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The park through which my wife and I run is infested with migrant bands of hippies, which rove aimlessly about, occasionally stopping to play Frisbee or jam on the bongos. As a graduate of Evergreen State College, I can spot a hippie at 300 yards, and did so tonight as we jogged down the lower path. This particular guy was unusual in one respect: he was by himself. Hippies tend to be a gregarious breed, and spotting one sitting alone on a bench is not a common sight. But in all other ways he was typical: he was clad in a Rastafarian cap and hemp-intensive clothing, he had dreadlocks and a faux-Guatemalan satchel.

As we approached, I saw him looking around warily, and then rooting around in his bag. He finally pulled out some small, plastic-and-metal object -- I couldn't really see what it was because he was blocking the sight of it with his body. He fiddled around with the object for a moment, all while casting furtive glances over his shoulder, and then brought it to his mouth as he turned his back to the path to hide what he was doing.

But we could still hear him. As we ran by he said "Hey, it's Joel. Can you hear me? I'm on my cell phone."

Posted on April 02, 2002 to Storytelling