Etiquette for the Modern-Day Hitchhiker
Hitchhiking is a lost art, practiced these days only by a few faithful burned-out purists. However, it still can be a handy way to get around, especially in remote locales in the U.S. and widely practiced in Europe. It is up to the adventurous schnorrer to keep the hitchhiking tradition alive.
Just like with any social occasion, there are a unique set of rules of conduct with hitchhiking. Remember that you’re a guest in the flatbed truck with the Confederate flag bumper sticker, so try to do Emily Post or Martha Stewart proud.
Remember the following:
1) It is not polite to drink from your ride’s open container of Budweiser.
2) It is not polite, nor wise, to touch any firearms lying about in sun visors or other locales.
3) Answer truthfully to the inevitable question of whether you have any controlled substances on you.
4) When a ride has the sticker “Ass, Grass, or Gas, nobody rides for free” affixed to the window or bumper, clarify which of the three is expected in return before entering the car.
5) Learn the art of the noncommittal grunt to whatever crackpot political theories your host proclaims.
6) Do not ask for a ride for just a few blocks down the street, even if it’s up a hill.
7) No matter what you’re sitting on or how sticky it is, tell your host that you have plenty of room and the car isn’t dirty.
8) Even if it’s raining in the middle of the night and you’re miles from anywhere, thank your ride for how far he or she gets you on your journey. Refrain from sighing and/or weeping.
9) Be prepared to answer cheerfully about what you are not (Iranian, queer, a liberal) before your host will commit to a ride. If you are a member of at least one of the subgroups the host fears, decide if honesty or safety is the best policy.
10) If your host chooses to demonstrate his or her driving prowess by speeding, drinking, driving with knees or reaching into the backseat with oncoming traffic approaching, refrain from comment unless absolutely necessary. When possible, dig your fingernails into the upholstery. Also, try to keep a quiver out of your voice when asking to stop early.
Craig is a penname for Craig. His full identity is on a need-to-know basis.