Literally Hanging Out

“I make people smile. When you’re different yourself, you meet different people.” ~Martin Kipp

Susan Miller calls him “Hammock Man.”

“He’s so cool,” said Miller, English Department Chair, in a phone message alerting College Relations to Hammock Man’s existence. “This student, at lunchtime, will come and put his hammock between two trees and just kind of lounge out there. Sometimes he sketches. Now he’s swinging and reading. Run across the hall and look out!”

Hammock Man, aka Martin Kipp, 19, is a landscape architecture major from Ocala. And yes, Hammock Man is an apt nickname for Kipp. He carries his lightweight Eno hammock with him wherever he goes; it folds into a compact pouch.

“I have a 2-hour break and it’s not enough time to go all the way home and back, so I hang out here between classes. I roll it out whenever I have a break or when I’m waiting to get into club activities.”

Today, he’s in front of L Building, which he says is his favorite spot. He also likes it up by B Building.

“I’ve gotten into the habit of looking at two trees and thinking, ‘yeah, those two would work.’ If I sit on the ground under a tree the roots are really uncomfortable.”

Sometimes he takes a nap.

“I set my cell phone alarm so I don’t sleep through class. I learned that the hard way.”

Have people ever asked if they can swing in it with him?

“Why not?”

His hammock holds up to 400 pounds. He bought it from Brasington’s for about $54, and that includes the outfitter’s 10 percent student discount.

“The first two weeks last semester I was worried I’d get in trouble or someone would yell at me,” he recalls.

That’s never been a problem. Instead, he’s had professors and Facilities staff ask sort of wistfully about his pastime and where he got his hammock. No one has to worry about him hurting the trees. He connects the hammock line into straps with loops at 1-foot intervals so that they are adjustable, and then loops the ends around the trees. He bought those at Brasington’s, too.

It takes him 30 seconds to pack up his hammock. (We timed it.)

Even his shoes are cool

During our interview, several students stop to chat. They comment on his hammock — tell him how cool it is — and ask about his shoes. They’re Vibram’s 5 Fingers from the Birkenstock dealer in the Oaks Mall Plaza. (“They cost about $70,” he tells people. “They’re great for yoga and Pilates and weightlifting, I’ve heard. They feel like being barefoot. What could be more comfortable than that?”)

Kipp’s hobbies are hiking, kayaking, rock climbing and photography — and people watching.

“I like to sit here, watching humanity passing. Each person is in their own little bubble and they just pass on by.”

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