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Dear hippie who just got on the bus

 

Dear Hippie Who Just Got On The Bus and Sat Down Next To Me,

It may come as a surprise to you, but not all people share your "live and let live" attitude concerning, among other things, hygiene, personal space and recreational chemical preference. I understand that you have your lifestyle and I have mine, and that they need not influence one another or even interact on the most basic level. There's certainly plenty of room in this world for the both of us but, as the co-mingling of our sweat on this unseasonably hot day can attest, the same cannot be said for this bus.

Let's be perfectly honest here: You and I are so classically opposed, culturally speaking, that it's as if our sitting next to one another on this bus was a planned message about the variety in American society. Except that it isn't intentional, at least not on my part. I am not a willing participant in what is possibly your latest attempt at socio-political demonstration. Of the many open seats on the bus, you, the psychedelic color wearing hippie, decided to sit in the one next to the short-haired guy in a suit. This leaves us with two general conclusions. Either you sat here on purpose just to make me uncomfortable or you are woefully oblivious to social convention.

That may seem like a harsh assessment, but perhaps I'm just driven to a state of visible irritation by your pungent aroma. Having acquired a nose capable of picking out subtleties in wine because the intoxicating chemicals I enjoy don't pervade the room when I consume them (a habit you might consider adopting), I can detect a heady effluvium of cheap incense, ditch weed, the unique signature of human body odor's multi-note esters, and a unifying thread of stale air likely to have come from a house or apartment where the windows are never open. I cannot say for certain why exactly you have avoided regular bathing like a normal person. Maybe you have quasi-religious beliefs about the purity of dirt, maybe you're making a political statement I couldn't begin to comprehend, maybe your chemical habits have caused you to lose both your sense of time and your sense of smell, but most likely you're just careless and lazy.

Would it be presumptuous of me to ask if you're high this very moment? I'm just curious because you're smiling vacantly and humming to yourself just loud enough for it to be disturbing but not loud enough that anyone will say anything. I'm concerned not because I harbor some kind of Reefer Madness inspired fear of violent, erratic behavior in habitual herb smokers but because I lack the strength and bad manners required to push your girth out of the way when my stop comes up and you're inevitably too stoned to notice.

I know that you must feel as revolted by my identity as I feel about yours, otherwise you wouldn't go to such trouble to live a lifestyle that is diametrically opposed to my own, but there's a fundamental difference in how you and I fit in society that I believe puts me in the right. Whereas you ostensibly stand for freedom, expression and love, I recognize that it's not my place to force my lifestyle on other people. I choose sobriety, responsibility and civility because I accept that I am but an individual in a world I must share with billions of other individuals, the vast majority of whom would rather not smell, touch or otherwise interact with me. I feel my contempt for you is justified not just because you're making my day worse but because you stand for a philosophy that regularly makes other people's days worse.

Sincerely and uncomfortably,

-The Guy Sitting Next To You On The Bus