Saturday, August 29, 2009

How To Identify A Hippie/Hipster/Bike Messenger House

There is a strange new, more potently annoying, breed of hippies out there. It is an amalgam of three separate forms of hippies that have mutated into a kind of super-hippie. This new hybrid of urban hippies are far more insidious than your average hippie or old burn out. They crave attention and must be in your face at all times.

You might have seen them around town. Some ride clunky old " vintage" POS bikes with rattles and squeaks, others ride uber-hip fixed gear bikes with a Chrome brand courier bag draped over one shoulder. Most sport those ubiquitous wool caps hanging off the back of their heads. They have adopted a special way of holding their handle bars by turning their wrist around and holding the bars underneath. Some of the male hippies (for now) having taken to growing ironic mustaches, like those old pictures you see of wrestlers in the '20's.

Most sport those brightly coloured, over-sized cartoon glasses ( some without lenses !). They have those little, tiny U-locks jammed in their back pocket and one leg of their super tight skinny jeans rolled up real high. Some have even taken to whistling tunelessly while they ride just to increase the annoyance factor even further.

After a day of riding three a abreast on their shitty bikes, or suicidally weaving in and out of traffic on their fixies bringing envelopes to offices for 10 cents a piece, or after their monthly urban assault called Critical Mass, the rat-like hippies will be need a place to crash and smoke some hippie-crack with their 7 or more roommates : this is the hippie-house.

The urban hippie house is rarely found in the suburbs. They are usually deep in the inner city, or in 'hoods that are on the verge of being hip.

In places like NYC that don't have single houses in the inner city, the hippie house will be in a 6 floor walk-up in the Lower East side or parts of Brooklyn. Vancouver, being a much younger city, does have have brownstone type buildings. There are mostly single family houses that are rented out (not unlike Seattle). The absentee landlords are rarely in the Country and don't really care who lives there, making it a perfect breeding ground for the hippie house ( not unlike the cockroach nest).

My daily travels take me all over the city, including a lot of short cuts through alleys. The hippie houses are easy to spot. Like roadkill, you can see it and smell it from far away, and are often unable to avoid it until it's too late.

Here are a few guidelines. Hopefully this will help people who might unsuspectingly rent a house, only to find out later that have moved next to a hippie house and have to endure the ensuing misery that is sure to follow.

The Front.

From afar it may appear as just another house in a row of similar old character houses. As you approach you will see the difference. Crap. Crap everywhere. If there is one unifying trait of hippies worldwide, it is the accumulation of crap. I don't mean lots of stuff. I mean crap, just a lot of odds and ends, flotsam and jetsam, junk and plain ole shit.

It seems hippies suffer from some sort of materialism conundrum, they claim to eschew materialism, yet are insecure if they are not surrounded by mounds of stuff. The materialism ethic is pure bullshit because of all the hippie status symbols they acquire. (fixie bike= very expensive).

If the house has a porch, that too will be filled with crap. The front yard will be un-kept, because mowing a lawn would entail doing some actual work, anyways there is too much crap in the yard to maneuver a lawn mower around (although there always seems to be a busted lawn mower somewhere in the junk pile).

There always seems to inexplicably be a lot of suitcases in the junk pile. There are a lot of woven baskets, cause hippies just love baskets. Driftwood, tons of driftwood. The contents of the pile may vary from place, but they all have one item in common, pieces of driftwood.

Why driftwood you may ask? All hippies fancy themselves artists. Trite as that is, it is, in their mind, it's a cool thing to say. So they will sit on the porch, with all their charlatan friends. They will light up a big doobie and stare at the piece of driftwood for hours, contemplating what kind of sculpture it could be.

After they pass out and wake the next day, any creative urge that they may have had the night before is long gone. Making a sculpture would require having skill and using tools, neither of which hippies possess. It would also entail more actual work, anathema to the hippie.

Another prerequisite feature of the hippie porch is the ratty couch. Some weather-worn, bug infested couch that they probably dragged in from the alley. Some are partially burned from all the dropped doobies. Sometimes, one of their visiting hippie friends will crash on said couch.

Hippies seem to have an aversion to curtains, yet have to put something in the windows so that the sunlight won't wake them from their pot-induced stupor. There are several common items you will see in a hippie window. Bed sheets are the most common. They can be found in any local dumpster or alley and can be stapled very easily. The more mis-matched, the better.

The flag is another common one, the more obscure the better. Flags from South American countries are popular, mainly because hippies fondly think that they know how to speak Spanish ( when, in fact, they might know 3 or 4 words).

Posters are often put up in lieu of rags. Some the favorites are Che Guevara and Bob Marley.
The Marley one is obvious for it's pot connotations, even though they don't actually like Reggae music. The Che is one of the biggest cliches in hippie-dom, and most hippies would be a loss to explain why. They only mumble " he was great man, man..).

You might see the odd Johnny Cash poster. It has become hip in the past few years to dig Johnny. The hippies might own a copy of The Man Comes Around, but not much else. I have some Country music in my collection that would scare the shit out of hippies.

