Friday, March 15, 2013- Denver to Colorado Springs
Time: about 4:30 pm
Wait: about 30 minutes total
Hitch: woman, about 40 years old, college student, about 23 years old
Profession: bar waitress and CSU (Fort Collins student) Ok, so on this week’s round of hitchhiking to Colorado Springs I’ll admit that I did cheat just a tad bit. In all fairness, though, I only did so because I had to and have been getting hassled by the cops lately near Lincoln exit. Last week, I got a lift from a woman named Kathy and she told me to text her if I needed a ride part way because she goes south every Friday, so I took the offer this week.
I text her in the morning and ask her if she is heading that way, she responds to meet her at 1st and Santa Fe at three. She ends up picking me up a bit after 3:30, as traffic on 25 during this hour is quite congested. She picks me up in her little red car, and we take Santa Fe all the way into Castle Rock.
She tells me that she used to own a bar in Castle Rock, and has spent much of her recent life working in and out of the bar scene. Kathy has a Midwestern kind of personality, being from Minnesota originally. “People will actually hire people from the Midwest over people from the West sometimes, in my experience”, she tells me. “It’s because of the Midwestern work ethic.” She was a waitress at the strip club down the street from where I live called Shotgun Willie’s, which never did I know till she informed me that it is a strip club. “I was a waitress, though”, she clarifies with a smile.
She tells me at one of the restaurants she worked at there was actually a huge bar fight where chairs were flying back and forth, like the typical Hollywood, Western-style, take-no-prisoners brawl. Kathy was stuck in the middle of it all and had to shield herself with a wooden chair. “The police took awhile to get there, because this was before cell phones were around”, she told me. “The people that had instigated the fight were trouble makers and the other folks involved were the nicest people you could imagine. So I told my manager to 86 the people, and she wouldn’t, because apparently they were somehow connected to some mafia style people. I told my manager to 86 them, or I wouldn’t be working there anymore. Well, in the end, I had to quit.”
She pulls a bottle of Peppermint Vodka from the backseat and offers me a drink. I can’t be rude, and I just laugh and take a drink. She takes a sip herself. Life is good, I’m not going to be accusatory towards her; I can tell she well off to drive… that is because she has most likely built up a tolerance and his an alcoholic, but this is only a guess. This does not change my positive impression of Kathy, as most non-alcoholics did not offer me a ride. It certainly makes things interesting.
She tells me about how one of the strip clubs she worked at got shut down because the under cover police came in and investigated the place for a year and found out that cocaine and other drugs were circulating freely throughout the venue. “It’s hard to keep that stuff out of places like that, though”, she says. “One thing you learn in the bar scene is that if there is a problem and you need the police, you never call from the establishment”, she says. “This is because if a venue gets a certain number of calls to the police department, regardless of what it was about, the business will be shut down.”
She drops me just past Castle Rock and we part different ways. I stand at the merge for less than ten minutes, and a younger woman in sunglasses pulls to the shoulder. She seems to have an entire household of belongings and clothes jammed into her car; I try to help her put it into the back but she gets it.
She introduces herself as Carri, and she is a student at CSU in Fort Collins. It is spring break, and this weekend she is traveling just passed Fort Carson to visit with her family. She has just over a year left in college, and unfortunately, I can’t remember what she was studying. She smiles often, and has a contagious giggle that makes me laugh. Carri just got a job recently doing banquets for weddings, and I ask her how that gig is going. “It’s good, most of the time”, she tells me. “Sometimes not so good, because the brides can get stressed out about the whole thing.”
I ask her about living in Fort Collins, and she says she mostly likes it because it is very bicycle friendly, it’s full of college students, and the foothills are close by. The only con to living in Fort Collins is that the average room for rent has a higher price, closer to 400 per month. ” There are strict regulations on some of the housing”, she says. “It’s not uncommon for there to be four rooms in a house, but the limited amount of tenants is 3, so it raises the price of rent. If you get caught living with an extra person, there are fines they can throw at you.”
We make it into Colorado Springs, and I give her a copy of my book. I wish that I could talk to her some more, but the time is up. I can only hope that I’ll meet her again, yet there is no given.