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August 7 2023:
Got picked up by a truck driver immediately after getting packed up and sticking my thumb out. He said he didn’t want to leave me there when he knew the rain was about to come in. Apparently, I just barely missed it. There was an entire thunderstorm with lightning and heavy rain making its way in behind us.
He drove me a good hour and a half, then dropped me off at another rest area. There, I waited there for almost two hours in the rain with no luck getting a hitch. It was a hit or miss with the rest areas. So, I did what I normally never did, and that was ask people for a ride. One man said he couldn’t help me out, even just by taking me to the next exit over. I could tell he was freaked out by me. I found it interesting how some people were so nervous just by looking into my eyes, as if rejecting any form of soul connection I was giving them.
At this point, I was soaked to the bone from standing in the rain, so I waited under the roof of the building beside the door. An older gentleman came out and greeted me with a full smile and kind eyes. I appreciated that he approached me without fear; he was so mindful in his mannerisms. We got to talking and eventually I asked if he would be willing to drive me to the next exit over and he was so happy to help me out. He said he would drive me even further down I-70!
He drove an old school van and we talked stories of traveling and his adventures fishing in Canada. He had a daughter that was my mom’s age. He also shared that he had been a preacher for several decades, spreading the Word and Wisdom of God around the world.
We were both so grateful for one another’s company. He said how much of a blessing it was for him to have me in his space and I told him I really appreciated his trust in me. He was so joyous for me and said he could tell how happy I was living the way I did. Then, he dropped me off at a Waffle House and gave me a gift card so I could buy myself a hefty breakfast.
I sat down in a booth beside the kitchen and the waitress was so sweet and welcoming. I asked if they had french toast and she said no.
“Kinda figured,” I said, “since it’s called Waffle House.”
She lifted her finger and said, “Hold on, honey,” then walked up to the cook who looked as though he was fresh out of prison—tatted from head to toe and a tough demeanor.
She whispered something to him, then came back and in a ‘down low’ tone said, “Hey sweetie, my cook said he could make you some french toast.”
I looked over at him and mouthed “thank you” and he gave a head nod.
After I ate, I walked to the on ramp across the street and got picked up by a woman who had an old school truck that she was very proud of. She was an artist who owned her own business and was super inspired by God. She preached His Word numerous times.
She drove the truck as though she had been on the road all her life, casually dodging all the cars that would cut her off. She would get triggered by ‘bad’ drivers very easily and it would always make me burst out laughing. Shortly after, she dropped me off with the inner knowing/trust that I would be fine and that I would be taken care of for I was under God’s wing. I loved when people were aware that I would be okay (no matter what) instead of perceiving me as a little girl stranded in the middle of nowhere. I truly believed that their trust in my experience released a lot of hidden tension and fear that was being felt in the world as a whole.
Then, I got a ride by a woman who dropped me off at McDonald’s and bought me some food. I had officially made it through Ohio and was now in Indiana! I sat inside the restaurant and called CTM to catch up with her. I took her in the bathroom with me as I took a shit and there was no toilet paper, so I called for someone to help in the next stall over. CTM was laughing hysterically over the phone because the woman’s tone seemed as if she was absolutely annoyed by my lack of observation upon going into the stall. She ended up giving me an entire giant roll of toilet paper that was bigger than my head instead of just ripping off a few pieces.
After that shit show, I said bye to CTM, then walked about half a mile to the on-ramp. I had numerous people pull over, but the vibe seemed really off with everyone who stopped, so I politely declined and just kept waiting. It was a solid spot where I was at, so I wasn’t worried about it.
Then, a truck driver pulled over and waved his hand at me, inviting me to hop in. I walked over to him as he hopped out of his truck. I found him to be really handsome. He was tall, Arabic, had a masculine build and dark facial features. He had a heavy accent as well when he spoke.
“Are you carrying any weapons?” he asked.
“Nope!” I said.
Then, his energy changed as he grew a bit more shy. His voice turned a bit shaky.
“Do you… do anything?” he asked.
Oh, here we go, I thought to myself.
“What do you mean if I do anything? I asked.
“Do you do anything sexual, like suck dick or fuck?” he inquired.
I looked at him dead in the eye and said, “No,” as I shook my head.
He proceeded to offer me a lot of money to which I cut him off and said, “I’m not doing this right now,” and walked back to the on-ramp.
Over the years, if I were to have accepted the amount of money men have offered me to hook up with them, I probably would have been loaded by now. And to each their own, but it really just didn’t feel resonant with me, even if the person was exactly my type. It seemed to lose the appeal for me entirely when a man offered me money for sexual acts. It made me feel like I was giving my power away. I had sex with men because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to—the rules didn’t seem to change depending on the circumstance.
I did feel a bit bad by how I handled the situation, because I just flat out expressed annoyance/disappointment and walked off. I could tell that he was really nervous summoning up the courage to ask for what he thought he needed. And truly, I did appreciate that he asked before I got in his truck instead of making assumptions about me and trying to get his way when I was already inside. I think in the moment, I just got fed up because prior to him, numerous guys had stopped to ask if I needed a ride, followed by licking their lips and asking if I had a boyfriend and so I just happened to take it out on him.
Shortly after that experience, I got a ride by a former hitchhiker named Gregory who drove me straight to Ada’s. She was my manager back at the Greek restaurant I used to work at in Chicago. So, I hung out with her man until she made it back from work. I ate one of their delicious chocolate cupcakes because their son was very adamant about making sure I ate something the second I got there.
When Ada made it back, we stayed up a bit and caught up on things. She let me get everything taken care of—laundry, shower and food.
She looked over at her man and said, “You know hitchhiking is a choice for her? She chooses this lifestyle. No one’s making her do it, nor does she have to.”
I started laughing at how funny it sounded. I appreciated when people pointed that out in me because I remembered how much I loved that about myself. I loved being on the road and exposing myself to challenges while witnessing the layers of my mind unfold. Standing with my thumb out, holding nothing but a longing for adventure and a desire to roam free. It was where I found my joy and sense of aliveness.