Archive for November, 2009

Hitchhiker

Have I told you about the hitchhiker I picked up last  Thursday?  Oh, man. It was one of the strangest experiences to-date.  So, I took the backroads from work, and saw her at the top of Skyline. She just needed a ride to downtown. I thought, what the hey– I was heading downtown anyway, and she was kinda cute. She carried a backpack and small box wrapped in brown paper with a rope binding.  She threw the box in the trunk before sitting in the front passenger seat, her backpack on her lap.  She said her name was Kendra.  She had a great smile.

We were chatting about the Northwest weather, and I casually asked her what her story was.  Her smile disappeared and she simply put that she’s just a little strapped for cash.  I told her that was too easy to happen these days especially because of the economy.  I inquired if she had any family here in Portland, and she  quipped at me, stating that I was asking too many questions.  I said, “What? I’m just making conversation.”  She apologized and told me she’s just a little tightly-wound lately.

The fuel light came on my dash, and I told her that I needed to stop at a gas station real quick.  She said that was cool because she had to use the bathroom anyway.  We got to the gas station and she got her backpack and beelined to the restroom inside.  I got the nuzzle in place, and proceeded to wash my car’s windows.  That was when I noticed a dark liquid dripping at the back of the car.  I thought I had a gas or oil leak and was cursing at the wind.  I opened my trunk to grab a rag, and realized that it wasn’t oil or gas that was leaking.  The box that Kendra had been carrying seemed to now be soaked at the bottom.  What the–?  Is that blood?

As if on cue, Kendra came back and stood rigidly in front of me and the open car trunk.  “What are you doing?!” she yelled.  I told her that I was just going to get a rag, and asked her what was in the box.  “None of your business,” she replied, sternly.  “Look,” I said, “were just a few miles from downtown, and I still want to give you a ride and all. But I don’t feel comfortable doing so without knowing what’s in the box.”

“I said it’s none of your goddam business!” she repeated.

I told her that it was my business and that she either could tell me what was in the box or we could end the ride right there.  Just then, Kendra took off running.  I yelled at her that she forgot her box, and she didn’t even look back.  She just kept on running until she rounded a corner and disappeared.

I said an expletive and returned my attention to the damned box.  By then, it was sopping wet nearly to the top.  I slowly undid the bow on the rope, careful not to touch the liquid– still believing it was blood.  I tore off the top covering, and opened the box.

I couldn’t believe what was in it…

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What If You Could…?

I recently read about how writer Evan Ratliff “vanished” for an entire month this past summer to determine how easy (or otherwise) it was to get off the grid in the digital age.

And I got to wondering: What if…?

What if I can simply leave my current life and start anew?  Get a new name, a new identity, make up a new past.  I could be anyone or anything.  The possibilities would seem to be endless.  Well, probably as endless as a source of income may provide.  But that’s just probably me and my money dependency talking.

What would force me to do it?  A lousy job?  A failed relationship?  Money troubles?  Or would it be for something more spiritual in nature like the old adage about “finding oneself?”

Then I got to thinking:  Would the act be viewed as defeatist?  Weak?  Would people think less of me?  Actually, would I really care at that point?  After all, I would’ve left all of those perceptions– those expectations– behind.

What about you?  Would you do it?  Why or why not?