June 27, 2011 11 Comments
I thought I wouldn’t have a problem living with hippies. I was wrong about that.
I only moved in with them out of desperation. Trying to find a long-term place to live in Australia while I was still in China proved to be almost impossible, and in the end the only thing I was able to get was a one-month stay where I was taking the room of a guy who was going on vacation. And I only got it by lying.
We had a house interview over Skype, and one of the questions the girl asked me, in her perky Australian accent, was “What’s your favorite vegetarian meal to cook?” I told her it was eggplant risotto.
That was a lie. I’ve never cooked eggplant risotto in my life. In fact, I’ve never cooked anything with eggplant in it. I don’t even like eggplant. But I figured since I’ve never cooked any vegetarian meal in my life, my ‘favorite’ one was kind of an arbitrary distinction.
Still, I just sort of assumed I’d adapt and get into the swing of things once I moved in. I didn’t. Yes, I understand the concept of communal living, but I just couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. I always felt guilty when I was digging into food that I didn’t buy, and they often wouldn’t eat the food I bought because it wasn’t organic enough, or something.
There was one point where we all went to this big outdoor market to buy fresh produce and whatnot. I figured I’d buy some milk and eggs and other staple foods that someone besides me was likely to eat, and my housemate helpfully pointed out where the eggs were. Sure enough, there were stacked cartons of free-range, organic, carefree-chickens-who-live-full-happy-lives, eggs.
For $12 a carton.
Fuck that. I mean, I don’t want chickens to suffer unnecessarily (as much as they’re capable of ‘suffering’ with a brain the size of a raisin), but I’m not paying $12 for eggs. And that’s Australian dollars too, which is like….something more than $12…..in American money. For that much the chickens should be coming to my house and clucking out the national anthem while laying the eggs directly into the frying pan and then turning around and picking out the eggshells with their beaks.
Which, to be fair, would be pretty awesome. Hell I’d even pay as much as $13 for that.
Seriously though, we had a party my first Friday in Melbourne, and my housemate made vegetarian Mexican food. Which was pretty good for the most part, but it seemed like every hippy had some kind of food allergy or aversion. So we had to have regular and rennin-free cheese, regular and gluten-free tortillas, guacamole with and without garlic and onions, and so on. And the funniest part? At one point they started talking about how when they went on vacation and could no longer force everyone to cater to their whims, their allergies ‘mysteriously disappeared’.
And that, pretty much, is why I hate hippies.
Well, maybe ‘hate’ is too strong a word. And my housemates were both really, really cool. Both continued to share their food with me even though I never cooked (well, I cooked once, risotto sans eggplant), and I tried to do the dishes as much as possible to make up for it. Still, despite my efforts it was pretty obvious I didn’t fit in with the dynamic of the house at all.
Thankfully, I moved to a new place. I’m now living with Indian guys, and it’s fucking awesome. I get along with them really well, I can buy whatever food I want and not worry about it, and I don’t feel like I have to ‘fit in’ with their lifestyle or anything. One of the guys cooked dinner for me—a wonderful chicken curry—so I’m going to cook Mexican food for him one of these nights. And the thing is, it’s cool because I actually want to do it, rather than feeling like I’m obligated to do it because I’m living in a hippy house.
Plus it was like $585 a month. Here it’s only $300. That’s like $285 more of beer money per month!