Friday, March 27, 2009


A friend of mine claims that biking is the most efficient mode of transportation. That may or may not be true, but one thing is for certain: hitchhiking is the most interesting.

Hitchhiking is a form of transportation for people in third world countries, convicted felons in first world countries, and people with odd smells in all countries. The standard method of hitchhiking is as follows:
  1. Approach a roadway
  2. Stick out your thumb
  3. Get picked up by an interesting person
  4. Get mugged
  5. Get dropped off in a burlap sack in a black lagoon
Actually, it's really not nearly as dangerous as people think. Why, I did some hitchhiking down California's coast this week, and my first driver was incredibly kind. He offered me a puff of whatever it was he was smoking, he maintained eye contact with me throughout the drive (even though I was in the back seat), he shuffled through his glovebox but did not find whatever killing implement he was seeking, and generally kept his hands a safe distance away from me and the wheel.

The next couple that picked me (and my two friends) up were incredibly kind and nice. They both went to great schools and were supremely intelligent and capable and talented. I felt bad, however, because this was their first instance picking up hitchhikers, and by virtue of us three being Stanford students/alum, I feel like we wrongly conditioned them to believe hitchhikers are upper-middle class mostly normal* non-lethal people. Of course, we still smelled.

So, the next time you find yourself in a bind without a car, don't hesitate to stick out a thumb and see what the road gives you. You may end up driving with ski instructors, an old lady out on a drive, or a Hungarian communist. Just remember, though, in the end, all roads lead to the black lagoon.

*By mostly normal, I mean the other two are normal, and I am not. 2/3 is mostly.

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