I am taking a writing class where we were to read a Isaac Asimov essay from his book “The Relativity of Wrong” and then write an essay about our home using his style. Take a look at the essay I wrote.
Questions About My Hippie Home 10/23/10
An essay By The Jolly Green Giant
Everything is about answering your own questions. I will answer your question on what I am talking about in this chapter. Please enjoy this personal story of mine to answer the ever-burdening question: what do THEY think?
Two weeks ago, I had a bunch of colleagues over for a luncheon at my house. I invite friends of unique interests over for social gatherings fairly often as to keep up in the social realm of things. I must say that my acquaintances seem rather pleased at being invited to my residence so often. I am adequately well-known throughout our city for my mixed-media collage masterpieces.
Usually at these lunch parties, the talk goes right to that of politics, science and literature for they are indeed interesting subjects that my collaborators enjoy discussing. Even though most of the time I am in a different world of ephemera and tacky glue, I usually add my opinion to conversations to make sure that everyone in my house knows that I am sane. That day, however, the conversation went directly to questions about me. I thought this a very interesting shift in topic, and was immediately suspicious of what the motivation was for such a change. I decided to answer the questions asked in a way that wouldn’t give away too much information in case these people had turned against me in the week since the last luncheon. The conversation went something like this:
“My dear Molly, I must ask you; why do you have so many paintings and sculptures made by artists other than yourself in your home, when you could save money by just making your own art to decorate your home”
“Well, you see….I um, don’t like to brag, but I feel if I placed my own art in my house it would look like my art was not as valuable as it is on the price tag in my gallery.”
“Oh, yes, I know how it is.”
“Oh, Mr. Brown, thank you for understanding.”
“Sure, but I do have one more question to ask you about your work.”
“If you must.”
“I mean, if you don’t want me to ask, that’s fine, it’s just that it seems like we never really get to talk about your own work at these luncheons and I would really like to learn more.”
As you would guess, this statement made me even more suspicious as to what my friends were nagging about. But, out of the kindness of my heart (and for fear that my friends would become suspicious of me if I didn’t let him ask a question), I let Mr. Brown ask.
“Ask away, Mr. Brown.”
“Well, you see, I have been talking with our mutual friends and we all feel…”
This really was not a good beginning to a sentence, you see for I was already worried about my good standing with these contacts. Starting a question in such a way as Mr. Brown, was not helping my nervousness as to what kind of question this might be. He continued:
“…we feel that your home is a bit…hippie-ish.”
And that was all he said. Now, I don’t know about you, but that didn’t seem like much of a question to me. Since when do questions end in periods instead of question marks? Isn’t that the reason they are called question marks? Anyway, as the question started to sink in, I realized what he meant. He meant that he-and many of the rest of my friends had been talking behind my back about how my house looked like the home of a tie-dye-wearing, free flowing person. Now, I find this odd, because in the collage business we strive to keep the appearance of being rather put-together group of executives.
After this very strange sequence of events, I sent my guests home explaining that I had a very bad headache and needed to meditate in the privacy of my home-without guests. They somewhat grudgingly agreed to leave only if they could take the organic tuna and eggplant cracker hors d’eouvres with them. After each of the 26 guests had gone hors d’eouvres in hand, I finally was able to think about my house in peace. I sat down on my coral pink couch and took a look around at my interior-decorating style. I saw my “peace, love, recycle” painting which was placed directly over my “different kinds of spinach” collage I bought at an art fair in New Orleans a few years ago. The thing I love about the former is that it really makes a point. “Peace, love and recycle” are all painted on a plain white canvass using oil from the Gulf oil spill that killed millions of my sea friends. One of the greatest things about having your own home is to be able to decorate it however you want, right? Why would I care if my house looked “hippie-ish”? The problem was, I did care. I didn’t want to be put in the artist-hippie category of holding cardboard signs asking for money in the parking lot of Walmart. I wanted to be the next big thing; the next Martha Stewart; the next rich and famous collage artist (not that I know any rich and famous collage artists to begin with, but you get the point).
I spent the next couple of hours looking around the room-examining each and every decorative element and still couldn’t really find the hippie-ness that my friends saw. That’s when it hit me: I didn’t really know what “hippie-ness” looked like.
I think that many Americans make assumptions that they are being judged without really knowing what they are being judged on. That’s exactly what had happened to me that day with my house.
To finish the story, I ended up getting into my VW bus and heading to our local library to find out the answers to my question about what exactly “hippie-ish” looked like. After people decide to find answers instead of worrying about what the answer may be, they become happier and more peaceful people. By finding out an answer I was able to determine that my house was a bit “hippie-ish”. But, there will be more on that definition in the next chapter.