The Wonder of a Thumb (a 30:30 report)

08/08/2020 6 By BuddyCushman

I have always been a proponent of  hitch-hiking, and by the way I use a hyphen sometimes when writing that word and at other times I do not, if there is a dictionary correct spelling I do not know it or even care to, I kind of like rolling with whims, a whole bunch of my life has been whim-driven (now there’s a righteous hyphen) and some of the times I have hitch-hiked have been all about whims. But this first one was a time when Little Lal Hyatt and yours truly thumbed from our hometown of Wareham Massachusetts down onto the Cape in Hyannis because we had made very specific plans to go to a concert at the Hyannis Surf center and attend the show by the group Mountain – and hopefully you know about them and probably love them and it could go all the way to a worship thing, which that for sure is my level of devotion –

And I can talk some band details in a minute but the fact is this is a story about hitchhiking and the flavor of whimsical decision-making and this time Lil Lal and me thumbed down to Hyannis was not a whim but a well-thought out plan which involved leaving early enough to get down to Hyannis by something like noon or just a little after because the box office at the Surf opened at noon, which we knew from other concerts there, and for me that included the Byrds and the Lovin’ Spoonful, both of those a couple of years earlier and we wanted to be one of the first to be in line for tickets because the Cape Cod Rag which is an alternative newspaper that did make its way to free dispensing metal boxes off Cape I think as far as New Bedford but here in Wareham there were something like four of those metal boxes around town and we’d seen there were lots of tickets left when the paper came out Wednesday, which it did, and now it’s Thursday and I have called out sick at work and Lil Lal is presently on a disability leave which is actually pretty funny, that story, and we made telephone plans to thumb down the Cape and make it to Hyannis just after noontime like I said,

Which was why we were standing out where the 6 and Route 28 merge in East Wareham at 10:30 because it’s only a half hour ride for someone doing a smidge over the speed limit, a straight shot down the 6 and then hope the car you’re in is taking the 132 exit into Hyannis, but even if not if they are driving down to P’town or something it’s pretty easy to catch a ride on 132 so we were giving ourselves an extra hour to account for the whimsicalness of hitch-hiking, and I assume if you’re reading this you’ve done your share of thumbing and if it’s a fact you have never hitchhiked well then it’s a real thing that your life has missed out because sometimes you meet people who are kind and pull over to give you a lift and they become key people in the ongoing schemes of your existence and for me, as an example, one time I was hitching to New Bedford because I’d been born there 18 years earlier and I like to go over there every once in a while and sit on the wall looking at the harbor which is just over from the Fairhaven bridge and just sink into my whole life, which is something like a significant meditative action and anyway this one time on my way for that purpose a woman named Bridgett Burns – she later told me – picked me up and I told her my quest for the day and she had a beat-up copy of Don Quixote in her backseat, she pointed that out to me after I got in and we’d been talking for a few miles and I turned and saw it there and she liked it that I had said the word ‘quest’, it gave her goosebumps she said, and she asked if she could sit on the wall at the harbor with me and I said yes and she did then invited me to dinner at her cottage down one of the small streets over in the south end, from which you had another view of the water and I said thanks and yes and I did take her up on dinner and the very good hitch-hiking news to report to you here is that I did not leave the cottage of Bridgett Burns until three mornings later, which is an absolute validation (I like using big words sometimes) of my opinion that hitching has way more benefits quite often than from just getting to there from here,

And I know some of you might say yeah but what about axe murderers and weirdos and stuff like that and all I can say is what if lightning hits me tomorrow, you’ve got to stretch out a little and go with that day’s flow and I have a longer story to tell anyone interested about Bridgett sometime and I will but just to try to be fair with people who want to disagree when I say your life has been somewhat empty if you’ve never thumbed and you want to say yeah about those axe murderers and sex perverts and stuff I can tell you one time my pal Bill MacDougal and me were hitching from Yarmouth down the Cape and heading up to his mother’s house in Dorchester which is a Boston neighborhood and we got one ride and they left us at the rotary just the other side of the canal and the next ride was someone who Billy would later classify as one crazy motherfucker because the moment we got in that bastard, who was a lot older than us but probably still in his 20’s, he nailed it and quicker than you could say holy Jesus we were burying the needle and the trees in the median where going by so fast you could not tell what kind they were (though I knew they were small pines and scrub oaks because if you pay any attention and you follow a life of repetition you of course know stuff and can close your eyes and recite stuff nearly in your sleep) but my point is that that day we had almost literally the shit scared out of us because that dude was moving from one lane to another and getting real close to the back fenders of cars before at the last second turning but fortunately (though there could be debate about this) he was only going like five or so exits and let us out in one piece and burned rubber taking off down the ramp,

And Billy laughed for something like 15 minutes straight and kept saying what a rush and I felt that very thing in my bones and we both got over the physical shakes very quickly and kept laughing and grinning cause now there would be another story to tell in our later years, so I think you can see that, yes, hitchhiking does have its concerning moments and obviously no one wants to get picked up by some axe murderer but then also no one wants to call a taxi driven by an axe murderer or go into a thrift store being run by an axe murderer or possibly even go to confession and on the other side of the curtain or window or little view space is, yup, a fucking axe murderer, all of which should be a very clear explanation to you that when Lil Lal and I stuck our thumbs out on the 6 and 28 in East Wareham we had hearts beating in our chests with nothing but thrill and joyous anticipation and that day we did get three great rides (one was a young guy who had installed this sweet stereo system and was playing Arthur Lee tapes which were righteous), and we made it to Hyannis early and got to walk around the community college on Main Street and check out coeds and then get to the box office and we were sixth in line (sixth and seventh technically) and got our tickets and got to the concert early enough to be way down front and if you have never been to a Mountain concert well I’m telling you it’s loud and energizing and I’d put it right up there with two overnights at the cottage of Bridgett Burns, honest to God, that good, and these are hitch-hiking stories and the wonder of hitchhiking.