my bathroom sink.” 🙂

    • Erika Rae says:

      It has to be *eight* inches? Dang it. There goes that last several months down the drain.

      And our hippies run the entire spectrum in age up here. It is not so much a trend as an actual lifestyle. We have entire hippy families and hippy villages. Old, young, it matters not.

      I love that you donate your hair. I’ve never done it before. I was working on that, but now…

  9. Gloria says:

    …a monster named Brian drank all of the maple syrup in the pantry. ha ha ha ha. Yes. Indigo has a Ghost Friend that does all kinds of naughty things and is generally responsible for telling him to do naughty things.

    So many great lines:

    “the pagan unwashed”

    “As a matter of fact, hippies love kung fu.”

    “I could nurse my children openly and uncovered in public, as well as the children of my friends.” (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha – I’m dying here. Have you seen Away We Go with John Krazinski? There’s a great bit in there with Maggie Gylenhoweverthehellyouspellhername about that.)

    “It’s one thing to allow one’s leg and underarm hair to grow to the point of resembling a Silverback gorilla, but my face?” God, that’s funny. As a matter of fact, this is my favorite paragraph.

    Erika, this is all funny as shit. Thank you.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Thanks, Gloria. And no, I haven’t seen Away We Go (My God you’re an html master, aren’t you?). I will have to Netflix it now. (I think hippies are OK with Netflix, aren’t they? In fact, I’m guessing Netflix is a great choice for hippies – no due date, etc.)

      • Gloria says:

        I’ll bet hippies are okay with Netflix because it’s not The Man like those goddamned corporate stores that sell us the bullshit that Hollywood shoves down our throats! But also because of the due dates.

        See it,for sure. It doesn’t cast hippies in a kind light; though it’s an honest one on some levels. It’s not mostly about hippies though. It’s a good flick, if not flawed in it’s own sweet way.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Oh – I forgot to add that I adore the name Indigo. It was in my top 5 for my first two kids. It’s my favorite color, too. And…I must confess I love the Girls. Great name.

      • Gloria says:

        Funny story: Indigo’s name, had I ever read William Goldman’s book, would have been Inigo. But because I’d only seen The Princess Bride and relied on my unreliable hearing to inform me about what the Spaniard’s name was, he became Indigo. I blame Andre the Giant. There’s a scene where Fessick screams Inigo Montoya’s name and he clearly says Indigo. It’s all his fault.

        In retrospect, I admit that I like Indigo better than Inigo. 🙂 It fits him.

  10. Becky Palapala says:

    I don’t like hippies as a general rule, but as is already well-documented on TNB, I’m also sort of annoyed with my corpus –the need to feed it, wash it, shave it, pluck it, empty it, etc.

    These behaviors do nothing but distract me from all the stuff I’d rather be doing, which mostly happen in my head.

    So hippiedom has always appealed to me on the no-shaving, infrequent bathing tip. Like no-maintenance siding. I’ll probably always have to eat and go to the bathroom, but at least I could do something about those other burdensome things.

    Problem is, as much as I wish I could walk around all smelly and hairy, I can’t stand it when other people do. Other people smell like a bunch of dirty apes.

    In truth, some of the kindest, most easy-going people I’ve ever met have been, more or less, hippies. Truth be told, I am more than happy to spend no more than two hours per week with one.

    • Erika Rae says:

      I love that you have a time limit for hippy tolerance.

      I’ve never really thought of it that way before, but yes – that’s exactly it. Being a hippy would more or less represent how I would be sans ego. Let the hair go. The odor go. Low maintenance siding. Let alol consideration for “other” go. Use the time freed up to tend to more important matters. Like trying to figure out how to make myself like reggae. And world peace, of course.

    • Erika Rae says:

      I love that you have a time limit for hippy tolerance.

      I’ve never really thought of it that way before, but yes – that’s exactly it. Being a hippy would more or less represent how I would be sans ego. Let the hair go. The odor go. Low maintenance siding. Let all consideration for “other” go. Use the time freed up to tend to more important matters. Like trying to figure out how to make myself like reggae. And world peace, of course.

  11. Alison Aucoin says:

    Thanks, I needed that giggle! I lived on Orcas Island in Washington State for while between under grad and grad school and tried to be a hippy but it didn’t take. I guess if you have to put effort into it you know it’s just not the right fit.