Hippies are known for their bad taste in music and they feel it necessary to impose it on the rest of the 'hood at all hours. They will blare some crappy techno or some other music that I have yet to identify. It will, of course be blared by a crappy stereo. Some shitty 40 year old Sansui receiver mated to some of those big '70s speakers with the fake wood finish. Since the speakers were found in alley, they will invariably be missing a woofer and rarely match. The receiver probably has one channel blown, so it doesn't really matter. They will sit on the porch and revel in their coolness amid the distortion and crappy music emanating from the Frankenstein-ed stereo.

Hippies seem to have this thing about shit from the '70s. The rallying cry of the hippie seems to be "it's vintage,man". They always call it vintage, when everybody else knows it's just 30 year old junk.

Amidst the junk, there is always, at all hours and at all times other hippies. Most hippies don't seem to have any discernible form of employment, so they have plenty of time to hang out and "dig the vibes, man". Like hobos, they will wander aimlessly from hippie house to hippie house and mooch pot, beer, wine, smokes and whatever else may be on hand. It's always party time at the hippie house.

A lot of hippies have dogs, so the yard will always have at least 3 scruffy dogs. Being force fed a diet of tofu and nuts, those poor mutts don't look too healthy. The hippies always seem to manage to get the dogs to crap on the neighbour's lawn.

The Back.

Most of these single family homes have a backyard. You can also identify the hippie house from the backyard. If you thought the front was bad, you will be astounded by the incredible amount of crap in the back.

The hippie's main forms of transportation is the bike and VW bus. Since there is always at least 8 people living in the hippie house, there will be at least 32 bikes in the backyard. There will be another 32 in various states of dis-repair. All the bikes are mainly crappy mountain bikes from the 80's and department store bikes from the 70's. There will be, literally, mounds of bike parts strewn everywhere, picked from alleys all across the 'hood, most of them useless. (remember, hippies can't resist junk).

It seems redundant to have so many bike parts, because hippies never repair anything, and are incapable even if they tried. They will go on riding those rattling, clunking old pieces of shit with rusty chains almost flat tires.

There is usually a VW bus up on blocks as well. Sometimes a spare motor will be next to it. It will usually be partially covered by one of those blue tarps and will probably stay there for decades to come. Some of the more clever hippies may actually get one on the road. They will cheerfully putter around the 'hood to the sound of grinding gears from missed shifts, all the while belching black smoke. This is the epitome of hypocrisy, those old VW's pollute about 10 times more than a modern car, yet they will go on about living green and berate anyone who has the audacity to paint something with a spray can.

There will also be various pieces of furniture (most of it broken), hundreds of plastic milk crates, a few cat carriers (usually moldy), mattresses with gross stains on them, broken hockey sticks, really old wooden ladders with rungs missing, various pieces of wood with peeling paint, old doors, and many other hippie-piles of junk that cannot be identified.

There is rarely a fence, but all the weeds and brush take care of that and keeps other hippies from raiding the hippie-piles.

The hippies never use the back yard. It is a designated storage facility for all the hippie-crap. Except for really cold days, the hippie's natural habitat is the front yard. They will retreat inside when it gets cold.

I have never entered a hippie house, nor do I ever intend to do so. I can only imagine what disgusting sights and smells await on the inside of the hippie house. I have, on occasion, witnessed the absolute hilarity of the hippie moving day.

Thirty or so of their hippie friends will show up. Not having enough sense to rent a large truck, a fleet of various forms of transportation, including wagons, shopping carts, bikes and Volvo station wagons, will be in front of the hippie house. They will be bumping into to each other and dropping stuff . Not having enough sense to get boxes, the hippies will carry all the items out of the house one by one.

The hippie move can take upwards of one week. The unbelievable amount of crap, ineptitude of hippie moving friends and frequent pot smoking breaks, make this more amusing than a three ring circus. They usually give up after an hour or two, and resume the next day.

The few of them who have a car will move the futons ( hippies don't usually have mattresses and if they do, it was found in the alley). Not having the tools or skills to take the futon apart, they will throw the futon and the futon base on the roof of the car. Not having any ropes or knowledge of knots, six hippies will pile into the car and hold onto the futon with their hands.

Some will use bikes to move. I swear I have seen this with my own eyes. An entire household moved on a bike. I saw 4 hippies that had loaded a very large chest of drawers on a bike and were pushing it down the sidewalk.

Once the hippie move is over, more hippies will move in. The previous hippie tenants most likely gave up half way through, too baked to care about the rest of their stuff, they just left it behind. This is perfect for the new hippie tenants because they have a lot of new crap and they won't have to do any dumpster diving for a while.

I hope this short guide has been of some help. When you are renting your next place keep this in mind and you can avoid having hippies for neighbours and possibly ending up in jail after you beat a few of them senseless.

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1 comment:

  1. whats the music that will scare the shit outta hippies? I need it