Highway Song

Back On The Highway, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
Back On The Road Again

Wapakoneta, Ohio
Dec. 15, 1970

When we reached Ohio, it was raining and snowing. We were already wet when some kids stopped and picked us up. We were hitching from a good spot (walking distance to a gas station), and it was night, so I asked the kid if he planned to drop us off at a good place to hitch from (otherwise we would wait for a better ride). The driver of the car said, “No problem.” An hour later we were dropped off at a country road exit, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night. I was pissed. If it wasn’t for Denny holding me back, there might have been some blood spilled on the highway. Instead, after the car pulled away, there were only two very cold and depressed hitchhikers on the highway, standing alone, in the middle of a sleet storm.

Trying to catch a ride at 2 a.m. in a sleet storm was impossible. We were freezing, and all we had was a wool blanket and a pair of
rubber waders (On his way out to San Francisco, Denny forgot that he left his favorite fishing waders in the trunk of the car. Rather than throw them away, he had been lugging them around). We were freezing to death, and we had to get out of the weather. We were already under an overpass (the one where we were abandoned), so we crawled up to the flat ledge directly under the steal girders and I wrapped the blanket around the both of us, the same blanket that I had been carrying around since Arizona. With Denny already inside his waders, and the blanket around both of us, I pressed up against Denny’s back in an attempt to keep warm. We tried to sleep, but it didn’t work, we were just too wet and cold. Faced with our uncomfortable, even dangerous situation, we went back down to the highway and started walking. I could barely walk I was shivering so
badly.

Finally, an Ohio pig stopped. He said, “It’s against to law to
hitchhike on the expressway,” and then he took us to jail. I still
had the acid in my shirt pocket when we entered the police station. I was so stiff and cold I couldn’t dispose of it. It was securely tucked under my sweater and my jacket. I didn’t want to arouse suspicion, so I just let it be. At the station, the pig at the desk became judge, jury and executioner. He fined us $10. each, which was fair, except I didn’t have $10. I had spent the last of my money on the acid. Denny bailed himself out and had $4. left over, which he put up for my bail, but that wasn’t enough. After the pigs realized they weren’t going to get any more money, they accepted my watch as a substitute for the other $6. They knew I wouldn’t come back with the $6. and get my watch back, so they got a pretty good deal. With no money (we couldn’t even get them to give us a dime for coffee), no watch, and still cold and hungry, the same pig who arrested us took us back to the highway and dropped us off, but not before telling us that it was against the law to hitchhike on the expressway. I’m not complaining. At least I didn’t get busted for holding acid.

In spite of everything, and after another twelve grueling hours on the highway, we arrived home in one piece. I swore off hitchhiking after that. Hitchhiking had been good to me. I learned a lot from the people that had picked me up, but what I needed to learn now was probably not going to come from any more hitchhiking. Besides, never again would I put myself through the kind of torture that I had just survived.

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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