T Nation

Hitch Hikers: Deadly Assassins...

or Wonderful Riding Companions?

I was on my way back from Houston earlier today when I saw a dude walking along the interstate, sticking his thumb out at passing traffic. This wasn’t near a prison, and was about ten miles from the nearest town. I did what any self-respecting American would do.

I ignored him and kept driving.

Looking back, he didn’t strike me as particularly dangerous. Scruffy maybe, but the two aren’t exactly correlated. I’m scruffy. I guess I just didn’t pick him up out of habit. As a child, my mom got to me with stories of weird axe murderers passing themselves off as hitch-hikers and even engaging you in conversation before they knock you unconcious and rape you to death. I’m starting to question that perspective.

I’m in my early 20’s, I’m getting a little wander-lusty, and I’m seeing plenty of road trippin in my future. Is picking up hitch hikers a good idea, or a bad idea?

I say ass, gas, or grass, noone rides free.

good or bad idea? Depends I guess.

I’ve got a buddy here who hitches everywhere. He’s been doing it for about 6 years now, hitched to LA to catch a cheap flight to thailand, Mexico City for a flight to Cuba, the east coast, basically everywhere. He’s got stories out the wazoo. Ridden the rails before as well.

He’s also got a hitchhiking race that goes from Texas to NC, now entering its 4 year I think. I’m looking forward to this years race. Should be epic. Last year (meaning this May) I couldn’t compete because I was in the throes of my MS thesis preparation and it pissed me off to no end. This year I’m looking forward to beating his ass to the waterfalls.

Last 5 hours of drive-time are the hardest to hitch since the town’s pretty much too small to be a major thoroughfare. We’ll camp out for a couple days there then head home.

Only bad part for an iron addict like me is that you have to be content on minimal food intake while on the road, so you have to pack it or suffer missed meals. :slight_smile: Usually missed meals given the erratic nature of hitching and the possibility of driving through the night.

So, it depends. Could be a great adventure. Might be disaster. Usually though, I tend to think (as cynical and pessimistic as I am) that a lot of hitchers are just scruffy and either adventure seeking, or down trodden.

Paranoia of urban legends can be silly. But hard to break if it’s been ingrained from childhood. Depends on how they look, and if you get the bug to pick one up, just take him/her as far as you’re willing to go, during daylight hours. That’s easiest. But if you get a good vibe or are having fun, keep running for a bit. You don’t have to let 'em crash with you or anything. They’ll be fine camping or catching a semi-trucker.

I’ve always wanted to hitch, but I drink a lot of water and would feel silly asking my patron to stop so I could piss.

“It’s cool, man. I’ll just go in this empty bottle. Don’t look, okay?”

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
good or bad idea? Depends I guess.

Paranoia of urban legends can be silly.
[/quote]

Urban legends like this?

I sometimes pick up hitchhikers if I don’t have my family with me, but I don’t really see that many anymore. As a teen I often hitchhiked, but it typically turned into a long walk with my thumb stuck out.

Earlier this year I picked a guy up on the freeway entrance ramp near my work. It wasn’t until I got home that it struck me that the ramp is only about a mile from Jackson state prison.

[quote]Otep wrote:
or Wonderful Riding Companions?

I was on my way back from Houston earlier today when I saw a dude walking along the interstate, sticking his thumb out at passing traffic. This wasn’t near a prison, and was about ten miles from the nearest town. I did what any self-respecting American would do.

I ignored him and kept driving.

Looking back, he didn’t strike me as particularly dangerous. Scruffy maybe, but the two aren’t exactly correlated. I’m scruffy. I guess I just didn’t pick him up out of habit. As a child, my mom got to me with stories of weird axe murderers passing themselves off as hitch-hikers and even engaging you in conversation before they knock you unconcious and rape you to death. I’m starting to question that perspective.

I’m in my early 20’s, I’m getting a little wander-lusty, and I’m seeing plenty of road trippin in my future. Is picking up hitch hikers a good idea, or a bad idea?[/quote]
I would imagine it is a pretty bad idea.

I live in Houston and see the bums quite a bit. Granted, they usually are on the corner of a street hustling for money at a red light and I just turn the radio up and look busy so they leave my window.

But in some parts of town where new development is overtaking old slums and crack dens, you see bums intermingling with the general public. They scrounge through parking lots of retro and consignment clothing shops that used to be boarded up and dingy abandoned buildings where they lived, punk rock bars, what used to be rough and tumble tattoo parlors etc. They are mostly looking for drug money and the crazy ones(literally) who have survived know they are at the parking lot they called home since the 80’s and can’t figure out why all the strange people are around. They sit and mutter and stare and it’s really kind of creepy.

