- The tent is too damn high: Camping comes to the city (PDF)
- Nation’s Largest Homeless Encampment, “The Jungle … (OnLine)
- Neighbors unnerved by new Seattle homeless camp (OnLine)
Millions of folks who live in cities and suburbs have camped outside in the backyard at least once in their lives. From time-to-time families grab up the kids and bundle them into the family station wagon (or for today’s kids it would be the mini-van or even an SUV) and head off to ‘the woods‘.
It can be fun because well, you get to go outside for an evening or two and have a camp fire where you roast: marshmallows, hotdogs on sticks, and heat up hot water for cocoa or coffee. Great fun!
But did you know that hipsters are cooler than you are? They entitle their activity as ‘Camping Comes to the City!‘ They climb to the rooftops of buildings and unfold $300 tents, along with $50 burners and of course bottles of beer and ‘rough it‘.
But the funny thing is these are the folks who are ‘green‘. So why not ditch the expensive tents and the trendy burners and bring up tiny Weber Grills and charcoal and save the planet?
Then I got to realizing that when you are a hipster you have a vehicle for turning the mundane into something extraordinary. You have Grist.
The ‘Homeless’ Need Grist
Well they need Grist to publicize (and romanticize) what they do to survive but most of all they need rooftops.
Now I wonder aloud whether all of the things that the homeless do has ever crossed the minds of the Grist folks as ‘trendy‘? Did it ever occur to anyone there that this ‘trend‘ is well, lame? It kind of shows the degree to which hipsters are self-conscious in every aspect of their lives.
They probably do not ride bikes for mere transportation, but more likely to ‘make a statement‘. Undocumented aliens have been bicycling to work for decades all over the country. But no one ever thought about installing Protected Bike Lanes for their benefit.
Instead these same hipsters have made a fetish of ridiculing their practice of ‘riding against traffic‘. But in true hipster fashion, you have to glamorize everything you do, so you give it a name. You call it ‘salmon-ing‘. And you get the guys over at StreetsBlog to write about how these people-of-color are ruining it for those of us who are ‘cool and trendy and show up for all the photo-ops you can eat’. And of course we have ChainLink discussions ad nauseam about how these folks are the good name of cyclists who really matter.
And then after we have managed to exhaust the topic for today (of course really it just means that some of us have to run out and buy some beer before continuing with the next round of criticism of the underclass in cycling) we turn to that most worthy of activities (alongside ‘urban camping‘), riding in the monthly Critical Mass Rides.
But of course anyone who has ever attended one of these debacles knows that when it comes to ‘salmon-ing‘ only a hipster in a band of 1,000 others like him can do it with panache. And it is not just a matter of riding the ‘wrong way‘ in those bike lanes, we manage to take over the on-coming traffic lane on two way streets and block traffic for miles!
Ah, the joys of being above the law and trendy in the same moment!
What I Could Really Respect
Why not have the hipster trend of ‘urban camping‘ evolve into ‘underpass parties‘? You could I am sure find some really high-tech cardboard boxes that insulate quite well to sleep on. And instead of those expensive tents you could just use old blankets and discarded fabric. And as for cooking out, all you need is a pair of matches and some newspapers to kindle the wood from a palette.
In fact you could invite the folks who are not living outdoors for the purpose of trendy ‘urban jungle‘ magazine pieces to join you. Only this time you would probably want to drink cheap wine from a dirty bottle. And in the mornings instead of returning to your heated apartments you could bike over to the local gas station and take a shower in a sink. And then to really prove how ‘green‘ you are trying doing this for the next 365 days, summer and winter!
Yeah, now that sort of thing I could really respect.