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Peace. Love. Mope.

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While in the playground area of a fair in the back hills, I came across two women wearing boho apparel and flowers in their hair. Their conversation was slightly less hippie-dippy than their attire.

“You’re so-o-o-o skinny,” said the first lady

“No, you’re so skinny,” replied her friend.

“No, you are. I look like I’m five months pregnant.”

“Well, how far along are you now?”

“Only seven months.”

Then the ladies proceeded to talk about the diets they are on to stay skinny throughout their pregnancies.

I hate fake hippies.

The negativity. The entitlement. The affluence. The ignorance. The total and unabashed posing and self-importance. As if wearing a $200 flower crown magically transforms the person from who she truly is to an earth-loving, chakra-aligning, Zen-achieving sprite. There are many festivals that cater to the faux free spirit, and last weekend, I found myself at one of them.

I had read about the tiny community fair online. After pushing my son’s stroller up an incredibly steep dirt hill, I wiped sweat from my brow and looked down on a small canyon lined with tents and a stage.

Glee. Glee is what I felt. It looked like the markets I used to attend weekly in Australia. I love real hippies. I come from their stock, and though I don’t live as one — nor do I pretend to — I enjoy bearing witness to it, experiencing that world and magic firsthand, if only for a little bit. Down in the canyon, I expected to find kooky craftsmen and ladies lost in song. I expected stoners and old folks with amazing stories. I expected beautiful young people and vegans and naturists. I expected shoppers. And sellers. And musicians. And poets. And dreamers.

I was wrong. Rather than lovers, there was petty one-upmanship. Rather than hemp dresses, there was haute couture. Rather than potheads, I’m pretty sure everyone was on crystal meth. With real crystals in them. Like, basically blood diamond meth. A drunk woman stumbled up to my toddler and asked to pick him up.

When he hid behind my legs, she slurred, “Is he stupid? Your kid will never be a model!”

John and Yoko would be so proud.

That’s not to say the festival was void of any authenticity. My son and I listened to wonderful live music while we sipped on coconuts, our feet bare in the grass. There was a smattering of those hairy, beautiful bohemians I love, and there were a decent number of folks who came to enjoy the event without treating it like a costume party.

The danger with having two very different groups of people with opposing ideologies pretending to be the same is that inevitably, one group begins to win out and influence the other.

After a few hours, my son and I had had enough, and we began the long and hot trek back to my car. My son was asleep and I was drenched in sweat by the time we reached it, only to find a police car’s lights whirling as a cop was writing me a parking ticket.

“Hey!” I yelled out. The cop looked up as I ran up to him. “Why are you writing me a ticket?”

“Because you’re parked directly under a ‘no parking’ sign,” the cop said, pointing to it.

Something came over me. I — who am always respectful, if not fearful, of cops — lost my cool. I could blame the heat. Or my fatigue. Or pregnancy. But it felt like something else entirely. I began arguing with the cop, giving a laundry list of overly entitled reasons I didn’t deserve the ticket despite my obvious negligence. Eventually, the cop took pity on me — or perhaps just tired of my tirade — and ripped up the ticket.

It was only then that I realized the car was not mine.

It didn’t even look like my car. The Lexus only shared a similar shade of gold as my Subaru, which was parked perfectly legally a few cars down. I looked at the Lexus parked under the “no parking” sign and shuddered. The festival of faux free spirits had rubbed off on me.

Mortified, I walked to my car and drove directly to get ice cream. At least I wouldn’t be influenced by the pregnancy diet.

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