And I'm back home. The mailbox and in-basket are full, the bank account and fridge are empty, and there's a funny smell coming from next door, where hippies have moved in. I have dusty floors, dirty laundry, and bags under my eyes. Oh, with what bright excitement we start off on our travels, and how that excitement tarnishes and fades as the tour extends. Now, most of the time I enjoy being where I am, so that the strange landscape called Away-From-Home is continually interesting. But I miss my kids and friends (yes, that means you). So it's good to be back.
There's that smell again. Oh, those hippies. I wonder how they will compare to my old neighbours? In last year's place on the hill I found myself living beside folks who had no furnace or drier, who hung a Stars and Bars in a front window, played Waylon Jennings and Toby Keith, and called me Sir. Nice folks, you understand (except maybe for the Confederate flag), and their kid did a great job cutting my lawn, but we did not hang out together. Hippies will bring a different sensibility to my surroundings: more green than redneck, more bicycle than pick-up truck, more Dylan and more hemp. I never realized the potential in second-hand smoke. I may find a new, um, altitude affecting my writing.
Funny the way our sense of the hippy has evolved. With their acid flashbacks and their hair and their natural fibres, and their ongoing earnestness about social causes, they have become ... quaint. Whoever would have thought it? Put down the bong, hippy! says my daughter Imo when her big sister gets preaching about vegetarianism or true democracy. No longer a threat to social order, hippies are a sideshow, an amusing throwback to a simpler time. It is the ultimate put-down, really. People all over the world are fighting and dying in the name of their God -- but when was the last time anyone called on Odin or Zeus?
Gee, that got a bit deep, didn't it. I must have been inhaling. All I meant to talk about was weird stuff that happened on tour. One time I was talking to a big crowd of kids, and then from next door we heard the funniest thing. I'll tell more next time, okay? Now for some reason I'm suddenly really hungry.