When I see people walking along the road–especially busy roads where there’s no sidewalk and not even much of a shoulder–I feel guilty. I’ve walked along roads like that and it’s a miserable and even terrifying experience. Sometimes it’s an older guy I see stocking the shelves at the grocery store. He’s always friendly, always smiling, and I feel like I should stop and at least offer him a ride. It’s almost always in places where there’s just no place to stop, though, and because he’s walking on the right side I’m headed in the opposite direction.
Sometimes when I see people at a bus stop I’m tempted to pull over and offer them a lift, but what will they think? I could be some crazy guy. I could be a serial killer. Who in their right mind offers a complete stranger a ride? It’s sad, but that’s the world we live in. If nothing else I’d feel like I was rubbing my privileged status in their faces.
A few times while waiting for the bus or while walking to the stop I’ve had people pull over and offer to give me a ride. So what kind of person does that? Well, with one exception it was guys in pickup trucks, and it’s never happened since I got my hair cut. I used to have hair down to my shoulders, or past my shoulders at times. I got used to being mistaken for a woman, which never bothered me–sometimes I’ve even found it amusing. It irks, me, though, when I look back and think about why those guys were pulling over. Maybe I’m being unfair but I’m pretty sure they weren’t just interested in being nice. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t realize I was a guy.
The one exception is when my sister-in-law recognized me at a bus stop. She pulled over and offered me a ride. Ir was very nice of her, and I accepted because I’ve never seen any evidence that she’s a serial killer.
Update: here’s a shot of me back when I was sporting what a friend called “the Inigo Montoya look”.