notes on government, sports and popular culture
, Part II:
"Elijah Wald has spent part of his life walking backward just to get American consciousness moving forward.
"Drivers who see Wald standing on a lonely stretch of highway are universally familiar with his revolutionary tool of change: his thumb.
"A lifetime hitchhiker, musician and writer, Wald, 47, says he believes that the citizens of the United States have become prisoners of an unwarranted wave of fear and paranoia.....
"Wald maintains that hitchhiking is the "perfect antidote" for society's alienation because the intimate encounters with random strangers who welcome you to their space will bring about growth and openness."
My friends know the story well: During spring break of my junior year, I thumbed home from Fort Lauderdale after a week of pretty hard partying. It was definitely a wide crossection of society that helped deliver me safely back to Strong Dorm. A lead singer for a rock band on her way to a gig; a preacher who tried to convert me while he had me in the car; a Viet Nam veteran who liked to party and talk about how we could have won the war; two truckers; and yeah, two guys who wanted to, uh, pick me up in more than the literal sense.
But the key ride was a businessman who had just picked his brans new BMW up at the port in Jacksonville. The only problem was the steering wheel was slightly screwed up.
"If you want to risk your life and ride with me, hop in. I'm heading as far as Charlotte."
I'll take that risk, I told him. I was wondering how I was going to make it through South Carolina.