I drive all morning, fervent and focused, finally stopping for coffee at The Waffle
House, near Plain City, Ohio. My car sports a "Free Tibet" bumpersticker
that I picked up in Atlanta, and as I lean against the left fender, sipping my
cup of mindfulness, a young man spills out of a purple school bus and starts running
toward me. He is a 1990s version of a hippie -- a white kid with dreadlocks,
a knit cap, probably hemp, and Grateful Dead patches on his Levi cutoffs.
"Hey, hey, free
Tibet," he shouts, pointing to my bumper. "Free Tibet, man."
"Hey," I answer
he repeats. "Were you there?"
"Tibet?" I ask.
The concert. Were you there?"
I realize he
is talking about the Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco, and that to him,
the grave situation in Tibet has mainly translated into an opportunity to hear
the Red Hot Chili Peppers through really big speakers. I explain that I'm
not primarily a music fan, but rather heading to Bloomington Indiana, to
see His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The hippie kid tells
me that he and his busload of pals are on their way to Woodstock, New York, for
another music festival. "It's gonna be cool."
a 20-something, long-haired young woman in an oversized Mama Cass cotton dress
and Birkenstocks, is on a pay phone about twenty feet off from us. She seems
to be arguing with someone.
My new friend
shouts to her:
"The Dalai Lama
is in Bloomington. Wanna go?"
She waves and
shouts back. "Free Tibet! I was there!!"
I give them a
There is nothing
else to be done.
Dinty W. Moore is editor of Brevity.