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Those Damn Californians

I’m sick of all this Baby Boomer crap, the endless articles and quotes from the likes of Christopher Hitchens telling me, who just turned 50, who I am, what I do, and what I’m like.

It may be perfectly true that many, maybe even the majority of my contemporaries were phony Peace and Love hippies in the 60s, disco idiots or Werner Erhard robots in the 70s and cocaine-sniffing, BMW-driving, “I want it all now” yuppies in the 80s. In the nineties I suppose these proto-Boomers must be driving Volvos or Broncos, going to brightly lit 12-step meetings in “good” neighborhoods and investing in real estate while putting aside a few hours now and then to spend Quality Time perhaps watching PBS, with their families. I don’t know about this because I was never able to relate to people like that. To me they were always just phonies.

What about all this money I’m supposed to have? I’ve never paid a cent of income tax, never filed. That sounds good — like I got away with something — but in fact I’ve never made the minimum amount of money to file. No checks, no credit cards. No stock portfolio, no IRA, no CD, no CD player, no Web Site. When asked if I’m on the Internet, my usual response is, “No, I’m actually living.”

My clothes still come from thrift stores and I still exist day-to-day, week-to-week, doing whatever it takes. There will be no moment when I’m suddenly “retired” and start going to all the tourist traps in an obscenely huge RV, towing the regular car behind, with the plastic motorboat next to the dish antenna on the roof. Look at the faces of the people in these monstrosities. If you see any that are actually having a good time, let me know, would you? All I see in them is Bitter Old Republicans.

Maybe the problem is that the people who write these “boomer” pieces are more like their supposed subjects than they’d care to admit, and haven’t been out to meet any real people. Or maybe the masses of boomers really do own expensive homes in boring, uptight suburbs, having chosen “careers” over personalities. Maybe, but it’s certainly not my world.

Here in the Seattle area, for the past eight or nine years, there’s been a whole lot of bitching and moaning about Those Damn Californians, and how they keep coming up here with their development schemes and plastic material values, ruining the place. This is the same as saying anybody 50 years old is a smug, self-indulgent yuppie. the same elements that “ruined” California are doing it here now, that’s all. It’s not about one’s place of origin, it’s about the mind, the consciousness. Some see life as a business opportunity, some see life as something to be lived. 

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