It saddens me when I talk about hitchhikers, and I again hear how dangerous it is. It doesn’t matter if I am talking with a mousy woman ( no offense to those reading ) or with an exceedingly muscular male. It seems strange that culturally we are so afraid of strangers, even those who could use some assisting.
Who are the people hitchhiking, really? They are no different than you or I. We all have our stories to tell, full of ups and downs. To name a few, I have picked up runaways with mohawks, a freshly quit of college tree hugger who personally didn’t believe in bathing often, and a young fellow just returning to the states after doing a three month work exchange program on a sheep ranch in New Guinea. My criteria is simple. If they are actively headed to some destination, and are willing to get there even if it means they have to walk the whole distance, then they are good in my book. Those just looking for a handout ride as if society must give it to them, I drive right on by.
I have never had any problem with anyone in my vehicle. My longest hitch was the tree hugger (with the windows down!), and I took him across an entire state. I hear no profanity, and even am asked politely if I mind them smoking. These people know the deed you do for them, and treat you with the utmost respect. Such a small thing means so much to these people.
Have you even walked between towns, whether needed or not? How few people stop to proffer the ride. They seem to think that I am dangerous on foot. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as I endeavor to live by the non-aggression principle. I suppose that makes my mind a dangerous thing to people who don’t want to believe there are feeling beings outside of their comfort zone.
Perhaps that’s what makes me different. We all have our comfort zones, and I find myself always trying to think outside of that box. This has resulted in the remaking of myself a few times. The other ‘problem’ of outside thinking is that I care little what others think of me. I can go contrary to all flows of traffic. I enjoy standing in a thunderstorm, thinking “Do your worst!” I enjoy looking over the abyss and feeling the greatest sadness, full in the knowledge, that I too will survive this.
But, it isn’t really out-of-box thinking that makes me pick up hitchhikers. It is my sense of fairness to all men. People really are not as evil as they are portrayed to be. They might be morally immature, but that is not reason to leave another in the curb-side rain. This good feeling towards mankind isn’t new. We have been there before. We as americans were like this but a few generations ago. We know this, as the stereo-typical person who will pick up a hitcher is either a truck driver or an old farmer familiar in the old ways of society.
However, “fear is the mind-killer” (Frank Herbert). People have been raised to be afraid of walking in the dark, of strangers in strange places, and of the strange thoughts of others. It divides us as a people, and makes us want to drift into the abyss of a televised couch.
Wake up! Feel the stems and petals! Prick your fingers on the thorns! And, yes, smell the roses! Life is one grand experience after another if one but choose to look at it another way. Even in the darkest hour, there is yet something good to experience, if even it is just knowing “This too shall pass.”