by Audrey Kearns, May 2012
There was a time in college where I considered myself a hippie. It seemed quite natural: I was all about peace and love and when I read, it was usually Vonnegut, Kesey, Burgess, Boroughs and the like. I was truly a peaceful and loving person so I didn’t feel I was trying too hard. I felt pretty comfortable with this persona. It felt more real than the last 4 personas I had in high school.
When I was a sophomore, I had a roommate named Danielle. Danielle and I lived in the student ghetto which was the coolest place to live if you were a hippie, liked hackey sack and enjoyed the smell of patchouli. Her boyfriend, Kurt, was a Deadhead and she was quickly following in his footsteps. She went from preppie to hippie in one semester flat. Danielle was crossing over to the Deadhead side faster than a hippie can roll a joint. I thought it was a fake transition myself. She went out, bought a bunch of tie-dye shirts and sandals, then voila! She made herself a hippie. I felt the difference between her and I was 1. She had expendable cash to do this and 2. My accouterments were real. They were hand-me-downs from my mother. I had dashikis from Africa, I had scarves from Africa, my beads and my tapestries were from Africa because I had lived in Africa when I was a kid. I was smelling incense when I came out of the womb. My John Lennon glasses were real prescription glasses because I was ridiculously near-sighted. So, of course, I felt she was trying too hard but whatever. Okay, not whatever but you should have seen my tapestries, REAL batik and tie-dye. Beautiful, beautiful cloths. They were totally hippie cool and did I mention REAL?
Now that Kurt and Danielle were full on hippies, I soon realized that were also full on crooks. On game days, when I say game days I mean Florida Gator Football days (which couldn’t have been more of a big deal at my university-I was living in the South after all), they would ingest mushrooms. Then they would find a random empty lot near the stadium, put up a homemade cardboard sign that read, “Parking $10.” They would direct unsuspecting fans into the lot, take the $10 bogus fee and when the game started, they would then take off with a pocket full of cash, tripping their asses off with no concern that these cars may get towed. Bad bad hippies.
One weekend Kurt and Danielle decided to go to a Rainbow Gathering. I’m sorry? You don’t know what a Rainbow Gathering is? Well, it’s when a bunch of hippies go camping, trip their asses off, and really really really enjoy the Universe and what the Universe gives them: Peace, love and understanding, which is why I thought it was weird that crooks like Kurt and Danielle felt they were a part of that gathering. Anyway, before the weekend, Kurt approaches me and says, and I will never forget this, he says verbatim: “Hey. We’re going to Rainbow Gathering this weekend. Can you watch my ferret?” Um. OK. He tells me that the ferret wasn’t house trained and that when I go over to his place I’d have to hunt for ferret poop around the house. I go over to his house and I do indeed have to hunt. There was ferret shit EVERYWHERE. I got a paper towel and started just picking poop up in every room and in every crevice. I went everywhere looking for ferret feces and that, my friends, is how I found out that Kurt was a pot dealer. So that happened.
Back to Danielle: she was a complete, gross slob. She left a trail of dirty dishes all over our apartment. Most of these dishes were coffee cups. At any given time, there were no less than 5 coffee cups with mold growing on the bottom. Although I respect mold growth patterns as physically interesting I also think mold growth by itself is physically revolting. To get the amount of mold growth that her dishes had took commitment. COMMITMENT! I was too stubborn to wash her dishes, so I would leave them where she left them – on various tables, sinks and floors around the house. I felt that, you know, as a human, she should wash her own dishes.
One day, I came home to my apartment from a long day of classes and there were just too many coffee cups and wine glasses all over the house. I snap. I couldn’t take it anymore. I grab all her moldy cups and dump them in a sink full of hot water. I clean out her rotting food from the fridge. I open the freezer and take out the glass that’s been in there forever with frozen wine at the bottom and into the hot sink it goes. After my frenzy, the dishes are done, fridge is clean and I have a mold-free apartment.
A couple of days after my cleaning binge Danielle calls me. Here’s our conversation:
She says, “Audrey, I need to know if you took a wine glass out of the freezer?” I immediately could tell something was wrong by her voice, so my immediate response was to, you know, lie.
I said, “Wine glass? Nope.”
“Are you sure Audrey?”
“Audrey, there was a glass in the freezer that is no longer there. I need to know what happened to it.”
“Sorry, didn’t see it.”
“Audrey! There was $400 dollars worth of liquid LSD in that glass that Kurt was going to sell.”
Pause. Long Pause. So very long.
“Um, I have no idea what you are talking about”
Needless to say, we soon weren’t roommates and I didn’t care to be a hippie anymore. My deadhead, con artist, drug dealing, ferret owning roommate and her boyfriend shattered the whole pureness of it. There was no peace, love and understanding to be found which was depressing. However, today, in the here and now, I still read a helluva lot, I still have tapestries hanging up, they are seriously beautiful. I still have beads and cool jewelry. I’m just no longer Audrey the Hippie anymore. I’m just Audrey. Sometimes, I’m Audrey the Tall Girl. (The latter one I don’t like but that’s for another blog entry). And I still believe in peace, love and understanding.
For you, the reader, I think the important take away from this story is: if you are going to put $400 worth of liquid acid in your girlfriend’s freezer, you might want to leave her roommate a note