The Grateful Dead is back on tour. Not sure how that is happening, since inside my head the Dead died when Jerry went, but to each his own. I still enjoy listening to some Dead tunes on occasion, since inside my head–again–I am still the cool hippie chick with the tie-dye shirt and long stringy hair that went to the Dead shows back in the day. Then I realize I am fifty-something, not twenty-something, while I ice my bad knee and start to wonder if I’m still a hippie or not.
Sometimes it’s easy to spot an old hippie. Long, unkempt, frizzy gray hair in a ponytail and a tie-dye shirt are dead (pun intended) giveaways. Of course, these days that person could just as easily be on his way to a DMB or Jimmy Buffet concert. Or the Black Crowes, if they aren’t broken up this week. Or Phish. Is Phish even still out there?
Way back when, it was easy to spot the hippies by the bumper stickers–dancing bears, lightning skulls, rainbow colors. You know, while you were driving along listening to Don Henley singing about seeing a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac and swearing you would never be that person. Except you were listening to Don Henley so you were already halfway to being that person without realizing it.
Don Henley CD ownership aside (so sue me for loving End of the Innocence), I’ve always considered myself a hippie. Not a live-in-a-commune-and-make-my-own-soap hippie, but a hippie nonetheless. Until last week when my neighbor–fortyish, average Joe, college professor–pulled into his driveway blasting some Casey Jones and I thought, ‘’why the hell is Captain Normalcy listening to my hippie music?”
So today I ponder. Is it possible for one to be an old hippie if:
- You live in a neighborhood with an HOA?
- Your car has air conditioning?
- Your hemp shoes are made by Converse?
- You have dental insurance and a 401(k)?
- Your umbrella is not a hat? (Yep, bought one at the RFK show in ’95)
- Your dog went to puppy school?
- Your last road trip was to visit your in-laws?
- You don’t think Diet Coke will kill you?
- Your tie dye clothing is ancient history?
- You don’t know if Phish is still touring or even still a band?
This list could probably go on forever, but you get the idea. It looks a lot more like I’m a sellout than an old hippie. And yet…
I still believe one person can make a difference. I still believe we should be kind to each other (despite the contents of this blog). I still believe electricity is magic. I still believe in sharing. I still believe puppies make the world go round.
So I put on my brand-name sneakers and take my puppy-schooled (but still won’t heel) dog for a walk through our planned community while I listen to a little Touch of Gray, then come home and have an ice cold Diet Coke. And believe that I am an old hippie because life is short, and we should get to be whatever we want.
For Alm; you are missed.