Living With a Hippie

Abashed the Hippie stood, and felt how awful Responsibility is and saw Financial Stability in her shape how lovely; and pined his loss with a doobie.

Snippet  of the first drafts of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, after he presumably obtained a Flux Capacitor and travelled forward in time.

If you weren’t raised by hippies, living with one is going to happen at some point in your adult life – either as university housemates, post-uni, or maybe you’ll end up marrying one (perish the thought). And if you’ve had to endure all three, you can see that, as the burdens of responsibility start to become increasingly obvious to you (and only you) across these living situations, each one of these thus gets progressively worse.

Phase One – The Empathy Drain

Congratulations! You have just met a hippie. And by hippie, I mean someone who smokes weed all day, lives in very cheap housing and spends his considerable spare time looking up various whitebread slacktivist causes on the internet, but never actually doing anything to support them when good karmic thoughts sent through smoke signals via bong hits will suffice. Please note that these people are very different from actual hippies, who significantly helped drive labour, socio-economical and discriminatory progress in the last century. These people still exist today (myself included), but wouldn’t dare refer to themselves as hippies, for the same reason that no-one calls their kid Gaylord anymore. Which is a shame.

Anyway, your hippie, if urbanized, is likely to be a bitter, downtrodden, mewling runt of society whose character has been emboldened by the various struggles he’s had to overcome to be able to own his own glassblowing equipment. You will feel sorry for the fact that he’s had to live with a string of bad roommates, all of whom were stressed and were always whinging about money. Here’s a helpful translation if you are unable to force-feed your hippie truth serum:

Hippiespeak: My last roommate was constantly freaking out out of nowhere.

Reality: My last roommate got sick of me never cleaning up after myself and finding her half-empty shampoo bottles cut up and made into ghetto bongs.

Hippiespeak: My last roommate was always screaming and yelling about money.

Reality: My last roommate got sick of me not paying rent on time and never, ever paying the bills.

Hippiespeak: It got to the point where I feared for my safety and just had to bail.

Reality: It got to the point where she said she was going to call the police on me for doing drugs in the apartment and I can’t afford bail.

Because the hippie is so amiable, he will charm you into thinking that he’s the kind of guy who shambles around with a speech-impedimented Great Dane and will make you a nice big sandwich to calm you down when there’s a ghost running about terrorizing everybody. He will, of course, have excellent taste in music and will come up with ingenious ways to spruce up a box of Ramen Noodles with very little notice, but don’t let that sway you.

Phase Two – Minor Annoyances

At this point, you will be less laughing about your hippie’s musings over the amount of lentils he’s ever eaten, and instead more feeling the annoyance of hearing trumpet-ing lentil farts whenever the hippie moves. The farts can be amplified in both sound and frequency depending on the stress level of the hippie, which, in a hippie’s case, can only be brought on by the lack of weed-smoking. While it’s been proven that marijuana does indeed aid stress, it can also induce states of paranoia and irritability in someone who smokes it almost non-stop, all day, every day, and develops a psychological dependency on it, and who was already fucking bonkers in the first place.

You will start to notice that things like the trash bag, which you might have meant to take out earlier, has somehow given birth to five or six small plastic carrier bags full of empty Doritos packets, congealed lumps of forgotten ice cream and several of your safety pins coated with pipe resin. The novelty of living with a hippie is starting to wear thin, and his ability to flawlessly recite the golden roles of pothead etiquette is no longer the impressive feat it once was. You will also start to find his long, luxurious, hippie hair all over everything.

Phase Three – Speaking in Tropes

The hippie is now starting to get comfortable, bordering on “useless squatter” territory, and whether or not he’s on your lease/mortgage (lol mortgage), he’s been living there long enough to establish residency, meaning you would have to spend time and money in court (and even involve your landlord) to get him removed. Guns are legal in the US, and even though I don’t personally condone owning one, you could just lie and say you have one, stick your hand in your pocket Field-of-Dreams style and that might get him to clear off, because all hippies are allergic to firearms (myself included).

In all seriousness, though, you are stuck with him, and you will start to find yourself spouting cliches like “Get a damn job!” and yelling at him to register to vote instead of just bitching about the lack of the country’s marijuana reformation laws and the outrageous price of granola bars. Absolutely nothing is getting done, and because you’ve let him live there so long, he is not going to care about having to appease you anymore. All of his filthy, lazy, selfish habits will start to present themselves, and if he hasn’t got a job, the weed-less freakouts will continue. Luckily for you, you have a job that gets you out of the house in the mornings, which is when the withdrawal-panic-attacks tend to come on.

Phase Four – “Are You Using That?”

At this point, the hippie has become a burden. You are no longer buying groceries, because all the good stuff will be eaten by the hippie in less than a week. Every single one of the microwave meals will go first, along with all the cans of soda, the bags of crisps and any non-black tea you have (no matter how good of an Assam it may be). I once bought five tubs of ice cream and they were gone in less than a week. You are going to start eating out of the house, buying single-portion-only food, and you will not be buying any six-packs of beer, because if you are a one-every-couple-of-days drinker, you’re essentially buying one beer for yourself, and the other five for your hippie. Everything is up for grabs, even your deodorant, and even if you are of the opposite sex to your hippie. The hippie’s existence is subsidized by the generosity of others, but to him, it’s a sense of community (however entitled). This philosophy can also be extended to justifying shoplifting Sharpie pens from Big Evil Corporate Stores like Walgreens.

An aside – the hippie zookeeper fail

A hippie will dispose of a spider by trapping it in a tupperware box, then naming it and forgetting to take it outside for a few days.

If the hippie didn’t have pets before he moved in, he will have now. You’ll realize it when your entire apartment starts reeking of unchanged cat litter, and when you’ll have to throw out all of your suede shoes because one of the incontinent cats he “rescued” can’t stop pissing all over your things. The hippie, even though he is incapable of maintaining his own hygiene (think once-every-tw0-months-showers), will insist that the stench of six-week cat litter in a single box shared by three warring cats is all in your head, and the anguished yelps of a tiny cat as a larger cat pins her down and bites her neck/rips out her fur is not worrying fighting, but “playing”/”establishing dominance”. The hippie will helpfully remind you that he is capable of spiritually connecting with the animals, so you have no idea what you’re talking about when you’re pointing to two old, dried-up piles of cat vomit and asking him to clean it up.

Phase Five – If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…

It’s both legally and morally wrong to beat someone, including a hippie, so if you can’t politely get him to bugger off, and you’re not friends with any seven-foot-tall lawyers, then you are just going to have to live with it. Learn to savour the ripe, nose-burning smell of two-month-old cat poop. Throw caution to the wind by accepting that your smoke alarms will never be active in his bedroom, and use the extra batteries for the second Wii remote you’ll have to buy (all hippies love video games). Appreciate the mingling menagerie of scents of nag champa incense, days-old bong smoke and patchoulied-armpit. Teach yourself to distinguish between the pungent odor of expensive weed and the frantic emissions of a terrified, cornered skunk trying to get away from a hippie trying to hug it, and just learn to love both anyway. You and the hippie are in for a long road together, or at least until you can tell him that you’re both moving to a new apartment, pack up all of yours and his stuff, and then forget to give him the keys.

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