Beware Rampant Optimism

Beware Rampant Optimism

Hey Team,

You know how I said that in my head I believe I lead a semi-charmed life? Well, something terrible happened today.

I intended to set out in the early morning to maximize time spent by the side of the road in the hopes of hitchhiking to Nashville, TN from Charlottesville, VA. Unfortunately, because I was up until 6am trying to organize a place to stay, just in case by some miracle I actually made it the 548 miles to Nashville, I ended up sleeping until 10am and wasn’t packed and ready to leave until 11:30.

Then an awesome goodbye lunch and a generous ride to the freeway, both courtesy of Mitchell, meant I wasn’t officially trying to catch a ride until almost 1pm. From there things went pretty much on par with the first hitchhiking attempt. It was a lot of standing around in the bitter cold, with a cardboard sign, vainly hoping for a little generosity. About an hour deep into “the boring” I decided my sign was to blame and made a newer, less informative sign in the hopes it would be easier to read at high speed.

Another half hour later I got my first bite. “Which way are you going?” I looked down at my sign that read, “81 S” and said, “South…on 81.”

“Yeah, but how far?”

“I guess as far as you’re going. I want to get to 40 west and Nashville eventually.”

“Oh…I’m…not going that way,” he said suspiciously.

Even before he had left, another car pulled in right behind him. It was Mr. Walton who had seen me from the freeway standing a couple hundred yards down the onramp and decided to turn around and go back for me because the “Holy Spirit told me I needed to.”

That makes Mr. Walton my first ever hitchhiking host! He drove me 10 or fifteen miles down the road to a better onramp with two truck stops nearby. I stood outside one of the truck stops for about ten minutes before I heard a whistle and turned to see Vernon, an ex-marine/professional ultimate fighter/karaoke buff who took pity on me.

“Where you headed?”

“81 South”

“Well, I can take you a ways but I’ll be turning on 40 west.”

“That’s where I need to go! How far are you going on 40?”

“New Mexico.”

So, I spent the next six hours talking fighting and Amtrekker with a really cool guy before getting dropped off less than a mile and a half from where I needed to be!

NOW, instead of thoroughly disproving my beliefs in a semi-charmed life, I’ve only managed to strengthen my ridiculously optimistic outlook and may have even moved myself closer to the realm of perceived full-charmed. Terrible.

Or maybe I actually am the luckiest man alive. Good to know.

Pardon me while I go find something else colossally stupid to do.

I’m done.


Lookit what you can do!

Or you could just donate your time to promotion…that would work too.

8 Replies to “Beware Rampant Optimism”

  1. yay!! take THAT, number 15!! mr. walton sounds awesome, he couldn’t help you, but he knew where to drop you off so you could more easily get to your destination!

    when i read that something terrible happened, i was very concerned. good to see that you were just kidding!

    what are you up to in nashville, amtrekker?

  2. I used to hitch a lot when I lived in Australia near Byron Bay and as well when I lived near Whistler. I made some amazing friends and had crazy good adventures after opening myself up to the possibility of the randomness of it.

    It’s such a shame that it’s not that cool or safe to hitch anymore or that people won’t pick folks up as much (unless you’re near a hippy or ski town or on a small island then it’s common) because it’s a great way to meet someone and learn about their life, kinda like a rolling version of couchsurfing 🙂

    Glad it worked out and yes, take that number 15, ka kow!

  3. That is awesome. The funny thing to think about is that if you had caught a ride any earlier or later to any other destination, you would have missed Vernon altogether. Think about that.

  4. gos to show that truckers are good ,did you try to talk him into letting you drive the truck what kind of truck and what was he halling

  5. <p>I think I screwed something up somewhere. I caught a ride from near a truck stop but Vernon was driving an early 90s grand am.</p>
    <p>Still, he was awesome. And yeah, I was totally thinking the same thing illot. Who knows whether or not things would have gone so well if I had left when I wanted to? Lucky.</p>

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