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April 24th, 2006

hitchhiker in the rain

I was driving off on kind of a fool's errand, with two others in the car, on Saturday. The sky was all dark and threatening rain. We bumped over the railroad tracks and were sailing on down this country road, and walking backward along the road, on our side, was an older woman (older than me, so pretty old! but not ancient), hitchhiking. I sailed on by, because I don't usually pick up hitchhikers... in fact, I've only ever been a passenger when someone else has picked up hitchhikers; I've never actually picked one up myself. And anyway, the car had two other people in it, so it was like, um, practically full? (No. It's a detestable soccer-mom-type van that can fit a huge number of people.)

Well, I was already pondering why I hadn't offered that woman a ride and thinking that I made the wrong choice, and then the first drops of rain come falling down. Now I'm thinking, that woman is walking along in the rain. Why didn't I pick her up? But I keep driving, and the more I drive, the more I think, well, not this time. Maybe some other time.

And then all of a sudden I swing into a side street and tell my passengers that although we're still going to finish the fool's errand, first we're going to go back and pick up the hitchhiker. So we drive back. Meanwhile, of course, she's made progress. So I stop (now going in the opposite direction from the direction she's traveling in) and say, "Hi, sorry, I didn't stop before, but I'm actually still going the way you're going so... would you like a lift?" But it turns out that by now she's within spitting distance of her destination, so she says thanks very much for the thought, but it's okay, she'll walk the rest of the way.

So, that's like so typical of me at my worst. To shilly-shally about something, not do something, ruminate over it, finally decide to take the plunge--and by then it's too late.


I was listening to a tape of old music and remembering people. There are some people you may not have seen for a long time, but it's still within the realm of possibility that you'll see them again one day. And then there are people you will probably never see again, barring a strange twist of fate (and one shouldn't really bar those; they do happen). You just remember them and the past, and the past feels as alien and familiar as a dream from long ago.

here follows my reminiscing about people you don't knowCollapse )



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