Filling Your Niche

Dilemma of the practical hippie

I took my youngest niece to baby yoga the other day. I’ve never been to baby yoga before, and wasn’t sure what to expect. Well, other than a pile of concentrated cuteness in a single area.

I felt reassured when the gal next to me deposited a cute baby with a little bead necklace on. Baby accessories are a good sign no one’s too serious about this, I thought. Whew. Because some people do take this kind of thing very, very seriously and those people make me uncomfortable.

Some other moms show up with cute babies of their own. We all make polite chit chat. Another mom says to the gal next to me, “Oh, look at your daughter’s cute necklace! Is it amber? Is she teething?”

As my brain struggled to connect those seeming non sequiturs, the other mom answered.

“Yeah, the amber is supposed to absorb all the pain from the teething. I don’t think it’s even working,” she adds in a tone that implies it is the fault of those particular beads, and not the total bullshit idea of amber absorbing pain that is responsible for her baby’s ongoing teething pain.

My niece and I look at each other; she grins and makes a fast crawl for the door. I appreciate her instincts.

My problem with yoga, as with most of the rest of life, is that I’m not quite part of the tribe. I am somewhere still on the fence, a fence I’ve dubbed “The Practical Hippie.”

I am hippie enough to practice yoga, but I think chanting om before class is weird and I don’t want to talk about my chakras. Also, you don’t sweat out toxins. Please stop saying that.

I am hippie enough to be pretty anal about recycling and buy mostly organic fruits and veggies. I am practical enough to realize that the organic equivalents of fruit roll-ups and potato chips are a huge, stupid waste of money and that organics in general are a racket of a different kind. So the practical me keeps my organic buying pretty much to the dirty dozen, and gets sloppy about the rest.

I am hippie enough to support buying local meat, but not hippie enough to give up meat entirely. And I prefer buying local in general… unless I can buy it on Amazon for half the price.

I wear hippie deodorant because I am not hippie enough to not wear deodorant. Also I use actual shampoo and toothpaste. Although they are hippie brands, at least they’re a step up from baking soda. And I use real tampons instead of the Diva Cup, making me a very bad hippie indeed. But I compromise by buying all cotton tampons. (From Amazon instead of the local hippie store.)

Also, I don’t smoke pot, which is the hallmark of every good hippie; I can’t stand the smell of the stuff. I don’t like tie-dye. And I’ve never had dreadlocks, although sometimes I think about getting them. I like the conceptual idea behind those ‘coexist’ bumper stickers, but I’d never put one on my car.

I like the baseless optimism my husband brings to our marriage, much as I like the baseless optimism that hippies in general bring to the world.On the other hand, I married a hippie counterpart rather than a practical one. Turned out the practical fellows were… well, boring.

Why can’t we all just get along? Why can’t we give peace a chance? Why can’t we make love not war?

I’m just enough hippie to wish we could. I am just enough practical to realize the world doesn’t work that way.

Maarit • 07/01/2013


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