Last night, I had the eeriest experience. My step-father came by my house to pick up his laptop, which had been on the fritz and which I'd fixed. He started telling his usual stories, about this band and that act and this piece of jewelry that he made. Great stories, as usual, but I was standing there and I just started to feel really creeped out. I was thinking, "I'm aspiring to be middle-class, and this old hippie is still kicking around like it's 1969. Bastard."
It took a lot of deconstructing to figure out that that was what I was thinking, this odd combination of jealousy and loathing at his relentlessly troubadorian existence, while I sit here in my cubicle in downtown Santa Fe in a pressed shirt more or less happy to be sound and safe with a decent wage, an opportunity to get off debt and "Get Ahead," whatever the hell that means.
This morning I thought about it some more, and for the first time in my life, I had a very clear glimpse of why people were just so damn freaked out by hippies back in the day. I felt the fear last night while dealing with my Dad, this odd recognition that while he had quite surely left the box a long long time ago, I was now spending a lot of my time trying to get inside it, and yet, there he was, like a specter of temptation, goading me to step inside the gaily painted beat-up jalopy of his wild and woolly existence, to follow him on a magic journey to where nothing mattered but discovery, kicks, and friendships with newly met strangers.