Thursday, January 7, 2010

Between rocks and hard places; pedders and locked doors....

Ive been doing alot of research for my writing and planned hitching travels, and Im stumbling upon more and more negatively perceived views on hitchhiking. Its somewhat discouraging, but at the same time, its only fuel for the fire. Although, I know for others its the final deterrent when deciding to try it. But realize; for the most part, the ways of the road do not change in different places. There are poor drivers, awful roads, weirdos, criminals and saints everywhere. Ill remind you it was a Canadian Greyhound(the preferred method of travel from say Queens University, like, to like, Western, like, right, like 90lb blonde cheerleader, like) that was the stage for international headlines when that awful decapitation occured. -Stange thing, we were actually (without knowing, a trucker later told us) dropped off and hitching from the exact fork-in-the-road that this happened.

I wrote a brief summary for an online hitching blog/community about what to do in the event of a hairy situation....It contradicts some of what I say, as I emphasize the slim chances of this going down, and that we should all be John Lennon give peace a chance, or something to that effect...but I have always said the risk is there.
Anyways, dont let it throw you off, but heres what to do when someone tries to get too close for comfort...

o o o

Ok, so youve been reading this blog for a week or so now, and have been inspired to the core on how insanely cool hitchhiking is. You stomach any doubt, and strap on a set. You feel so impusleively compelled, you run down to the basement to dig up your brothers' EuroTrip backpack, cram some clothes and Paulo Coehlo's The Alchemist into it, grab the guitar and hit the road, thumbout. Your heart is racing uncontrollably at the thought of risk and adventure. You cant beleive youre finally doing this, if Mom could only see you now. A car pokes over the horizon, and it forces so much blood through your Aorta it skips a beat.....You almost need to change your fruit-of-the-looms when it swerves to pull you over. This is the epitomy of excitement. Hes heading your way, and hes got some twangy music that makes this feel all of too right. Feelings you have never experienced overcome your brain and emotions, and you feel more free than the wild West. It all comes to a crashing halt 20 minutes down the road.
It starts when he makes an unnannounced turn to a secondary road, and starts talking in one word answers. He turns, and looks at you with a satanic eye and half grin. Panic replaces euphoria. Gulp. What have I gotten myslef into?

Before I go any further(sorry!), I want to clarify one thing.
The risk of a dangerous situation while hitchhiking is so rare, its honestly not even worth worrying about. Although thats like saying shark diving is totally safe in the cage; youre still going to trip out about being eaten. My passion for hitching doesnt end on the highway, and I am an advocate in the movement of restoring hitchhiking, reviving it to an accepted means of travel. The negative stereotypes surrounding hitchhikers contradict my beleifs and preachings, but Im unfazed, however the risk is still evident, and should be factored in, especially when planning a solitary or extended trip.
Im not saying im the worlds most experienced hitcher/traveller. In fact, Im far from it... But I do have enough experience to give adivce to others considering their first hitching trip, or seasoned vets who want another opinion in sticky times..


Ok, I have somewhat of a formula to ensure that even if I had gotten into the car with Jeffery Dahmer and some Helter Skelters, I would leave with high-fives and smiles.

1.) Dont throw your packs into the trunk, I always try to avoid it. Sometimes you cant, but try to get it in the backseat, or between your legs.
>>My only personal rule is never allow myslef to be outnumbered by males. Even if its just one more, I cannot promise myslef Id prevail in a 2 v 1 or 3 v 1 situation. Its my only rule, and I do follow it, though not every single time. I have been in the car outnumbered and luckily nothing happened, but that is because I used my discretion. The driver will always be more wary of the hitcher. Remember; they dont not have to pick you up, you rely on them, so theyre always wondering if they made the right choice. You NEED that ride, and most likely would jump in without too much hesitation.(I know I have certainly jumped in dozens of cars without a proper feel out, and scan of the car) Its never truly burned me, but Im always improving my observation with experience.

2.)It is how you portray yourslef. You are the hitchhiker, and a stranger. You can be who ever you want to be, just make sure that person is confident. (with anything in life, act like youve done it before) and that includes hitching. Youve been on the road for hundreds of rides, hundreds of creeps, you mr homo-flirty pants, are nothing new.

