Thursday, January 7, 2010


Outside a natural foods store, a college student to her father: “Would I look like such a hippie if I ride my bike to the store?”

[No, you wouldn’t. The reason you’re asking this question, even in fun, is that like most young adults, you’re very much aware of how you might look — or how you imagine you might look — to other people. If you were to ride your bike to the store, you’d be getting a bit of exercise while saving non-renewable resources and money. If people were to notice you, I doubt they’d think “There goes that hippie.” More likely: “I should really ride my bike more often.” Or “Next time, I’m taking my bike.” Or “She’s got the right idea.” Or “It’s finally warming up; we should start biking.” So ride your bike, and take some pleasure in the possibility that your example might inspire others, if they’re even noticing.]

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comments: 3

Bardiac said...

Up here in serious snow country, we'd say, "wow, that person's brave and tough" with great admiration!

Daughter Number Three said...

The fear of being seen as a "hippie" is similar to the fear of being seen as a feminist. Interesting how two of the most transformative political movements of the 1960s have become near-expletives. Funny how the left is said to have all the verbal power (e.g., "political correctness").

Michael Leddy said...

Bardiac, this conversation must’ve been looking ahead, to the coming semester. Lots of snow now.

Daughter Number Three, thanks for pointing out what’s happened to the word “hippie” in that student’s question (and more generally). I was so attuned to the self-consciousness in the question that it didn’t occur to me to think “What if you did? What’s wrong with that?”