I finally understand that line in the song Strawberry Wine, where she sings “and he had a car.”
Recently, I wrote about the rules of hitchhiking, based on a few glorious months I spent living on the North Shore of Oahu writing my book.
My hitchhiking was a mix of an attempt to be frugal, desperately seeking adventure wherever I could find it, impatience at its finest, and lastly, pure stupidity.
Here are just a few samplings of conversations I’ve had while hitching on the North Shore…
Never Flirt after Murder Roleplay
Retired Trashman: Why do you hitchhike? You’re a girl. How old are you?
Me: Yes I am, but I don’t have a car. 31.
Him: Aren’t you afraid of being raped or murdered?
Me: I guess, but I have mace and a taser with me.
Him (with hand motions): But before you could grab either, I’d be able to smash your head through the window and you’d go boom with blood and stuff. Plus, what if my passenger door couldn’t be opened from the inside?
Me: Oh wow, an imagination, cool.
Him: So how come you’re 31 and not married yet?
Me: Wish I knew dude.
Him: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: No, he just dumped me.
Him: Say what? That ain’t right. Has he seen you in a bikini?
Me: Yeah, a few times.
Him: Oh he must be blind. You don’t want a blind guy anyways.
Me: Well this is my stop. Thanks for not bashing my head through your window.
Him: Anytime. I’d love to read your book. Is it a picture book? Or does it come in braille for your blind ex-boyfriend?
Total Opposite of Previous Guy
Me: Why do you have a sheet covering your front seat?
Hitchhiker Guy: It’s a classic car; it’s easier to keep it clean that way before I sell it.
Me: Oh, thank goodness, I thought it was for purposes of washing away the DNA from girls you pick up hitchhiking or something.
Hitchhiker guy: Yeah. You watch too much CSI.
Me: Nah, Lifetime.
And Who Made Him a Jackass, Sir? WHO?
Oldest living man I’ve ever met who is barely audible: I have 32 girls and 4 boys. All the boys are jackasses.
Me: Wait, you have 36 children?
Old man: Well kids, and grandkids, but that’s counting all my daughter’s kids from her one-night stands.
Me: Yeah, they are still kids, so probably a good idea to count them too.
Old man (pointing to the child in the backseat): It’s Willy-Boy’s birthday today, he’s five but I’m not getting him a present except a slap in the face because he’s a jackass.
Me: Why is he a jackass?
Old man (ignoring question): I just took your picture.
Me (getting creeped out): Huh?
Old man: Yeah, in my head. My name is Camera.
Backhanded Compliment Guy
Guy: Can I get your number? You’re not usually my type – I usually date fat girls, but I figured since you’re hitchhiking I have a chance with you.
Me: Thanks for the ride! So what do you do out here on the North Shore, do you work?
Lady with the longest grayest hair ever: I make ceramics.
Me: Oh that sounds cool. Wait, what are ceramics?
Lady: Well, I make a lot of pipes.
Me: Oh, cool. Like, to smoke out of?
Lady: Yeah, just like tobacco products. And if you like weed, that works too.
Me: Must be a great market for that out here.
Lady: Yeah, but mine are unique, I shape them after stuff and give them cool names. I just made one for Willie Nelson because of a friend of his asked me to for his birthday.
Me: Willie’s a legit dude, I’m from Texas.
Lady: Our most popular one is shaped like a toilet bowl, because when people smoke, they always say, “That’s good s**t,” so I made a toilet bowl, get it?
Honesty Is the Best Policy, but It May Cost You a Lady’s Company
Guy: Hey, do you want a ride?
Me: That’d be awesome thanks; I’m going to Sunset.
Guy (getting out of his car): Ok, but you can only get in and out through the driver’s side door, the passenger one doesn’t open.
Me: Oh, no thanks, I’ll just wait for another ride.
And There’s a Universe in Your Fingernail
Old man smoking a blunt: Do you surf?
Me: Not really. I have a few times but I’m terrified of these waves out here. It amazes me how all these little kids, like 3 and 4 years old are so fearless and can not only rip the waves, but swim like little fish.
Old man: Yeah, what’s that saying? We’re all born from the ___?
Old man: Nah man, the womb. If you think about it, they’re born in that amnesiac fluid junk and that’s like water, ya know? So they just came out of that fluid and then they jump in the ocean, which is also fluid. It just makes sense. And sperm swim, right? So swimming is swimming ya know?
Me: I think you mean amniotic fluid?
Old man: Yeah, sure. You wanna take a hit?
Me: No thanks!
But It Was a Really Nice Try
Cute surfer: So what are you doing out here on the North Shore?
Me: Just out here writing a book.
Surfer: About what?
Me: It sounds lame unless you know me, and it might still sound lame, but it’s about my life. Very self-deprecating about the stuff I’ve gone through, mistakes I’ve made, dumb ex-boyfriends, that kind of stuff.
Surfer: Want to write about the guy you banged while hitchhiking?
Me: Um, probably not, but thanks for asking.
And You Have a Card for that…?
Jamaican pro surfer: You must be young to be hitchhiking.
Me: Why would you say that?
Jamaican: Because a smart wise girl old enough to know better wouldn’t be hitchhiking. It’s dangerous.
Me: I can handle my own.
Jamaican: This Island loses a lot of blonde haoles like you all the time. It’s not safe.
Me: I can handle my own, but thanks for the head’s up.
Jamaican: Why doesn’t a good-looking girl like you find yourself a sugar daddy to just buy you a car?
Me: I own a car, it’s just back home in Texas.
Jamaican: Well, do you want a sugar daddy out here?
Me: No thanks.
Jamaican: Here’s my card if you ever need anything.
Me: You have a card being a former pro surfer?
Jamaican: No, I sell weed.
Funny and scary stories aside, hitchhiking was also an adventure and taught me quite a bit. On several occasions, I’d get picked up and end up hanging with the driver(s) for the day, whether they were tourists or locals just out for fun.
On one of my last days on the North Shore, two Australians picked me up who were heading to the west side of the Island for some kite surfing, so naturally, I tagged along for one of the best days I’d had in Hawaii. We surfed, drank, and ended up going on my favorite hike (the Pillboxes in Lanikai).
Probably the dumbest part of my hitchhiking adventures was jumping off that “famous” cliff rock from Forgetting Sarah Marshall with a random guy who just picked me up and swore it was safe. After seeing photos of myself jumping off the cliff (included), I barely cleared the rocks and realized I was in fact with a complete stranger and that it was likely I’d end up like Tori Spelling in a Lifetime Movie.
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.