You are hereBlogs / dlindorff's blog / A Shift in the Zeitgeist? Hitchhiker Finds Drivers Suddenly More Willing to Give a Lift

A Shift in the Zeitgeist? Hitchhiker Finds Drivers Suddenly More Willing to Give a Lift


By dlindorff - Posted on 26 August 2012

 

By Dave Lindorff


Sometimes a journalist just has to go with the story, even if it’s going all wrong. 


I had set out to stand up for the rights of hitchhikers everywhere, and against abusive policing, when I left the house this afternoon and walked up the road to an intersection where I could stand on the grass and stick out my thumb and try to snag a ride to the supermarket four miles off.


The location and the time -- 6 pm -- were both important. Three days before, I had tried the same thing at the same spot, same time. Every so often I like to do a local hitchhike, just to test the national zeitgeist and the level of empathy of my fellow Americans. Last winter I tried it, and after over a hundred cars had left me standing in a brutal cold wind, finally got a ride from an immigrant Indian couple and their teenage son.


But three days ago, after nearly 60 cars had passed me -- most often one or two men in a car who would look away from me in what appeared to be a kind of embarrassment -- a black police SUV from the town of Horsham started pulling towards me through the parking lot of the local bank, on whose lawn I was standing. The cop in the vehicle was shaking his head at me with a stern, disapproving expression.  He pulled to a stop, rolled down his window, and as I walked up to his car, said, “You can’t hitchhike. It’s illegal.”


“Illegal?” I said, “Where? I’m not standing on the road?  


The officer said, “It’s illegal in town, in the county, and all over Pennsylvania, on the road or not. If you hitchhike, I’ll have to lock you up.”


“Lock me up? For hitchhiking?” Now I was shocked. I have hitchhiked since I was 15, all over the US, up to Alaska when I was 16, several times across the country and back, and down to Florida, and while I had been ordered off of highway onramps, yelled at, and even taken for rides and dumped far away from the highway by cops who didn’t like long-haired hippie types back in the ‘60s, I had never been arrested. Hitchhiking was not a criminal offense as far as I knew.


           “Yeah,” said the Horsham officer. 


“Okay, I guess I’m not hitching today,” I said, and walked home...


For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1300

Support WarIsACrime



Donate.








Tweet your Congress critters here.


Advertise on this site!




Facebook      Twitter





Our Store:



















Movie Memorabilia.



The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.