I may have read one too many Dean Koontz novels or perhaps have seen more than my fair share of creepy movies. Whatever the case may be, the conglomeration of macabre tales has left a lingering doubt in my mind when it comes to hitch hikers.
I have never entertained the thought of sticking my thumb in the air and hoping that a random stranger would stop and let me into their vehicle. And on that same train of thought, I have never picked up a hitch hiker that I didn’t know personally. I occasionally feel guilty about driving by and leaving them with arm extended and a thumb reaching up like a beacon of hope. I even go so far as to not look directly at them, although I know full well that they cannot see the direction in which my ocular orbs are focusing.
Scenes from movies play like a slide show in my brain and I imagine the most innocent looking person taking hours to remove my appendages and build them into a sinister piece of art nouveau. It may be a warped interpretation but one that could salvage my digits and leave my body intact.
Although there is always the nagging doubt that picking up that hitch hiker will hold some sort of malice for me, I still feel the need, in my head, to explain why I will not invite them into the sanctuary of my four-wheeled haven. I constantly feel the urge to roll down my window on the way by and tell them that my turn is only meters away and that they will have a better chance of a full ride with another driver. Regardless of any guilt I feel for not stopping, I still avert my eyes from their general direction and carry on, alone in my car, to my destination.
I am not labeling worldly travelers nor am I judging those whose means of travel relies on a digit that many animals do not possess. I am simply propagating my existence in my over-active imagination and choosing to not share the sanctity of my car with a potential serial killer.
Best wishes to all of you that have the guts to be the hitcher or the driver that stops to pick up those wayward travelers. The neurons in my brain will always fire in the same way and err on the side of caution but for those brave enough to pick up or be picked up – thumbs up to you.