Back in Kampung Bugis V and It’s Kind of Like a Hippie Day

Today has been one of those days when you don’t really know what day it is, what time it is nor do you care. It’s kind of like a hippie day.

Students of mine over the years have been fascinated to hear that I was a hippie once long ago. Partly I think it’s just because they can’t imagine me wearing clothes other than the ones that I wear to school everyday – six sets of clothes that I rotate religiously. Just recently when we were in Malang, and I showed up in the evening after having my mandi wearing a t-shirt, my students were shocked that I actually wear something other than a polo shirt and slacks or a short-sleeve button down dress shirt and slacks. So, the idea of me having long hair and beads just makes them all giggly.

So why is today like a hippie day besides time (a driving force for most of us, and certainly one for the international teacher)? Today is a special day for the Hindus of Bali – Kuningan – so most everything is closed and everybody is doing nothing special.

I’m sitting out on the balcony now, and I can see a few sampan out in the water with guys fishing, there are a few kids snorkeling poking around for fish and interesting shells, the women in the house have been cooking all day like the usually do but without the interruptions of taking kids to school and going to the market (although for my wife that is one of her favorite parts of the day).

I decided not to go snorkeling today and instead process all the photos that I’ve taken over the past week. But I didn’t get up until 8 and then checked on a movie download and email and finished up with a leisurely breakfast. I did some blogging and then edited a video of the Bali Sea that I uploaded to YouTube. I watched some more depressing news from America on CNN, and then spent most of the rest of the afternoon reading anthropology.

No banking , no tax forms to fill out, no thinking about all the financial things that continue to perplex and worry me. Just a day of doing what I want when I want and at the pace I want. Listening to Buffalo Springfield and CSN&Y. It could be 40 years ago except that I’m sitting on the balcony of my house in Bali.

And, I’ve been thinking about retirement again because…well, because it’s getting to be that time again (3rd times a charm, keep saying that) and because I read a post on a forum the other day by a guy who has been saying for years that he was going to retire and then did with the plan to move to Bali. After a month or so, he decided to go back to work basically because he was bored. I’m still trying to process that. I love teaching, but the one thing that I wasn’t during my five months of retirement was bored. I went back to work because I needed the relatively quick $35 grand.

It seems sad that people get so encased in their work that they can’t see another life out there with so much to do in one lifetime. So I’m back to the hippie theme again. One of the things that we believed in was that there was a life beyond work, even if it was just relaxing with friends, having some food together or a joint or two, watching the sunset or the sunrise, grooving on nature, exploring the city, making love, stopping the war. There was this incredible wealth of things (spiritual and profane) to do in the small amount of time that we had each day. As we grew up, most of us fell into the life of careers or jobs or gigs (as one of my friends used to call them) so that we could make money and buy things. I’ve bought plenty of things over the past 60 years. I fondly remember now the late George Carlin’s routine on “stuff.” When do you get enough stuff? We have rooms of stuff that no one uses anymore that we could have done without.

When I left my job with Freeport and ISS years ago, I had four rooms of books, records, art, clothes, furniture and other odds and ends of 40 years of life in the U.S.A. It was too expensive to ship over to Indonesia, so I gave it all up. My life didn’t change because of it; other than that I had less stuff to find a place for.

I can see that this is starting to be a ramble, but that’s one of those benefits to growing old – everybody expects you to start rambling and, while I have always been somewhat of a rambler, now I can do it in a culturally acceptable way.

So, maybe we weren’t so off the track when we were hippies, or maybe we were on another track that made more sense.

My son and his buddies

My son and his buddies


Today’s tropical sea item:
This is a photo of my son, Sam, and his buddies out snorkeling with me. No fish today.

Today’s anti-work quote:

“My job consists of basically masking my contempt for the assholes in charge, and, at least once a day, retiring to the men’s room so I can jerk off while I fantasize about a life that doesn’t so closely resemble Hell.”
—American Beauty, 1999

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~ by drbrucepk on March 30, 2009.

One Response to “Back in Kampung Bugis V and It’s Kind of Like a Hippie Day”

  1. Hey cool picture! I love the anti-work quote. How apt to our situation. Although I don’t find the energy or motivation to jerk off in the bathroom hehehehe

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