    Oh and the no diapers thing: I have a non hippy but too-perfect-for-words friend who had a baby a few years ago. She decided to go diaper free. I have NEVER felt so utterly ridiculous than when I was babysitting and at the grocery store with the three month old tot and I realized that he hadn’t peed in a long while. I’d begged her to put a diaper on him before I left her place but she insisted we’d be fine if I followed her directions exactly. So I went into the ladies room, pulled down the baby boy’s diaperless pants, held him over the sink (she insisted that the toilet intimidated him), and made THE noise. Psssttt….psssstt. Sure enough, he peed right on cue but the site of us nearly killed the little old lady who walked in the bathroom. At least it was a Whole Foods.

    • Erika Rae says:

      What is it about Orcas Island and no diapers??? I had an acquaintance who lived (lives?) there who was also into the diaperless thing. The thing is, it WORKED. So weird. I mean, it’s awesome, but I have so much trouble fathoming it as the mother of three, myself. I so want to, though.

      I’m sure that little old lady thought you were completely off your rocker. Wish I could have seen that. Ha! (The sound!)

    • Don Mitchell says:

      I spent a long time with non-hippie people who didn’t diaper their infants and toddlers, and I carried some of those kids around myself.

      The mothers taught me to feel when the kid had to go — I suppose “was about to go” is what it was — and then I’d do what they did: hold the kid out in front of me, more or less at arm’s length, pointing away from me, and let it all happen.

      Worked great outside or in a dirt-floored house.

      • Erika Rae says:

        I think you’ve hit on something here. Access to outdoors is a must. It’s so cold up here for so much of the year, I’d be crazy to try it. Crazy. I feel better, Don.

  12. Uche Ogbuji says:

    Ha ha, Erika! You always crack me up with your apt observations of Boulder environs. I guess now that I moved into little boxes, I see less of the hippy contingent, except for when I go to a concert for anything that has never once seen the ass end of a Billboard chart.

    But to be fair, the best thing about Boulder hippies is the menagerie all up and down Pearl Street mall. Been from the Vondelpark, Amsterdam to Soho, London to Central Park, NY, and if there is a better place to people-watch, I ain’t seen it.

    • Erika Rae says:

      No, Boulder is a prime hippie-watching town. None better. Come to think of it, I think the opposite is equally true as I believe the hippies watch us just as much as we watch them. It goes both ways.

  13. Zara Potts says:

    That little cafe was charming! It’s funny actually because it kind of reminded me of places in NZ. There is quite a large hippy contingent down under. I think they are attracted to the forests and mountains – dear little woodland creatures that they are.
    I could never be a hippy. I’m like you – too fond of the tweezer. And I only burn Nag Champa ironically.
    Maybe you could ask Tanya if she buried it under a chocolate or strawberry flavoured tree? Those trees were such a highlight for me!
    I wish we could have spent more time with you, you are funny as shit and a wonderful, wonderful host with a wonderful family. Plus you are really hot and can play the bagpipes in your throat.

  14. angela says:

    fun piece, erika.

    here in SF is the first time i’ve encountered old hippies. in NYC, there were the old time new yorkers who’d been living in the city since before the FIRST black out, and were probably paying $200 a month for a giant apartment, and the scrubby “homeless” kids with their expensive tattoos, leather jackets, Doc Martens, and purebred dogs. yeah, you don’t need my spare change, you need to go home to mommy and daddy in Connecticut.

    in SF there seem to be lots of baby boomer types whose brains seem completely fried from all the drugs they did in the ’60s and ’70s. i’m sure there are some real peace and love hippies out there, but i’ve yet to come across one.

    regarding the no diapers thing, there was an article just last week – i think in Salon – about how western it is to keep kids in diapers for so long. in other cultures, babies pretty much are always diaperless. but if you’re a working parent, i doubt you have time to bring your kid to the sink or toilet every time he or she needs to go.

    • Erika Rae says:

      I wish I could have done (would have done) the no-diapers thing. I wish I were that cool. Truly! I have held those little diaper-less babies and it’s almost disconcerting at first – feeling their little squishy butts through their clothes without padding. And then it sort of hits you how completely cool it is and man. If only I lived on Orcas Island.

      Old hippies are awesome. They’re everywhere here. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like an awful lot of them teach Tantra. They all seem to know each other. They skip across public spaces toward each other in elaborate almost Shakespearean displays of affection. They are also prone to reaching out and fondling each other’s faces, as well as the faces of passersby. I have been fondled by old hippies on several occasions.

