Roadside Attraction


I’ll call him Pierre. Picked him up hitchhiking on Martha’s Vineyard—easily the last place left I’d stop for a ride-beggar, and only because of my ridiculous reasoning, “creeps can’t escape an island” and “it was safe 25 years ago when I did it.” Whatever, I stopped.

Young Pierre sported a black and white striped long sleeved t-shirt and a short brimmed fabric hat, looking Frenchy and slightly fried. He jumped in back reeking of cigarettes and holding an I-Phone on the ready…perhaps Googling “when is my ride coming” while thumbing along? Must have been texting, and he kept on thumbing after announcing his destination.  Sacre bleau my continental companion, where’s your manners?

Turning to co-pilot I sarcasmed how hitchhiking sure had changed since my road days…when you felt obligated to converse and feign interest in the driver’s deal. Even as I cringed at my own “back in the day” drivel it was clear Pierre no care. Pierre must tell friend he’s in transit. Pierre too busy being there already. So I played the Cleveland card on him.
                                
Had he ever been to our lovely city? Did he know how warm and wonderful the people were? Did he imagine Cleveland hitchhikers spent a little more time engaging and less time acting as if they flagged down a cab? Well, no, I couldn’t be certain. I don’t pick up hitchhikers at home.

And once we bid Adieu, mon frère, I’ll especially avoid hitchhiking Euro-weenies like you. No matter where the roadside. 

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