I have a moleskine notebook I keep in my purse dedicated to mundane things as shopping lists, addresses and the name of songs that take me by surprise. It is a treasure trove of interesting things such as the title of books to read, movies to rent, over heard conversations, places to go, brilliant observations, a cache for newspaper clippings, postcards, snapshots and a holding cell of quotes from a variety of sources. It also serves as a collection of off the wall thoughts usually scribbled as I drive down the highway. Those, my friends, are very difficult to read!
While flipping through the pages yesterday, looking for an obscure tidbit I knew I had jotted down sometime, somewhere when I found a list of ideas to write about. Obviously I had been traveling down a highway and written in large block letters, that indicated I was traveling at a high rate of speed, HITCHHIKING.
What has happened to the art of Hitch Hiking? It was not that long ago that it was an acceptable form of trucking around. An easy way to get from here to there in a pinch. I'm not going to say everyone did it. I only did it several times usually when my car was broken down by the side of the road. But I knew tons of people who practiced it as their only form of transportation.
The times were different way back then. Our serial killers were limited to large cities, the major highway system we now take for granted was barely in its infancy. The youth of that time was represented by huge numbers, never seen in the history of the earth before and we felt we were invincible and could do whatever we pleased.
And we hitch hiked, criss crossed the world on a whim.
I have two really good stories, both happened to people I know, not to me.
My brother was hitch hiking to D.C. with a friend and on the way home on the outskirts of Somewhere USA were picked up by a large sedan with two very nervous, very scared guys. They traveled at a high rate of speed and crossed into West Virginia and began to slow down to kick out my brother and his friend.
"What's the deal?" they demanded.
"Man, we just robbed a bank back there and they were looking for two males in a dark car. We figured two more people couldn't hurt".
The second one involves a friend of mine who was hitching back home from Arizona. As was typical of the time, he met up with a couple of other guys on the side of the road and decided to stick together.
They were picked up and in a short time were driven off the major road onto a secluded side road.
"Give us your Money!" they were told as a knife was waved in their faces. The other kids argued and were taken out and smacked around until they coughed up their cash. My friend pulled his pockets out to indicate they were empty. His back pack was rifled through and nothing was found. "Man, that is why I'm hitching, I'm broke".
The robbers rode off leaving them in the middle of no where.
My friend had his money hidden in his boot. He bought them all a meal and then they split up.
Something else was also lost by the demise of Hitching a ride. The rich stories that were born of those more innocent less violent times.