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”.
I did need a lift and I got one. Thanks, Chris.
I’m so glad to have been able to give you a lift. Helping others brightens my day.
When I was in my late teens and into my mid-twenties, my cars would break down A LOT. So I’d be stuck wherever A LOT. I would always have someone stop to offer help. Sometimes I would accept the help and other times I would decline, all decisions based on my “weirdo” radar, of course. Probably was pretty stupid but nothing bad ever happened. guess my radar worked after all. ha. 🙂
I just noticed you updated your post with a pic of your luxurious, flowing hair. Gina will be thrilled! Gerald used to have a mullet back in the day, but unfortunately I didn’t know him back in the day so I never got to see his prized hair–he said all the girls just loved it–for myself.
Having a mullet was something I always tried to avoid, but one of the reasons I finally cut it all off was it was starting to get thin on top and a friend accused me of having a mullet. And that much hair was starting to get annoying. It was cool when I was young and could put it in a ponytail, but as I got older I just didn’t want to bother anymore.
My driver’s license photo still has me with long hair, though, and I love the way it freaks people out when they need to see my ID.
That reminds me of a friend who named her car Fritz, because it was always on the…anyway I’m glad your radar worked. I know the chances of meeting up with a serial killer or even someone who’s dangerous are extremely small, but still you have to watch out. There’s always a chance you’ll end up as a statistic.
Well now I want to see a photo of you with luxurious, flowing hair. I clicked on the link in the story but there was no photo. Boooooo! I probably shouldn’t admit this but one time when my husband and I were first married (and it will be 21 years soon) I got pissed at him at a shopping center and took off in the car. I don’t even remember what we argued about. Obviously it was enough to make me drive off and leave him and make him walk 2 1/2 miles home. I don’t think we even had cell phones at this point. In any case a kind person noticed him walking on the road home and picked him up and took him home. So he actually showed at our house shortly after me. Which kind of took the wind out of my sails. Yeah, I can kind of be an asshole sometimes.
Funny, 2 1/2 miles doesn’t sound like that far–but then I walk more than a mile most days. I’m glad you kind of got the wind taken out of your sails. Even if he’d walked the entire way home he was going to be home eventually and either way you’d have to deal with him. And congratulations on making it more than two decades–here’s to twenty-one more.
Years ago I decided that it was a good idea to negotiate LA by bus (spoiler alert: it isn’t). After hours and hours of trundling around never ending suburbs and general bowels of Southern California, I eventually got off and went into a convenience store to ask the best way to get back to Burbank (where I was staying) by public transport. The guy started at me like I had two heads and nearly had a fit, swore that there was absolutely no way on earth that anyone could travel from where we were (wherever that was) to Burbank. I thanked him all the same and headed back to the bus stop – cut two three seconds later he came screeching up in this rusty old banger and insisted that he was going to drive me to Burbank. More than likely he was a nice dude genuinely out to help, but I was a bit relieved that the bus showed up just then…
In those kinds of situations I always look at the context. If it seems like someone is offering me a ride that will take them out of their way I stay back because that seems like they have an ulterior motive. If they’re already headed that way, well, maybe it’s just a stranger being nice. You’re very brave, though. I’ve tried negotiating LA by car and that was nightmarish enough. I’ve been around parts of Long Beach on the free bus service, but that was as far as I wanted to go.
Your Inigo Montoya hair could have been a great line to keep creepers from trying to pick you up at the bus stop.
“Hello, I am Inigo Montoya, you killed my fellow bus goers. Prepare to die.”
I still might use that line. On second thoughts it’ll just prompt somebody to call the cops. “All I did was offer this guy a ride and he threatened to kill me!” And with my luck the bus would be late and I’d still be standing there when the cops arrived.
I offered a woman in my neighborhood a lift to the bus stop because it was so ungodly hot (last year) She took me up on the offer, but I could see her hesitation.
Also, I am not a six fingered man, so don’t kill me.
She must have believed you were safe to ride with. Little did she know…