The highway is a massive and intimidating foreigner, a funnel of decisions and purposes traveling fast from one point to another and cars pass by. Time unfolds like an elusive ghost too tired of being alone but too shy to say hello and cars pass by. Honestly, all this is very poetic but I’d rather be picked up by somebody before I start thinking of myself as one of those no-footprint wanderers lost on asphalt phrases. Yeah, I’m definitely waiting for someone. It might even be me.
I raise my thumb happy to bum some romanticism. I’m sure someone will show up, maybe altruism or a leftie driver or someone who has done it himself before. Besides, drivers want a decent chat. They are always eager to hear prophet stories and even better to tell you theirs. They might brag skin-deep or immerse into honest conversation, under the shelter of the stranger, confident confessions off the record.
But for now cars pass by. I guess people are busy with their stuff. I am too, I’m trying to get a lift. Maybe If I start thinking I don’t want to be picked up, somebody won’t resist to pull over. I might just shut off all this noise and enjoy uncertainty.
The bush spies on me with the patience of an elder, birds talk in their own language and clouds move fast as if they were racing but they look so soft that any kind of competition appears unreal. My backpack rests on the shoulder. No keys but a smartphone. Millennial adventure is not what it used to be when you share the picture of a funny parrot on instagram.
Hi, she smiles. Where are you going? I’m going to Sydney, I say. Jump in, I’m heading to Kempsey. How come you ended up here? Well…
Six more rides followed until I reached Newcastle station late in the afternoon. I heard about Rhodesia, about miracles, about Kirk Douglas, about money, about value, about marriage, about values, about sex and about sex again. A woman driving a V6 couldn’t help overtaking and ranting like a madman. A giggly old fellow confessed he just cheated on his wife while a lonely man was looking for a partner. Been stuck in the mud for hours? SUV’s with 600,000 ks work fine. Have kids. A new SUV is quite expensive. Don’t waste your time traveling.
I told them about Spain, about woofing, about Woodford, about the sun tanning just my hitching arm, about being yelled ‘get a job!’, about the guy who picked me up before, about hitchhiking.