  15. Greg Olear says:

    There are, of course, as many subsets of hippies as there are of, say, “white people.”

    Some of the hippie kids up here don’t go to Starbucks, but they do hang out in front of the hipster coffee shop that doesn’t open till ten fucking o’clock with their wet, stinky dogs and bum quarters.

    I hope you find your diamond!

    • Erika Rae says:

      See, you say “some” of the hippie kids don’t go to Starbucks. Do not be fooled. The hippies you do see entering the corporate lair are in fact not real hippies at all, more likely falling under the category of “yippie”, or yuppie/hippie of the Trustafarian variety. They are very convincing by sight. They may even occasionally enjoy the glow of trashlight. But they are not – I repeat – not authentic hippies.

      Subsets yes, but beware the imposter.

      A Frappuccino in the hands of a hippie, indeed.

      ( ;

  16. James D. Irwin says:

    I wanted to be a hippy, briefly. I’m far from a metrosexual male by any means, but there comes a point where you have to at least have a quick rinse around the intimate areas…

    It must be pretty bad for the soul trying to desperately keep grasp of a period of time that has long since passed… I don’t know how it is in the US, but over here the whole eco-friendly flower-child Al Gore type trip has basically been turned into a designer label and an excuse to sell shit for way more than it’s worth… Global Warming may not be a con, but charging £5 for eco-friendly coffee is!

    This was awesome.

    Also, I never knew how much I diskiled hippies until a moment ago. Always learning…

    • Erika Rae says:

      Ah, Grasshopper, you must come to Boulder. If you seek, you shall find…the authentic hippy. I mean, there are plenty of posers, but if they’re anywhere, they’re here. And if in doubt, invite them to Starbucks and their authenticity shall soon be made known.

      …and “there comes a point where you have to at least have a quick rinse around the intimate areas” has started the uncontrollable giggles. I am such a child.

  17. Lauren Hoffman says:

    “I don’t really know a Dharma, but I know of one” was the best laugh I’ve had all day!

  18. Scott says:

    Years and years of blurting out ‘fucking hippies’ every time the old network went to pot (literally). I’m totally going to slip and say it on my next install. New mantra.

    Anyway, summed up best by Eric Cartman:
    “Hippies, hippies… they want to save the world but all they do is smoke pot and play frisbee!”

  19. I love your reasons for wanting to be a hippy. I also love hippies. In fact, I lived among them a few years ago and I’ve been tremendously depressed ever since that I gave up my adopted hippy ways. I mean, I showered dressed so that no one would know I was a hippy… sometimes… but I was a hippy at heart.

    Guess what? Two weeks from now and I’ll be back in the heart of hippidom. I wonder how many beads I’ll need…

  20. Kris Saknussemm says:

    Having grown up in Berkeley in the 1960s (arguably the epicenter of the hippie movement), I think it’s worth noting that almost anyone we identify as a hippie today is in fact a second generation hippie–at the outside. Despite the appeal of the “lifestyle” to younger people back in those days, the vast majority I remember were well into their 20s. Many were older still. That puts the youngest of the “originals” well into their 60s now, and that’s not who you’re talking about. My point is that we are looking at either a strangely enduring matrix of values, fashion and lifestyle which has been adopted by new people over time–or, in the case of those raised within that world, a curiously conformist, traditionalist following of the previous generation’s patterns (a funny sort of paradox given the original hippies’ stance). In any case, I think few people in 1975 would’ve predicted that we would still be using the term “hippies” in 2010–or that it would so clearly still apply.

    • Erika Rae says:

      It’s amazing how it’s endured, isn’t it? (Although we do have quite a large faction of ‘originals’ here in Boulder still, but many have morphed into a more cultural-friendly version and drive Beamers and hang out at the local New Age bookstore – but not all…) I wonder what modern phenomena will endure. Steam punk? Emo? Heh. I’m imagining a bunch of second gen Emo kids walking around in the year 2050. They’ve all got broken absynthe bottles for protection and sit on busy street corners wailing out turn of the millennium poetry at the hovercrafts zooming down the road.

      • Don Mitchell says:

        Erika! I know we don’t do the correcting thing much here, and certainly we aging almost-were-hippies do, you know, the peace love do your own thing bit but:

        the BMW automobile = “bimmer”
        the BMW motorcycle = “beemer” and sometimes “beamer.”

