The Hitchhiker

Southern California, Hwy. 79…..past Warner Spring’s tiny airport where they rent out gliders, past Al-Anon, where I was supposed to interview a counselor for a paper on addiction. I was reaching the outskirts of Temecula when  I saw a tall man beside the road looking for a ride. He looked disheveled, with a veneer of grease and dirt on his pants so thick they reminded me of auto mechanic coveralls. He was carrying a stained yellow blanket and a small bag. It was one of those moments when you really, really don’t want to help. I remember thinking someone else can do it…why does it have to be me…however, I knew the likelihood wasn’t good that someone would give him a ride, at least not for a while. Out there in the country, the cars are few and far between, and there is no place to go when you head south…I mean, there are towns before you hit San Diego, like Ramona and Poway, but the former’s a farming community, and the latter is mostly made up of suburban dwellings…most folks are not likely to pick up a big, scary looking dude. I’m a former Marine though, always combat ready of course, even when eight months pregnant, so I wasn’t fazed. I pulled over and asked him where he wanted to go. He wanted to go south. I looked into his eyes, and they looked ok if you know what I mean…not the eyes of a killer (because you can always tell) I picked him up, turned the car around, and away we went. I asked him if he ever had apple pie from The Julian Apple Pie Co. and he had not, so I felt like he should definitely try some…everyone should have a slice some day. We both had apple pie  with ice cream…the women working there were strangely hostile, casting rude looks my way…not sure why…I think it was kind of obvious what was going on, its not like the dude didn’t feel like showering or something. I also took him to the little grocery store next door so he could have something for later. His selections were interesting. He choose two prepared sandwiches, and a half liter of pepsi. I would have chosen something like a whole cooked chicken and a loaf of whole wheat bread, and maybe some nuts and dried fruit, but then again he wasn’t like a hiker or outdoor sports enthusiast…just a dude in a a bad place, hopefully temporarily, and probably not thinking clearly…
I wasn’t planning to take him all the way down to San Diego, because it’s an hour and a half drive, one way,  but I didn’t have the heart to just leave him…who knows when someone else would give him a ride, so I committed myself. Like I said, its a long and quiet road. The houses are far and few between. My cell phone stopped working about halfway there…it was doing that off and on at the time, which typically wouldn’t have mattered much. My husband and I were always together, and we had a land line at the house. However that day was different. Its somewhat amusing because I specifically told my husband as I pulled over that I was picking up a hitchhiker and that there was nothing he could say to dissuade me, and also to call the police if I didn’t call him along the way….sadly, its a good thing he doesn’t take me seriously…
I drove super crazy fast to scare the dude, just in case, you know so he would think I was a badass chic, and if he tried to murder me I would flip the car on purpose, probably killing us both in the meantime. We finally arrived in downtown San Diego after a lengthy, yet pleasant ride. Probably he was expecting me to tell him Jesus saves or something, but I was just wishing there was something more I  could do for him.
I thought the best place for him was the library. It seems they are friendly and supportive to those without domiciles. Besides, who doesn’t feel like a library is a home away from home? As he was getting out of the car, the grocery bag he was carrying ripped open. Bread and porn fell onto the floor of the car. I think the bread was dry, and unfortunately cut the bag. The magazines were ripped at the binding, not nicely closed, so there I was, staring at shiny, smooth, ass and titties for a few seconds….. I was embarrassed….he was flustered….I thought, oh my god… what was I thinking…I really put myself in danger. Then I speculated…just because the man likes to look at pretty, naked girls, doesn’t mean he is a rapist or killer. With that thought I felt much better, and wished him good luck.

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Coffee. Beer. Climbing Tall Things.

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