Also, normal people are not homeless. They are either on drugs, retarded or literally crazy. They are also desperate and while an amicable retard could seem endearing, he is hungry, tired, high and sees a target rather than a person like the others.

I have a friend who works as an emergency room nurse on the night shift at a large hospital downtown. She sees bums all the time. Many come in with self inflicted wounds for a free night in bed with meals and pain medication.

She says it isn’t uncommon though for business men and women to come in, or be brought in, after staying at the office late. They leave after downtown has “shut down” and get jumped by gangs of bums who beat, cut and mutilate before taking a wallet, watch or what have you.

Rapes occur semi occassionally too. And they are usually pretty brutal gang rapes. She says it is really pretty alarming how high emergency room activity levels are and it’s much worse than you would sensibly guess.

Long story short, a hitch hiking bum knows a chop shop or ten that would take your car and provide him with a month worth of crack money at least. If a bum would gouge himself with a knife for a hospital meal and a dose of morphine (which has been described to me the rule more than the exception), he’d kill you for your car.

There are crazy, schizo bums who don’t have a support structure so they wind up un-medicated on the streets.

Bums don’t give a shit. They are just surviving as it is. Jail is literally a good place for them. You are a target with money and assets, not a ride.

In high school I used to pull over 50 feet past the hitch hikers then take off after they ran up to the car. It seemed funny back then. Actually it still seems funny but it’s been a long time since I’ve been that immature.

The only time I ever gave a hitch hiker a ride was when a hooker jumped in my car. I said “what the…” and she said “get me outa here or my boyfriend is going to kick my ass”. I drove her about a mile to some dive motel and then sold my car.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

Paranoia of urban legends can be silly. But hard to break if it’s been ingrained from childhood. Depends on how they look, and if you get the bug to pick one up, just take him/her as far as you’re willing to go, during daylight hours.

That’s easiest. But if you get a good vibe or are having fun, keep running for a bit. You don’t have to let 'em crash with you or anything. They’ll be fine camping or catching a semi-trucker.

[/quote]

Or you can always be the crazy one with a weapon. :slight_smile:

I’m usually driving around with my girl, and that means I wouldn’t be apt to pick up a stranger. Unless it was another she…and she was 1/2 nekkid and starving for meat. I’ll end there but you know where I’m going…to the gutter.

[quote]FormerlyTexasGuy wrote:
Otep wrote:
I live in Houston and see the bums quite a bit. Granted, they usually are on the corner of a street hustling for money at a red light and I just turn the radio up and look busy so they leave my window.

But in some parts of town where new development is overtaking old slums and crack dens, you see bums intermingling with the general public. They scrounge through parking lots of retro and consignment clothing shops that used to be boarded up and dingy abandoned buildings where they lived, punk rock bars, what used to be rough and tumble tattoo parlors etc. They are mostly looking for drug money and the crazy ones(literally) who have survived know they are at the parking lot they called home since the 80’s and can’t figure out why all the strange people are around. They sit and mutter and stare and it’s really kind of creepy.

Also, normal people are not homeless. They are either on drugs, retarded or literally crazy. They are also desperate and while an amicable retard could seem endearing, he is hungry, tired, high and sees a target rather than a person like the others.

I have a friend who works as an emergency room nurse on the night shift at a large hospital downtown. She sees bums all the time. Many come in with self inflicted wounds for a free night in bed with meals and pain medication.

She says it isn’t uncommon though for business men and women to come in, or be brought in, after staying at the office late. They leave after downtown has “shut down” and get jumped by gangs of bums who beat, cut and mutilate before taking a wallet, watch or what have you.

Rapes occur semi occassionally too. And they are usually pretty brutal gang rapes. She says it is really pretty alarming how high emergency room activity levels are and it’s much worse than you would sensibly guess.

Long story short, a hitch hiking bum knows a chop shop or ten that would take your car and provide him with a month worth of crack money at least. If a bum would gouge himself with a knife for a hospital meal and a dose of morphine (which has been described to me the rule more than the exception), he’d kill you for your car.

There are crazy, schizo bums who don’t have a support structure so they wind up un-medicated on the streets.

Bums don’t give a shit. They are just surviving as it is. Jail is literally a good place for them. You are a target with money and assets, not a ride.
[/quote]

I was thinking more along the lines of picking up hitch hikers on the interstate, not necessarily in 3rd ward or that hip-new-zip are in NW downtown Houston.

[quote]on edge wrote:
In high school I used to pull over 50 feet past the hitch hikers then take off after they ran up to the car. It seemed funny back then. Actually it still seems funny but it’s been a long time since I’ve been that immature.