        Back in the day, there were BSA (= “British Small Arms”), which were called “beezsers.” I had one. They routinely raced against BMW bikes and thus the British rhyming slang thing turned the BMWs into “beemers.”

        What to do with the car, then? Bimmer.

        None of this pedantry takes away from your wonder at how it is that AHs and their progeny drive around in expensive German machinery.

        Now that I think about it, the first time I got to ride a beemer was in Boulder. But the guy only let me ride it around the neighborhood. Bummer.

  21. Andrew Nonadetti says:

    I won’t touch the filthy hippie topic (much as I wouldn’t touch a filthy hippie unless necessary) but I am intrigued by the buried diamond. As luck would have it, I have also been an appraiser in a former life – had my own loupe and everything – and would be happy to take a look at it and offer you fair value. Cash on the spot. Of course, it’s probably a fake but I’d still give you, say, $100 for it.

    Trust me. 😀

  22. Beanie says:

    Once again, sweet Erika, you have dead-on descriptions and razor-sharp wit (I think you may have drawn blood, actually!). But I have to say — I’m surprised that almost all the comments surround the hippie issue. I agree with Andrew — it’s the diamond that woke me up.

    Seriously, a diamond — as a girl, isn’t it supposed to be your best friend? If you found out your best friend was buried on your property, would you just let her stay put? Of course not!!

    Maybe you could mobilize the rescue efforts to save your best friend… perhaps by putting the hippies to work? You could give shovels to the hippies and tell them that there are magical iguana bones with mystical healing powers; they just have to give you any shiny objects buried with the bones.

    Or tell them that there is an EVIL blood diamond on your property messing with your feng shui that you must IMMEDIATELY take to your local appraiser and use the cash to heal yourself (healing looks a lot like a Ferrari in this situation).

    I’m ready to manage a herd of hippies (shovel-wielding or merely hand-digging) at any time. Just let me know.

    • Erika Rae says:

      You are brilliant, Beanie. Seriously. “They just have to give you any shiny objects buried with the bones.” Hahahaha

      I’ll bet we could get a friendly herd of hippies up here with shovels. The clincher would be that we make it a moonlight dig. To celebrate…the moon goddess. Yeah, that’s it. Once the sacred stone is found, it shall be returned to her priest (located in a strip mall down on Colfax) and I shall drive back up the mountain in the vehicle of her gratefulness to show that I – and metaphorically, *they* – have been healed. And then we’ll all get stoned.

  23. Judy Prince says:

    Amazing, Erika Rae, that hippies have evolved from young folks eschewing money and Real Work to older folks who have money, don’t apparently need to work, and support the causes that most people support. How things change—–except for the pit hair, thank goodness.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Yes, indeed. Many seem to have evolved within their own lifetime from VW to BMW quite seamlessly. Fortunately, there are oodles of next gen hippies to pick up their slack and show those sell-outs how to do it right. I’m not exactly sure, but mostly this seems to involve large, bulbous knit caps and off-leash dogs. (That’ll show ’em!)

      • Judy Prince says:

        “Many seem to have evolved within their own lifetime from VW to BMW quite seamlessly. Fortunately, there are oodles of next gen hippies to pick up their slack and show those sell-outs how to do it right. I’m not exactly sure, but mostly this seems to involve large, bulbous knit caps and off-leash dogs. (That’ll show ‘em!)”

        You’re a HOOT, Erika Rae! 😉

        and the Uche caterpillar :P;;;;;;

  24. Wonderful post, Erika. Also, it’s a fact that the ghost of Bruce Lee loves hippies. You know why? Hmmm…wait…waaaiiit…waaaiiit for it…

    because hippies love kung fu.

  25. dwoz says:

    Rich totally blew Mr. “I have bigger hair playing the fish” off the stage.

  26. JM Blaine says:

    I have head injuries
    & the other day someone
    remarked I looked
    like a scientist from
    Planet of the Apes
    but I dont like starbucks
    or phish or frisbee
    or causes
    but even after all the comments
    and ponderings
    I kept thinking
    how Erika Rae once told me
    I reminded her of barbecues
    with summer doors open
    & though I have no children
    I can see her out there
    snatching up my
    curly-headed baby
    & holding
    her to her
    breast.
    Imagine saying
    you have fed upon the milk
    of your mother’s friend.

