Over the years, my contempt for hippies has been a well documented fact. They are all around us and difficult to to avoid. My favorite coffee shop is located in the nexus of hippiedom unfortunately. It's an old school Italian place that serves up the city's best coffee. It is one of the last vestiges of once was a proud Italian neighborhood, until the freakos took over many years ago.
Coffee notwithstanding, the old world ambiance is alluring. I enjoy hearing the old Italian men argue, and I understand enough Italian to know what "petso di merda", "que cazzo" and " Stucazz" mean.
Cafe Roma had its moment in the sun a few years back, when talented musicians, artist and writers would congregate and exchange ideas. The cool cats have moved on and me and the old Italian guys, who have taken a shine to me and befriended me, are the only ones left. The one unifying factor that makes us bond, is the endless parade of goddam freaks that roll by on any given Saturday afternoon.
All the old guys smoke, and the draconian smoking laws that have been instituted in this city has by-passed this anachronistic place. The old men smoke their asses off on the well situated patio as they scowl and curse at the passing freaks.
Here's a cross-section of what can be observed from the relative detachment of that fenced in patio on any given Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
1. The weekly hare krishna parade.
They roll by every week or so around 3 or 4 o'clock. These converted hippies would find it sacriligeous to get up any earlier. I say converted, because these are hippies that have taken stinky hippie demeanor to a whole new level. You see, all those hare krishnas are white. Their half-hearted attempt at conversion has resulted in strange mixture of white robes, fleece jackets, boots and the haphazard assembly of of accordions, trumpets, bongos and one solitary pair of those finger cymbals that real krishnas use.
The old men shake their heads, while muttering "Stupido" or 'Strunz". The clamoring and shuffling robe-clad weirdos eventually make their way out of earshot, leaving us all to wonder what exactly they wanted. They weren't asking for money, so what altruistic motivation makes them walk up and down the street ?
2. VW Busses, Minga que petso di merda ( fuck what a piece of shit)
Hippies seem immune to the tired cliches that they continue to perpetuate. The one that gets to me the most, is their constant search for VW busses. Let's face it , these under-powered , air-cooled, no-catalytic converter modes of conveyances were pieces of shit when they came out decades ago. Now. they are just old pieces of shit.
Hippies actively seek out these vehicles, and some even deck them out with inept attempts of spray can paint jobs sporting asymmetrical peace signs. Any tool beyond the average 5 dollar rattle can is usually outside the hippie's purview . The copious quantities of pot smoking almost guarantee a total lack of dexterity or mechanical aptitude.
The hippie's propensity for making shit up as they go along doesn't seem to apply to mechanical devices. Their meager budget spent on pot, patchouli, various crystals and herbs claiming ersatz cures leaves them unable to afford a good VW mechanic.
They roll by spewing black smoke as their mis-firing 4 cylinder, air-cooled engines sputter, oblivious to the fact that they are causing more pollution than your average super-tanker. The irony is, course lost on them.
"Animali!" "Puzzo !"
3. Where the Fuck do you get those clothes?
Seriously now, hippies go out of their way to find some of the most outrageous rags. It all ends up looking contrived (which it is) . I have seen outfits that are difficult to put into words. Disheveled scrawny hippies mill about always speaking 10 decibels too loud to ensure that everyone hears their nonsensical and pretentious conversations. They revel in their mismatched socks, shapeless wool coverings and stupid hats. No hippie outfit is complete without the prerequisite ridiculous headgear.
Scarves, scarves and more scarves. The hotter the weather, the more scarves hippies will wrap around their necks. In the middle of summer , they will have three scarves wrapped around their necks with varying types of pretentious knots. It's almost, as it seems, that by tying said knots, that they think that it will elevate their intellect. Capes are also part of the uber-hippies accouterments. It's almost like it's straight out of Lord of The Rings. Can the hobbits be far behind?
Speaking in pretentious tones and adopting affectations are no substitute for actual knowledge. They will continue to spout their nonsense in sound levels about 10 Decibels too loud while looking around to ensure that people are hearing their ,what we call in Canada, horseshit. Their whiny voices and pointless conversations devoid of any content will only serve to anger the old Italian men even more.
"Va fan'culo!" They will shout, but all to no avail. As they finish their smokes, they will retreat into the back rooms to play some traditional Sicilian card games, argue about soccer, and brazenly shout for more espresso.
I will be there tomorrow to indulge in some excellent coffee as I hang out with my senior Italian friends and heartily agree with their observations and assessments.
Buonanotte from Caffe Roma