Approach strangers with distrust.
Strangers wield power through evoking pity.
Strangers never know where they are going, and ask for directions while eyeing your purse.
Strangers forget their cell phones at home and need to have long conversations with their girlfriend on yours.
At a public place, a stranger makes life inconvenient by asking you to watch their stuff while they sneak off to the bathroom.
Strangers are more than likely alcoholics just looking for some tokens to cash in at Liquor Mart.
Hitch hikers are at the top of the food pyramid of strangers. They want in the car to get a ride to Lawdy-knows-where. They don’t got no car. They don’t have bus fare. They rely on the kindness of unsuspecting citizens to get to an fro the places that life takes us. These vagrants have a penchant to murder little old ladies that were just trying to do something nice in the name of all that is Holy.
So while driving by these drifters, avoid eye contact. Avoiding eye contact happens to be the key to solving most problems in life.
I’m usually quite the square and abide by these simple rules, outlined by the people that go by Mom and Dad. But in Crested Butte, things are a little different. Strangers seem to be a little less on the dangerous side, and more on the harmless acquaintance side.
So what happens when a hitch hiker does not want to cut your throat and instead really just needs a ride to town?
There is a middle aged man with round glasses and a round derriere. As he fidgets taking off his cap, he reveals a dome piece that is also quite round and devoid of hair. His head is shiny though, just the way I prefer bald heads to be. He half heartedly sticks out his thumb, trying to get a ride to work.
With his lack of commitment, I also feel some hesitancy in picking him up. I finally place the old acquaintance as a gent I met several years prior at a bar, during my drankin’ days. I struggle to come up with his name as I motion for him to come on over. I move over the accruements of a working class student to the back off the car, and we are off.
What I was never told about hitchhikers is what happens after picking up the straggler – divine social awkwardness. I am a strange breed, and I truly relish interactions with other human beings that are off, clumsy, and uncomfortable.
We trade how-do-you-do’s. He needs a ride down to the Gas Cafe to get some breakfast before refurbishing wood floors at a local watering hole. We try to find another topic to talk about. Silence prevails. It becomes painfully obvious and impossible to ignore what is playing on my CD player.
It is my early 2000′s Spring Rap Mix, written in green sharpie, a classic album with some of my all time favorite urban music. Mystikal happens to be singing “Shake Ya Ass.”
Now I could change the song to make things more appropriate, to alleviate the unease. But in this situation, there is really only one option at 9 in the morning, and that is to carry on and let Mystikal serenade us with “Shake ya ass, But watch yourself, Shake ya ass, Show me what you’re working with.”
But seriously, that song is a really good song.