When I was a kid, hitchhiking was a cost effective way to see the country—a tasty slice of Americana. While I’ve never had cause to do it myself, once in high school, my girlfriends and I picked up a hitchhiker. My older sister was driving my dad’s old Buick Electra. A shirtless young man from the construction site next to our high school was walking along toward the Jiffy where we were headed on our lunch break. When we pulled over and opened the door, he looked shocked to find his ride crammed with seven giggling girls. He hesitantly climbed into our clown car and was dead silent for the entire half-mile ride. When we pulled into the Jiffy parking lot, he couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. While picking up a hitchhiker might be considered reckless behavior by today’s standards, back then we had nothing to fear. If anyone was nervous, it was our hitchhiking construction worker. As my mother always said, “There’s safety in numbers,” and he was definitely outnumbered in the old Buick Electra.
“Thumbing a Ride”–Colored Pencil