Thumbs up


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.

21 thoughts on “Thumbs up

  1. “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.”
    Well done.

  2. I’ve never picked up a hitch hiker nor have I ever hitched. I think both are very risky and I’m not a big risk taker when it comes to the possible of being found dead in a ditch along the road. I do feel guilty passing hitch hikers, especially if it’s raining.

  3. My Dad used to pick up hitch hikers at night when he was driving me home from my ballet lessons – we lived 30 minutes away from the lessons in a small town near the highway. I’m sure my mother would have killed him had she known about it.

  4. I have many fond memories of hitch hiking. When I was a poor starving university student, who couldn’t afford a car, there was actually a system in place at my school where students could wait and other students with cars would know to pick them up from the designated “hitching bay” if they were so inclined.

    More recently I did a solo trip around Australia, 14 weeks in all. I picked up many hitch hikers and not one of them felt the need to practice their skills with a boning or filleting knife on my person.

    I do have one funny memory though. When I was passing through a place called Wolf Creek (made famous by an Australian horror film featuring the gruesome deaths of numerous hitch hikers) two German tourists were seeking a ride. I only had room for one at the time so I couldn’t offer them transport. I did however suggest they watch the film and that their current location was the single worst place in the country in which to be a hitch hiker.

    Happy Trails


  5. I’m a bit paranoid so I’ve never considered picking up a hitch hiker…that same paranoia prevents me from ever hitching a ride. Both leave me with imagined scenarios of my body parts being found scattered across the Arizona desert. I had a friend in high school who would pick up hitch hikers. I told him he was crazy and could end up dead. So far, I haven’t heard about his death, so maybe I was wrong 🙂

  6. Thanks so much Susan for being such an awesome reader and you must know the content of your blog is incredible. Thank you. Now here’s the form notification of an award for you 😉 I’ve awarded you the Blog of the Year Award 2013! (Forgive me if I’ve awarded you before and you declined, it’s hard to keep track of). There’s no obligation to accept, I understand completely if you don’t. Anyway, thanks for liking posts on my blog “The Journal of Wall Grimm.” I appreciate your coming by. For details about the award, please see my post Happy Holidays and have a peaceful and prosperous New Year! Sage

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