Friday, June 15, 2007
I picked up my first Hitchhiker today. She was short, blonde, tan…and drunk. She was walking in the middle of the small side road that I take to cut across the main roads on my drive home from work. As I came driving over a small hill I saw her walking the way that I was traveling, so all I could do was stop. There was no way that anyone could have gone around her unless they wanted to drive into the ditch a little bit. She turned and saw me coming her way. She lifted her index finger as if to ask me to wait a minute and give her a moment of my time. Maybe she was testing the wind to see how change was going to come her way, I don’t know? I slowed down to pull up to her and the first thing I noticed was the large carton of red and white parliament cigarettes sticking out of the top of her straw purse. She asked me where I was going in a really sluggish, drunken sentence. I said towards Lisbon. She needed dropped off at the Beverage Barn Drive Thru and I said that I would take her there. I had to move some stuff in the passenger seat to the back; my purse, my lunch in a white Styrofoam container, a pottery bowl that my mom had made and it had a defect at the bottom, and my jacket from the cold morning that I had to travel to work in at 2 am. She asked me my name as I was moving things from front to back and I told her “Laura.” I asked her name and she said “Sandy.” I told her that I was just on my way home from work and she asked where I worked and I told her the Dutch Haus. She mumbled something about how she has a cousin that works there and she went thru a list of about 6 names trying to remember who it was, “Kim, John, Timmy….”, and then finally, “It’s Pete..Pete is his name…I think?” She got into the passenger seat and we went along our merry way to the Beverage Barn only about 2 minutes away. As we drove she kept mumbling and trying to make conversation, but it was so unorganized and followed no real path. I did catch that her husband’s car was impounded and that he was driving her car today. But I didn’t catch much else. I pulled up to the Beverage Barn, let her out and away I went back home. It was an interesting experience. In the past I’ve thought about why people don’t hitchhike as much as they used to. I know that many people, especially my parents age back in the 70’s, (those old crazy hippies) used to hitchhike or bum a ride all of the time to get where they were going. In fact, I remember my mom saying that she and a girlfriend of hers hitchhiked to a location at least 3 hours from where they started when they were in their teens! Would anyone in their right mind do that anymore? I’m not sure that they would and the biggest question is: why is that? Has our faith in people diminished? Are people more skeptical then they used to be? Is there trust in strangers anymore?