I’m not sure what kind of “crisis” I’m having at the age of 31, but it’s enough of one where I packed up my sweaty life in Houston and moved to the North Shore of Oahu for a few months to write a book about my ridiculous life.
Those three months proved to be quite a drastic change from my regularly scheduled life in Texas. For starters, I didn’t wear makeup (unless you count sunscreen and chapstick), my shoes consisted of running shoes or ratty flip-flops that smelled like ass and skimpy bikinis took the place of bra and underwear. You know, embracing my inner surf child every way possible.
Probably the biggest change was that for the first time since I was 16, I didn’t have a car. The cost of shipping my Tahoe to the island wasn’t justifiable for such a short time so I resorted to hitchhiking.
Sure, there’s a perfectly decent bus system on the island, but I’m too impatient to sit around waiting so I relied solely on my thumb. Out of all my body parts, who would have thought it would be my thumb getting me so far in life?
The oft-movie quoted line, “Gas, Ass or Grass,” isn’t really true (at least not for most of the ones who picked me up), but there are a few rules you must abide by, in no particular order.
The Rules of Hitchhiking from a Blonde on an Island
- It doesn’t matter how old you are, your parents will never approve of this activity.
- It still doesn’t matter how old you are, approximately 95% of your Facebook friends will not approve of this activity, although they will LIKE your FB status and always ask for more stories living vicariously through your dangerous antics.
- No matter where you hitchhike, someone who looks eerily similar to you has died this exact way and every person who picks you up will tell you that, right off the bat as a friendly conversation starter.
- When trying to get picked up, look as presentable and attractive as possible.
- Once inside the car, look as unattractive and messy as possible.
- You can in fact TNT (which stands for thanks but no thanks) someone who has offered you a ride, if you get a bad feeling.
- If your dad mails you a taser and mace, you should probably take them with you on each ride, but it probably won’t help having them stuffed deep inside your backpack.
- Although you might think it’s safer to hold your cell phone in your hand for a potential emergency, it makes it super awkward to say, “oh, I don’t have a phone” when the creepy guy drops you off at the local coffee shop and asks for your number.
- Just because they have a Biblical name, like Saul for example, doesn’t mean they won’t try and take their pants off while driving you. (You should exit immediately, even if the car is still in motion or “Saul” will promptly push you out for wasting his time. Trust me, he’s 67 years old, so his time is very precious and important to him.)
- While it may seem sleazy, if you’re in a hurry, the quickest way to be picked up is in your bikini. (Retraction: the absolute quickest way is in your bikini with a case of Pacifico heaved over your shoulder leaving the grocery store.)
- Be weary of anyone who U-turns to pick you up and doesn’t mind going 15 miles the other direction even when their gas tank is fluttering on E.
- Don’t get dropped off at your actual house. At least 45 men on the North Shore are under the guise that I live at the Chevron on Kam Hwy. Same goes for telling the driver that you live alone and other tidbits of info that could be the opening scenes of a Lifetime movie.
- Tweet, text or Facebook a photo of yourself (like a “last seen wearing” post) or text someone the make, model and info on the car once you’ve been picked up, just for safe measures. If you do this and decide to go MIA from social media for a while, prepare to alarm all of the 5,773 followers you have.
- Make sure the door opens from the inside. (My way of checking was to purposely not close the door completely so I had to reopen it before taking off and shut it tighter – if the door handle doesn’t work; you know you’re in trouble and SOL. Another tactic is to keep the window rolled down.)
- Make friends with the bartenders and other staff where you visit. Many times, once the sun went down, the bartenders would bribe other regulars to drive me home by offering to pickup their bar tab. This worked in my favor each and every time.
- Don’t judge. Remember, these people are the ones with the car, not you.
- Never say, “This is my last hitch.” That’s like skiing or snowboarding and saying one last run and tearing your ACL on the final run. Don’t jinx yourself anymore than you already are.
Jayme Lamm is a freelance sports and travel writer based in Houston and is currently in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Follow her travels for sporting events and check her out on Twitter.
Jayme last batch of travels taught her 23 Things that Only Happen at the ESPYS and were a big improvement over Dispatches from Hell’s Neverending Bachelorette Party.