3.)Immediately after youve entered the car, strike the conversation as you normally do. After 20 or so minutes, Ill let them very slyly know that I basically dont f*ck around, and fear isnt a concern in my mind. I do this by just letting him know some subtle details, or my interests, and I dont really have to lie. I tell them im an avid base jumper(I am)-and this usually immediately has them commenting 'youre crazy'. Numero Uno. But dont go on listing how tough you are and that youve been in a million fights. Rather, coyly throw it in the mix, when he says something like 'wow thats quite a trip, have you had any problems?' respond with something non threatening, assertive etc. such as ' the trips been amazing so far, I cant wait to see what lies ahead.' Ive sometimes spoken about my expeiences abroad, where I had to fight(glory glory man united) and I will drop a very subtle hint of this, like 'well ive had to take care of myslef once or twice before'. Never anything blunt, or threatening, just a subtle hint that if you do want to f*ck with me, im not going to turn down the chance of fun. *Mind you this is only necessary when youre feeling the conversation with the bloke to take a turn. When SoccerMom picks me up, I talk about puppies and buttons.(Not actually, but you get what I mean.) I have been in a car once or twice, where I could tell he was gay, eyeing me, or thinking some thoughts I did not wish to partake in. Its easy to divert, make yourslef less appealing. comment how much you cant wait to have that shower tonight, as its been days and you smell like a foot. How do they know you dont know the entire high school football team or a cop in the next town?
You control how the driver perceives you.

Now when I have been in a situation where they wanted to get a little out of hand, I can and have done several different things.
~In my left chest pocket(easy to access with right hand) I keep my wallet, iPod and a quality folding knife. Ive never had to actually use it, although I have brandished it. Say to them 'look man, I have cash, I just dont want trouble'. At which point you fake reach for the cash, and uncover the knife. Pedophiles and homo-rapists are the scum of all that is human, and the result is theyre the biggest p*ssies on the planet. A computer nerd would fight me to death for his keyboard, a pedohile wants to 'prey' on kids or women because hes too weak to do anything else. The minute you show hostlitlty, resistance or anything else they are not prepared for, the chances are they will immediately throw you out. If not, you have a knife pointed at him, and you *always* very calmly direct the next series of events. Remind him that unless he wants to crash his mother's 98 Grand Prix into a ditch, which you can handle no problem, he should pull over. Its all about calm, dominant and assertive, just like Ceasar Milan, the dog whisperer hahaha. but, no seriously... its how its done.
Im certainly not the biggest guy in the world, Im usually fairly clean shaven and have boyish looks. I could definately be overpowered, but its not a physical thing; its 100% mental. And if you can flip a switch to act mental, he will piss his pants. You look him directly in the eye(they wont reciprocate) and let them know if he wants to f*ck with you, he can have a go. youre just going to beat the absolute f*ck out of him in the process. He needs to keep focus on the road, wheel and his dainty face. You destroy his car, nose and busted smile, he will not conitune. I dont think they find bum sex as enjoyable when theyre bleeding profusely from the face, in so much pain they cant see or think.

If female, and he tries something, IMMEDIATELY pop him a good one on the bridge of the nose. and dont stop. Be vocal whislt throwing your bony(very painful ) fists. You, in the melee,(he will not be looking at the road) scream a cop just whizzed by. He didnt see it, and neither did you. He just thinks you saw it and this will result in him ACTUALLY shitting his pants. Never stop punching his nose, teeth and eyes. Scratch, claw and fight him as though he was going to kill you. Trust me, he isnt going to kill you, hes just focusing on getting back to his computer chair and bwankey.He is now wondering whether or not he will survive.
Ive seen what a 90lb girl is capable of if she is desperate, and it would make me second guess anything. Remember that party, Murray?

