I need help with a prejudice, I think. But don't get your shorts in a bunch. I'm not talking "isms." I don't care what color you are, or what party of the globe your ancestors came from. My prejudice isn't that deep. Besides, generally speaking I love everybody, like a rotund kid loves cake.
Almost everybody. Everybody except hippies. I can't explain why I haven't been able to overcome my lifelong disdain of them. But in the past two days I've had two negative hippie encounters, which lead me to believe I need to go to a camp to learn to be at peace with hippies, or something.
I'll tell you what it is, I think: I love the earth, and I love animals too. But every hippie I've ever met, like most political pundits I've met, can't seem to make a point without taking it to a ridiculous extreme, or without coming off as smug and self-righteous. And that, my friends, is a turnoff and never wins anyone over to your point of view.
Case in point: I met this morning's hippie, while sitting at a coffee stand near the Herald, waiting for a source to show up. She sat down across from me, facing me, but at the next table over.
I smiled and said hello and then quickly went back to my paper and my coffee.
That would have been fine. Peaceful. Pleasant.
But then she had to start talking. First, she commented on the I.D. hanging around my neck.
Her: You a journalist?
Her: You know about the Illumminati?
Me: I think my grandfather once test drove one.
Her: No, I mean the secret global government that is using the media to take over the world.
Me: Sorry, I was thinking of Maserati.
Her: Well, whether you realize it or not you're probably a part of their plan.
Me: They'd better keep paying me on time, or I'll expose them.
Her: It isn't funny.
Me: I'm sorry, but I don't know you. I didn't mean to offend you. But we went from hello to you telling me I'm helping bring down the world. Tell you what, I'll just finish my coffee.
Her: Is that coffee fair trade?
Me: I didn't ask.
Her: You should have. Did you know that lots of countries that produce coffee beans force kids into slave labor to make coffee for people like you?
Me: Thirsty, sleepy people?
Her: No, ignorant consumers.
Me: I see. I'm contributing to slavery...maybe. How ironic. I think I'm going to keep sipping and reading.
Her: And some companies that import pre-ground beans accidentally grind up small animals. It can be cruel, you know.
Me: So my coffee has meat in it?
Her: Nice suit.
Me: Thanks. Let me guess. A kid named Pavel who lives in a hovel made this suit for 15 cents?
Her: No, just nice suit.
Me: Thank you. Nice t-shirt. I notice you have lots of drawings on it.
Her: Yeah, this one is my protest to the Christians who think they're going to take over the world. Some historical texts suggest that Jesus didn't even exist.
Me: I thought the Illuminati was taking over.
Her: They are, too. And this is one I drew to say death to the Nazis, man. Nazis would have never let us sit here and have this conversation.
Me: True. We probably couldn't have talked. That would have sucked. What's that one about?
Her: Oh, that one's my protest against capitalism. It's hurting the planet, man.
Me: Oh? You have a suitcase with you. Traveling?
Me: Where to?
Me: Expensive trip.
Her: My folks helped with the ticket.
Me: They bought it then?
Her: Yeah, something like that.
Me: So they have jobs?
Me: In this country?
Me: Then they're capitalists?
Her: I could see how you might think that.
Me, as I stand and walk away: This has been real. I think I hear my boss calling me.
Her, to my back: Don't let the powers use you, man!
Me: What does that even mean?
Her: It means the world is ours, man. Don't let them take it from you.
Me: The world is yours? You've been watching Scarface.
Me, to myself as I pick up the pace: stupid hippies.