Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hardcore Hippy

People like me are not going to save the planet. I talk like an environmentalist but when push comes to shove I’m the first to run screaming for the last bottle of Exit Mould.

The woman who’s house I’ve rented for the holidays will save the planet – she has chickens, an alfalfa sprouter and lots of jars of fermenting miso paste in her fridge. She also has no television, no WiFi and most of her belongings are broken, possibly salvaged from a Macquarie Fields curb-side collection.

Money and physical possessions appear to be of little importance. Her towels are faded and threadbare, the decorations around her home consist of collapsed candles, moth-eaten feathers and bone-dry sticks of ancient lavender. As I walk from room to room taking in the interiors my one thought is: 'This shit is not on Pintrest'

The only child in me that knows my holiday is ruined goes into a sulk.

It is evident the woman does not wear deodorant, her bedroom – the room I am supposed to sleep in for 10 nights – smells like the unshaved armpit of a Bikram yoga instructor, her dresser looks like Beetlejuice’s graveyard. The beds are a watercolour of ancient stains – I feel like Gordon Ramsay in Hotel Hell inspecting the place with his UV light, except I’m not using a UV light.

I consider walking out of the house right there and then, I could calmly back out the way I came, silent as a cat burglar… The woman had left the house unlocked for us with the key beside a handwritten note on the dining table – she said in the years she’d lived in her unlocked house she had never been robbed.

‘That’s because there’s nothing to steal!’ the only child says.

This Shit is Not on Pintrest

No, there's only one crime that's been committed, and that is the gargantuan shitting on my holiday from a great height. And so I have the choice – to take it, or leave it. I roll up my sleeves and boil the kettle to start cleaning, angry that I'm having to put some hardcore hippy's house in order, angry that cockroaches are floating in the water when I pour it into the sink. I'm angry that I’m cleaning on my holiday and angry that I've been forced into buying stuff – an armoury of new towels, pillows and sheets that come out of plastic bags smelling like fresh formaldehyde.

I stew on the reviews I could write…
A great place to teach your kids about the lifecycle of insects – Exterminators delight!
Third World Reality Check.
BYO Blowtorch!
How Does A Hippy Clean the House? – She Opens the Window!

If only I’d rented this Roach Motel through AirBnB! But I didn’t, and the money’s probably long gone towards Steiner school fees, the hallmarks of which are dotted throughout the house – wax paper lanterns, 
carved wooden bowls and scribbly handwriting that looks like it was written with twigs dipped in ink. God knows, I want to love this woman’s principles, her quest to live a wholesome life, her defiant rejection of the poisons of modern society – money, television, deodorant, cockroach bombs…

But it's like riding a bicycle with flat tyres, it's just shit and depressing. 

On her bookshelf are dog-eared books on chanting and meditation – what luxury to just sit passively while all around the world dissolves into entropy! (Note to self: That's called a HOLIDAY and it's what I was supposed to be doing...) So she must be doing something right – positive visualisation for instance – because she visualised me, a person crazy enough to pay money to rent her property and then clean it for her!

In the end, once again, maybe I was too quick to condemn myself – maybe it's not just hardcore hippies that are going to save the planet, maybe I will too. 
When things get ugly I don’t turn away, I use my anger to make positive change, and I’m not afraid of getting my hands dirty. But... I'm still a little bit scared of roaches.

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