Peace, love, iPod
Bell bottoms are back. But they aren't the only hippie essential around these days - 1970s fashion has been recycled along with its popular mindset.
Hippie-ism started to fade like a bad tie-dye at the tail end of last century. Then we focused on making money quickly. It was cool to own stocks and bonds, to build empires in grey suits and to have stress-related heart attacks. Now hipsters, ancestors of the hippie, are everywhere. The Bohemian has woken up from a 30-year slumber. But this time, dreadlocks and mind-evolving drugs are not a prerequisite.
From the soccer mom to the socialite, we all carry a bit of the inner hippie and the world is a better place for it.
Sit down at a dinner for five and no doubt there will be a Meat-Free Mondayer, a permanent vegetarian or worse, a vegan, among the lot. Then there are the pescatarians - vegetarian except for the "flowers of the sea" - and the raw-foodists who carry high-power blenders in their rucksacks.
Poor waitrons have to try to figure which dishes comply with the no-dairy, no-gluten, yes-to-soy brigade.
Anchovies have become a sin in salad dressings. The inconspicuous creatures get the vilest looks once the non-pesca-whatevers get a whiff of them.
Organic gardens are all the rage. Never mind that we moved out of smaller houses with minimal carbon footprints to larger, less efficient ones just so we could farm in what was once a braai area.
The merits of planting spekboom, worm-tea farming and how to kill snails without pesticides provide conversation for days.
Traditional braaiing is taboo. Unless you are braaiing tofu burgers, bring a tree along to counter the methane emissions from your dinner. In fact, get rid of evil charcoal all together. Charred meat is loaded with carcinogens. Dare someone ask what is in that sausage, and can it be traced to source?
The old hippie was anti-war, anti-state and anti-showering. Similarly, the Wall Street sit-in against economic disparity descended into an orgy and filth fest. Despite that, their messages spread as quickly as venereal disease among the occupiers.
Twitter and Facebook rallies are our new loud-hailers. Even those who don't consume news created an electronic movement for media freedom when the ANC rammed through the secrecy bill in our Parliament.
With bandannas at our throats and thumbs smudged with paint from making posters, here is a reminder of where it all started: In 1966, a Human Be-In as it was called, was one of the first hippie protests against the banning of LSD.
It did not work, but the Summer of Love and Woodstock happened shortly afterwards, despite it. Imagine where peace would be if there were more psychotropic drugs in our systems?
The thinking is that whatever is earned in life should be counterbalanced with an act of goodwill.
We work for an American technology giant that awards huge bonuses for selling carbon-loaded gadgets and celebrates deals by buying Prada shoes.
But we are sure to sponsor groceries for the local children's home too.
We all know a guy with a food-hamper initiative who sends chain e-mails on payday asking for our monthly handover. Ingenious, the invention of electronic alms.
Wallets fly out should a rose seller appear. We purchase the flowers, candles and stuffed animals at astronomical prices, because they are collecting for worthy children with Ritalin addictions or funding a battling matriculant's gap year in Europe. Never mind that pesky Treatment Action Campaign being broke - again. And we always, always tip car guards - twice if it's raining.
Find us squinting at nutritional information and ingredients in the grocery aisles.
We are serial label-readers, rejecting anything that looks processed, remotely modified or hints that it was made by Cambodian child slaves.
We even buy organic cotton garments to wear to pilates, because we treat our bodies as temples, inside and out.
We can also be found browsing between goats' cheeses and olive ciabatta at our neighbourhood informal market. We get there in our Prii (plural of Prius) or a neon-coloured, similarly low-emission city car.
If we choose 4x4s to allow escapes for weekend full-moon gatherings in forested or mountainous areas, our bumper stickers will say that we plant trees to offset our emissions
Actually, the car is not important, so long as we can plug in our iPods to listen to the latest guided meditation podcasts.
We are inspired by Eat Pray Love, Facebook travel photos and 11/11/11. We feel the need to travel far and wide to find the answer to the secret question nobody is asking, but which will reveal all and give meaning to our lives again. We take gap years in the middle of careers, school terms and marriages.
Exotic locations are a must, but local is lekker, so long as we find a "cute little spot off the beaten track" and can camp.
Extra points for taking malaria or Dengue fever risks or if we have to get there by elephant taxi.