I have coined a new term – a label if you will – for people like me, of which there seem to be many in Squamish.
We are “rippies,” redneck hippies.
(I toyed with “hippnecks” and “redpies,” but those labels just didn’t have the same ring to them.)
The hippie part of being a rippie is simple: For my part, I recycle obsessively, love shopping vintage and thrift stores, and have raised my kids for the most part sans clothes and rules. “Live and let live” is my mantra.
And yet, on reflection I’ve got some redneck tendencies – though not the racist, sexist, Christmas-lights-still-up-in-August kind of tendencies. OK, that one year, the lights stayed up all year, but whatever.
By redneck I mean I love me some country music, am proud of my forestry-worker heritage, love to fish and to go four-by-fouring in my winch-laden Jeep, roof off, cheap sunglasses on, sons bouncing around in the back as they cheer, holding onto the roll bar.
Squamish has a lot of awesome four-by-fouring options. Forest service roads are a family favourite.
There is something special about nature and machine combining, taking us through massive puddles and mud bogs, over boulders and precarious bridges. We cut through the clouds and find snow – or at least chillier air. We get out to have lunch or a snack overlooking some beautiful vista. Of course, we tread lightly; we stay on previously cleared paths, respect wildlife and take out whatever we bring in.
I think the key to being a rippie is understanding that is what we are. Too often we can be overtly hypocritical. We chastise each other, especially online, for failing to be perfectly one way or another. The anti-liquefied natural gas protester, for example, who drives to the protest in a gas-guzzling vehicle; the pro-lng person who bemoans a new development on her block because it changes the character of the neighbourhood.
We are all a mishmash of values and beliefs and contradictions, and that is OK, as long as we know what we are and keep our judgment of others in check. This rippie, for one, will try.
Now for those “ricpoos” – rich people who act poor – I guess I will save those for another column.