Several years ago, my wife and I were heading out of town and came upon a young fellow hitchhiking with his dog just past the Lake Havasu City Airport on Hwy 95. It was June and close to one-hundred degrees, with the guy saying that he needed a ride to I-40. Normally, I don’t pick people up like that but in this case, something told me to.
We were driving a Chevrolet HHR panel having only two seats, with our nameless passengers climbing in back and laying down in the cargo area. During the ten-minute trip we talked mostly about his dog and where they were headed. I made sure not to pry into anything too personal, although in the back of my mind I thought it most unusual for anyone to be hitchhiking that time of year, especially in Arizona. One thing I did ask was whether or not he carried a cellphone. His reply was blunt yet most enlightening,
You mean am I on a leash? The answer is no.
Dropping both travelers off at the Pilot gas station, I gave the two-legged passenger my last twenty bucks, including a gallon of water always carried in our vehicle for emergencies. He thanked us, and the last I saw of that fellow was in my rearview mirror. Hopefully, this adventurer, or man on the run, found what he was looking for in “The Golden State.”
My wife felt sorry for this young person, especially so for his dog, wondering for quite some time how both fared on the rest of their journey. The canine’s tongue was hanging out when we first picked them up, but the coolness of the vehicle AC gave him some temporary relief.
Quite often, I see people hitchhiking on that same stretch of road either coming into town or going out. All of them thus far have been younger men for whatever reason. There’ve been times I felt envy, knowing for the most part these folks don’t worry about making doctor’s appointments, fret over having their taxes prepared, get the chills paying monthly bills, or lose their cool maintaining a swimming pool. The list goes on and on.
Most, if not all have their total life possessions crammed inside large backpacks, with a sleeping bag and jacket strapped to the outside. One thing I’d bet these free spirits don’t carry is an appointment calendar and that’s something to commend them for. I view scheduling calendars, either electronic or paper, as too controlling where a person’s life is concerned.
Most of my friends, if not all, keep their appointments in iPhones or other such devices. I don’t own a smartphone and never will. When I tell people this they often reply back,
I need one for my job!
Wanting to say in return, I’m sorry, thus far I’ve refrained from being that condescending or rude.
For many years, folks got along just fine without them, but things changed, and to be honest, I don’t know why. A regular house phone and e-mail still works great for me, along with casually talking with people, preferably at a quiet restaurant.
It’s even gotten to the point where I find myself using social media on our home computer less and less, believing it was intriguing at the start, yet like that popular song by the late and great blues singer, B.B. King, “The Thrill is Gone.”
Friends have said for years that I should always carry a cellphone for emergencies, most importantly, so they can get hold of me much quicker. They generally don’t go anywhere without one of these nuisances tagging along at their side.
My way of thinking is exactly the same as that hitchhiker,
I came into this world unleashed, expecting to go out the same way!