Now, the worst nightmare for a hitcher; Ive had one. A big, strong, ex-football type wearing his Tapout shirt who thinks hippies are peices of sh*t, and funny to f*ck with. I dont really look like a hippie in my Helly Hansen, but I have long hair, sometimes tied back, and I hitch, a hippie thing to do. He wants any money you have and your iPod, becuase hes just returned from the gym, and is too much of a p*ssy to fight someone his size at a bar. Oblidge, pretend youre going to comply. Again, the hidden knife will throw him off. He doesnt have one, trust me.
I was in a car when this exact situation happened. He even jumped on the phone to scare me; tell me his buddies were waiting up at the light. I calmly replied good, then they will see your hacked up face you f*cking pussy. and I motioned to grab his head(hes still driving at 90) and with my far hand, slowly let him see the knife was open. He slammed on the brakes and it jerked me forward. Before he got a chance to do a single thing but cry(he did, he was so scared) I jumped out of the stopped car. I didnt run away, instead I was so angry, I turned, smashed the passenger window with the butt of the knife, and told him I knew his car (of course an Integra)and plate number, and that he should f*ck off while he still had the legs to carry him. (Brad Pitt in Snatch, baby). He was about 26, 220lbs. I was 21, 155lbs and I had him crying like the nancy he was. He apologized and drove away slowly. I was in shock, among other emotions, but it was still a bummer. One v one, no knife, he probably would have destroyed me. I could tell he trained MMA, but like the majority of those c*nts, he failed to realized fighting is 90% mental, only 10% physical. I had won the mental battle, and he didnt know what the eff just happened. His friends were never waiting, instead I think he went home and cried his little eyes out.
This story will be written in more detail as the story continues. It was not during my trek out west, rather it happened while I was out there.

Again, you control how you are perceived to the driver.
The odds of anything like this happening are so minute, it can't paralyze your fears of travelling. It happened in Canada, and Im off to work with Child

And most of the time, after these attacks, our reactions are the best rehabilitation for these monsters. It trumps over jails etc. Once some creepy 44yr odl peddy just has the absolute cork beaten out of him, he isnt going to try it again for a long mofo-ing time.
I pray these things dont happen to us hitchers, restoring faith in humanity and strangers. But if they do, stay calm. He has no idea what hes doing either, and you do.

and that being said; the issue of THE LAW.

Its true, chances are most of us hitchers have some sort of minor prior, which doesnt matter in the eyes of a rookie cop.
The driver could have robbed, raped and beaten you up, you are still the hitchiker in his new Mazda. Its always an uphill battle if the police are involved and youre hitching, and to put your self into the mercy of the law(worst thing of life) for a situation in which you are truly the victim is the worst. It goes without saying to avoid it at all costs, but sometimes; its unavoidable.

Even if youve beaten him up, wrecked/crashed his car, he was still at the intial fault, as you were reacting, not acting. He wont go to the police and tell them anything.
If he does, its an awful situation, your word vs his. Account Manager vs hippie hitchiker, always a difficult feat to overcome. Though, honestly usually prevails in my eyes....-even with the law.

If its gotten so bad somebody needs medical attention; provide it, anonymously. If someone needs to go to jail, use your discretion, as invovling the police can seriously hampen a hitch trip.

These are all 'what ifs' in the extreme of cases, and seldom ever happen. but when they do, trusting your instincts and remaining calm is the bottom line.

and f*ck the police, smiley face.

o o o

Ok, so Ill let you digest that yummyness. I know its going to raise some brows, and have you wondering about it all...but heres something else from the other side of the fence...

Let Me Stay For A Day.

later skater..

Ludovic Hubler

Michael Jordan to basketball, Gretzky to hockey, you get the point. Not that hitchhiking or hitchikers can be compared to world class athletes, but this guy was the one who grabbed hitchhiking by the bollocks, and created a media frenzy and massive appeal.

Ludovic Hubler was in 1977, in the northeast of France. He decided to do a world circumnavigation without leaving the surface.->coolest shite ever. He left his family and home in Jan 1, 2003, and set out to hitchhike across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the North, Central and South Americas. Transportation was solely reliant on hitching cars and boats. It was initially a heavily covered event in Europe, as the idea seemed somewhat ludicrous. The dude made headlines before, when in a hitchhiking race he advertised as having only €5. He made it across, beating all of the competitors and cheekily flashed the same five Euros at the finish line. He ended up successfully hitching around the world, finishing recently. Its probably one of the greatest concepts in travel Ive heard of. Pretty crazy, but pretty remarkable. He evaded corrupt cops, gangsters, mobs, wild animals, the whole lot. It is refreshing to see however, as we are a society too afraid to go anywhere or do anything, and here is a Gringo hitching all over the place, unscathed. His motive was to circumnavigate without spending a penny on transportation. He was very successful. It wouldn't be my driving force, but a brilliant idea.

His website.