    I will see this in my mind
    all day.

    Psalm 2:
    God sits in the heavens & laughs.

  27. 1159 says:

    Rich was getting
    very Gruber
    on that cowbell

  28. Simon Smithson says:

    I totally respect any hippies that totally commit to the lifestyle, and snicker at any who talk about how good they are at being hippies while wearing fabrics made in Taiwan.

    Have you ever watched Always Sunny, Erika Rae?

    a monster named Brian drank all of the maple syrup in the pantry.

    Fucking Brian. It was him that turned on that light switch that was still on in the morning in the cabin. I swear to God. I hate that guy.

    But! Zara found a ring on the mean streets of LA and gave it to me. Took it to a jeweller, found it was worth a sweet four hundred bucks. So you never know…

    • Judy Prince says:

      I think that’s my ring, Simon. Is it inscribed with “Dental Hygiene” on one side of the diamond settings and “ODU 2003” on the other side?

    • Erika Rae says:

      Simon, clearly you have the Fates on your side. $400? Will you kindly come back here and take up a shovel. If there is a diamond here, you will find it. Wait a minute. Did you say that Zara found it? Nevermind. I’ll let you take it to the appraiser (Andrew), though.

      I’ve never seen Always Sunny, but I hear it’s great. Is there a monster named Brian on there?

      • Zara Potts says:

        The magic ring!! The universe ring!

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Hey, what? Son of a bitch… I commented on you, Erika’s Piece!

          Rassumfrassumrassumfrassum….

        • Simon Smithson says:

          What I said originally was:

          – you have my permission for Zara to dig all over your property.
          – no, there is not, but there is a monster named Dennis.
          – in one episode, he gets punked by some hippies. Hilarity ensues.

  29. I think you’re very much onto something about being a hippy being hard work, girl. Especially since these days, hippies also have to be really hardcore environmentalists in order to credibly bear the moniker, and so, like, make all their own cleaning fluids, have a year-round vegetable garden, compost with worms, make art and clothing out of recycled materials, convert their homes to use solar energy and so on . . . they are pretty damn busy while not going to the gym or lounging around the local Starbucks. In fairness, if I were busy doing any of that shit (sometimes I’m busy feeling GUILTY about not doing it, but I’m still not actually doing it), I would not have time to shower or tweeze either.

    I kind of love hippies.

    I know they can be sanctimonious and annoying. And I have experienced the B.O. factor pretty heavily during my grad school days, when forced to sit next to some of them in critical theory seminars or writing workshops.

    Still. They are “charming,” to use Zara and Simon’s word. If I see them out and about, I always feel like they would be the first person I’d ask for directions or to make change for a meter. They are always kind of kumbaya friendly and kind, even in the flush late-90s when I was running around carrying a Prada handbag like a pratt.

    I used to want to be a hippy, but the closest I ever really came was going to college at U-W-Madison, wearing tie-dye, and smoking a lot of weed, sometimes WHILE wearing the tie-dye. That was about it.

    Well, and squatting in London. Does that count? Or is that more just being a degenerate?

  30. I escaped the hippies but just barely. I was a kid of the sixties and a teen of the seventies. To say Donna Summer saved me from myself might be a tad dramatic…. but she did in a way when I went off to college in Atlanta to the blaring background of disco. The south west Florida of my youth provided more of a chance to be crunchy. I wore tapestry skirts and dresses, woven bits of string around my wrists and hair, scooped peanut butter out of the barrel at the health food store with jars I brought from home and went everywhere barefoot. This was during the period where my mother was pretending she wasn’t born and raised in Manhattan. By the eighties we had all come full circle. Still, it’s funny now to see the dreads on the great unwashed and the tapestries and the hippy attitude that one seems to acquire instead of evolve as if it were a choice. Makes me wonder — have the “hipsters” just taken “hippies” to a whole other level?

  31. Enlever rayure…

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  32. Marni Grossman says:

    “I have eyebrows. I mean, I have eyebrows. And those little strays that sometimes pop out on my chin. Let’s just say that I am no stranger to tweezers and if I let my eyebrows unfurl across my face like a barbarian nautical flag, I’m just not sure I would be…OK…anymore.”

    I too have eyebrows, Erika. I feel you.

    Hilarious, as always.

  33. Jen P says:

    You crack me up lady!
    Love it!

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