06 December 2006

Abby and the Hippies

I promised a story about Oregon, didn't I?

Years ago, in the days before Mr. Abby, I had a long distance "thing" with a guy we'll just call the Sailor. He was in the Navy on a ship out of Everett, WA, and I was on Okinawa.

I said it was long-distance.

I was just past 21, and took a week or so of leave in the summer to fly to Washington. There, the Sailor pointed out that he had some hippie friends in Eugene and they'd invited him and me down for some event called the "Oregon Country Fair."

We rode the train from Seattle to Eugene (which was pretty - I recommend it most highly). We met up with the hippies and rode out to the Fair site with them (in their van - I'm not kidding). We'd camp there for a couple of days, the plan went.

Now, a little background about me, particularly at that point in my life. I probably qualify as a "conservative," but it's a stretch. Back in the late 90s, I was distinctly less so. I've never been a "peace and lover" flower-child type, but I'm pretty into everybody just doing their own groovy thing.

I was a little far to the left for most of the Marine Corps (my lack of a Rush Limbaugh quote tattoo on my ass leaves me left of most of the Corps), but I figured I could do the hippie fair thing.

Well, apparently two or three years in God's Beloved Corps had left me a little different than I was before. The hippies were all very nice, but they seemed like freakin' space aliens to me. The clothes were...well, hippie clothes. Not a big deal, I thought. I've got kind of a homeless park ranger thing going on, I can work with that. Well, no, Abby. You might be able to sleep in the dirt in your clothes for a couple days, but the Marine Corps has done something to your posture...

This was the hard part. I found that no matter where in this whole place I was, I felt like a damn federal agent or something. I could NOT find a suitable "hippie pose." I had very few just-standing-around poses in my inventory then, and they went something like this:

A - standing with my feet shoulder width apart and arms folded.
B - standing with my feet shoulder width apart and hands behind me
C - standing at the position of attention (feet together) with my hands in my pockets

That was about it. And I think they all went with a disapproving scowl. I felt like a fed, and the hippies looked at me like I was a fed.

So it was an uncomfortable couple of days. I'm not into pot, and if there's no marching, I'm not into drums. I don't get giant puppets on stilts, and I cannot function somewhere where there is no meat available in the food for sale. I finally managed to find beer, but it was some sort of homemade ginger atrocity that not even a young Marine on leave could choke down.

The only highlight was in the grounds itself. It's a beautiful location, and with any group slightly less over the top than the hippies, I think it would have been fabulous. They had the most wonderful communal showers I've ever visited (raised wooden decking, open air at the top, good pressure, warm, etc). The only downside was that it was co-ed communal showering with hippies.

Now if it had been co-ed communal showering with Marines, it would have been great. As it was, one naked experience with hairy, pudgy friendly people my parents' age and older was plenty. More than plenty, in fact.

So that was the Abby and Hippies in Oregon story. In the end, the Sailor and I parted ways on distinctly less-than-friendly terms, and I haven't been back to Oregon since then.

But if you're in the market for a big ol' Hippie Fair Good Time, the link to their site is below. Enjoy. And don't forget your shower shoes.

OK - I can't make the link work, so you'll just have to cut-and-paste.