The only time I ever gave a hitch hiker a ride was when a hooker jumped in my car. I said “what the…” and she said “get me outa here or my boyfriend is going to kick my ass”. I drove her about a mile to some dive motel and then sold my car.[/quote]

Ironically enough, the only ride I’ve given someone else was also a hooker.

Perhaps I should sell my car too.

There is a hog processing plant about sixty miles from where I work. It is tough work and does not pay much, so their turnover is extremely high. As such, on my way home I regularly see hitchers making their way to the plant for work/interview. I am a bit too trusting, but I am not willing to take any chances either. So I usually offer them a ride in the back of the truck. I have yet to have one tell me to fuck off.

[quote]VanderLaan wrote:
There is a hog processing plant about sixty miles from where I work. It is tough work and does not pay much, so their turnover is extremely high. As such, on my way home I regularly see hitchers making their way to the plant for work/interview. I am a bit too trusting, but I am not willing to take any chances either. So I usually offer them a ride in the back of the truck. I have yet to have one tell me to fuck off. [/quote]

Buy a real car and put them in the trunk. It’s really quite a bit safer.

[quote]Otep wrote:
on edge wrote:
In high school I used to pull over 50 feet past the hitch hikers then take off after they ran up to the car. It seemed funny back then. Actually it still seems funny but it’s been a long time since I’ve been that immature.

The only time I ever gave a hitch hiker a ride was when a hooker jumped in my car. I said “what the…” and she said “get me outa here or my boyfriend is going to kick my ass”. I drove her about a mile to some dive motel and then sold my car.

Ironically enough, the only ride I’ve given someone else was also a hooker.

Perhaps I should sell my car too.[/quote]

No, you’ve got to get rid of the car while the heebee jeebees are fresh, otherwise you yourself become tainted. Sorry, Otep, but you are now dirty. Now I’ve got to go wash my hands and clean my keyboard.

[quote]on edge wrote:
Ironically enough, the only ride I’ve given someone else was also a hooker.

Perhaps I should sell my car too.

No, you’ve got to get rid of the car while the heebee jeebees are fresh, otherwise you yourself become tainted. Sorry, Otep, but you are now dirty. Now I’ve got to go wash my hands and clean my keyboard.[/quote]

I lolled. Just so you know.

But that baby (it’s named after the person who sold it to me: Eugivny. And no, that really was his name, just written in Russian) is a '95 Honda Civic with over 260k miles on it. Ain’t no one gonna buy it. Especially with hooker grease on the seats.

Maybe if I tell them it’s paint…

[quote]Otep wrote:
FormerlyTexasGuy wrote:
Otep wrote:
I live in Houston and see the bums quite a bit. Granted, they usually are on the corner of a street hustling for money at a red light and I just turn the radio up and look busy so they leave my window.

But in some parts of town where new development is overtaking old slums and crack dens, you see bums intermingling with the general public. They scrounge through parking lots of retro and consignment clothing shops that used to be boarded up and dingy abandoned buildings where they lived, punk rock bars, what used to be rough and tumble tattoo parlors etc. They are mostly looking for drug money and the crazy ones(literally) who have survived know they are at the parking lot they called home since the 80’s and can’t figure out why all the strange people are around. They sit and mutter and stare and it’s really kind of creepy.

Also, normal people are not homeless. They are either on drugs, retarded or literally crazy. They are also desperate and while an amicable retard could seem endearing, he is hungry, tired, high and sees a target rather than a person like the others.

I have a friend who works as an emergency room nurse on the night shift at a large hospital downtown. She sees bums all the time. Many come in with self inflicted wounds for a free night in bed with meals and pain medication.

She says it isn’t uncommon though for business men and women to come in, or be brought in, after staying at the office late. They leave after downtown has “shut down” and get jumped by gangs of bums who beat, cut and mutilate before taking a wallet, watch or what have you.

Rapes occur semi occassionally too. And they are usually pretty brutal gang rapes. She says it is really pretty alarming how high emergency room activity levels are and it’s much worse than you would sensibly guess.

Long story short, a hitch hiking bum knows a chop shop or ten that would take your car and provide him with a month worth of crack money at least. If a bum would gouge himself with a knife for a hospital meal and a dose of morphine (which has been described to me the rule more than the exception), he’d kill you for your car.

There are crazy, schizo bums who don’t have a support structure so they wind up un-medicated on the streets.

Bums don’t give a shit. They are just surviving as it is. Jail is literally a good place for them. You are a target with money and assets, not a ride.

I was thinking more along the lines of picking up hitch hikers on the interstate, not necessarily in 3rd ward or that hip-new-zip are in NW downtown Houston.[/quote]

One in the same. The new hip zip is pretty sweet though.