So I always thought ‘my first hitchhiker’ would be a hot, tan chic with long flowing hair in cut-off jean shorts and a bikini top like in the movies… Turns out it was a bearded Bible thumper in coveralls named ‘Silas’.
We have saw him thumbing rides all over Resaca the entire time we’ve lived here (9 years) and our running joke was: ‘Do we have room for one more?” Once I even asked the clerk at the Resaca courthouse about him and she assured me that: “he’s ‘harmless”.
“They probably just haven’t found the bodies yet.”; I thought to myself at the time; and yet this morning I found myself staring into his ‘Manson-like eyes at the intersection of the main road, hypnotized by his gaze… (No one ever came to any harm like this, right?)
As if by forces beyond my control, I watched my hand unlock the door and ask him where he needed a ride to. (All the while screaming in my head: ‘What-am-I-doinnnnggg?’)
If anything, Silas is friendly. Coherent or lucid, not-so-much. I suppose you have to be friendly when you are a self styled ‘Hitchiker for Jesus’ and wearing an orange, prison-style jumpsuit. Anything less than gregarious might cut down on the number of transportation benefactors.
I’ll let you visualize that mental picture a minute.
I learned quite a bit about him. Seems he is a ‘long haul trucker who takes melons down to Mexico’. (They need melons down there since I guess there is no produce South of the border). I asked why a guy who drives a big rig needs to hitchhike everywhere. He responded in his rambling way, something about how the law took away his vehicle for not having car insurance. (I guess the melon company pays his big rig insurance…) and he also explained that he hitchhikes across Mexico and the Philippines (I didn’t ask how he got there) to spread the word about Jesus.
I was going to point out that they have people there who already know, (and would probably make better representatives) but I thought better of it. Then he mentioned that he had seven children and I got a colorful vision of his wife and home life.
In the 15 minute drive, we discussed all manner of things under the sun but after 30 or so Bible verses that he managed to ‘subtly’ work in, religion was destined to come into the conversation.
He didn’t know what a Pagan was so I said I was essentially Agnostic. He understood that term and we talked about defrocked televangelists. (I steered the conversation that way).
Eventually the ride was over and he shook my hand again and stepped to the curb in search of his next chance to talk about Jesus; and then drive his melon truck to Mexico. I saw Silas giving me the ‘thumbs up’ sign in my rear view mirror as I drove on to work. My heart rate returned to normal about 20 minutes later…
All in all, it was an ‘interesting’ experience or colorful adventure that I survived but I fear that now whenever I see Silas ‘thumbing it’ on the curb, I’ll be giving him rides again… But I tell you this folks. I absolutely WILL NOT be giving the crazy, screaming street preacher in Chatsworth a ride … Unless I slip up and make eye contact with him….