Sunday, May 12, 2013 (Colorado Springs to Denver)

Time: 6:15 pm

Wait: About 1/2 hour

 

I set out to Uintah Exit, and as always, once there, people pass me by, often waving their hands in the air, as some kind of defensive gesture as I smile and make eye contact.  About a half hour into the hitch, my mind is wandering, and a silver station wagon gently pulls over to the shoulder.

It’s a non-stereotypical group inside the wagon; a mother and her two young sons in the back seat.  She introduces herself as Nora, an at first glance she appears to be maybe thirty, which I later learn is just testament to her naturally youthful look, as she is actually 40. 

“We passed you at first,” she says.  Her voice is careful, relaxed, and soft.  She wears a light orange silk scarf around her neck.  “Your sign was hard  to read, with the glare of the sun”, she says.  She wasn’t sure if I was heading to Denver, but then she turned around once she had read the sign.  “You looked respectful, so I thought we should flip around and get you.”  I thank her for the thoughtfulness.

It’s ironic that a mother with two kids happens to be picking me up, considering that today is the scheduled calendar mark for Mother’s Day.  One of her sons shuffles a rolled-up poster with his fingers in the backseat, and asks curious, genuine questions that only a child can often ask as we drive.  Her other son hums music and makes a solid replacement of the radio, which is on mute.

 Nora says later in the conversation that she was born in Texas, but moved from state to state with her parents in adolescence.  She has a restless sensibility, somewhat nomadic, that I can relate to.  We start talking about education, and she tells me that she taught at Denver Metro State college for two years.  “I really loved it, the teaching aspect of course”, she tells me.  When I ask her why she quit, she tells me that often times it felt that the administration was exploiting the faculty.

That’s how I often feel, but as a student, I add.  It’s either work the system or the system will most certainly work you, we conclude.

“I have a job within the arts in Norway right now”, she tells me.  “I am back and forth between Norway and the States, to see my kids.” 

She tells me that to travel to Norway without a professional connection can be expensive now, as Norway is a developing and increasingly wealthy country now, along with the added overall deterioration of the American dollar.  In regards to Norway’s healthcare, when I ask she tells me this story: ” When I was in Norway, I had to have a minor surgery, and it was similar surgery to what my son had to have, in the States.  My son’s surgery, prior to mine, had cost over $1,000, so I was worried that it was going to cost a lot.  Since Norway’s system is for the people as it is, it only cost five dollars for the same surgery in Norway. Five dollars!” 

“A lot of it has to do with the way our taxpayer funding is allocated.  Colorado’s public schools are actually pretty well-off, but many don’t realize that it ranks 49th out of all the states in the area of public funding for the arts.  That’s part of what the organization I work for is trying to do– write proposals that request more funding for the Colorado art scene.”

I mention that Colorado (Denver specifically) does a good job of presenting itself as an artsy place by spending money on art structures outside of bureaucratic buildings in the downtown area and surrounding suburbia of the metropolitan area. “Presenting the illusion of an art scene is accurate”, she says.

Nora has similar aspirations to what I have, and she tells me that she also does ghost writing.  “I’ve written proposals that were signed by the governor”, she tells me.  “It’s a legitimate, lucrative business”, she says.  “You would be surprised of how many political figures do not write for themselves and hire ghost writers.”

She drops me off and I give her a copy of my book Travel By Two Wheels, as she seems to be the type of person who would enjoy reading it (she actually reads), and also given her life experiences.  Nora has the aura of independence, transcending society’s lies, of her own person.  I wish that we had more time to chat, but this is my stop.  I hop out and she drives off; time will tell if we cross roads again.

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10 comments

  1. This journey is such a brave idea and so wonderfully written~ Your sensitivity to the human condition is exceptional. Thank you for having the guts to trust humanity when so many have lost that gift. Kerouac watch out~wink

    1. Thank you, Cymbria, it’s funny you say that, as I’m actually reading Big Sur by Jack Kerouac right now. I’m going to keep doing this, hopefully all through my schooling, as kind of a preparation for a big trip after I’ve received my paper. Perhaps these hitchhiking experiences will evolve into a series of books, eventually.

      1. A series of books would be fantastic – you sure have the writing for it, subtle, but profound. Do you give out cards/bookmarks with your blog address to the peole who pick you up? It would could run up quite a bit of ‘traffic’. Getting the word out about our blogs can be so tricky. Or maybe you don’t want them reading what you’ve discovered about their souls? ps. I won’t ruin the magic by seeing the movie, but I have to confess to watching the ‘On the road’ preview at least a dozen times – I always get so inspired.

      2. I actually do give out business cards mentioning that I’m a writer, but I tend not to broadcast that I write about these experiences, only because I feel that it would make it kind of weird and put the person on the spot. I try not to think about that aspect of it during the experience, but if they were to ask me directly, I would tell them, and I always use a made-up name to preserve their identities (not that using their first name would reveal them in most cases anyways). It is difficult to get word out, and I’m not very good with marketing, and I go with idea of putting it out there, and whoever is truly interested will discover it and buy the book… they say the first 1,000 copies you have to bring to your readers yourself, and if it’s good, it will be passed on… with my other work, I have yet to do this with the rest of my schedule. I’ll have to watch “On the Road” some time. 🙂 You know, there is always that awkward chance that someone that was kind enough to pick me up will read this blog, and I can only hope that I did them some justice.

      3. Ya, I guess that would really stifle the conversation quality. I’ve done plenty of interviewing and the interviewee is always so guarded. There are techniques to put them at ease, but no sense getting all subliminal when you can just be open and honest in the format you’re already doing. It’s worth sacrificing a little publicity to get to experience humanity at its most raw and unguarded. Frankly, I’m a little jealous. Being a woman, especially a blonde 😉 , I could never risk your kind of adventure. Best of luck with the book idea! And ‘they’ are so right, quality content will always be its own best publicity. ps: Writing your own story you get to be both Cassady and Jack, both are immortal, but only one is legend (and bilingual!)

  2. Sadly, I’ve yet to read any of Cassady’s writings or musings, but thanks for reminding me and it’s now reserved at the library! That’s what I like about hitching because there is no pressure to present yourself a certain way, as in the formal setting, or business setting, which can be and more often than not is, pretentious or fake, plastic. What part of Canada are you in? After school, I’d like to do a much larger-scale trip… but I’ll keep it under wraps for now. I hear it’s the safest and best hitching if you go in a pair, one guy, one gal. From what I’ve read and heard, they stop right away and it’s safer because there are two of you, and a couple usually presents itself as non-threatening and friendly to the driver… so, if you ever get down here… 🙂 wink.

  3. Personally, I’ve gone out and had all my craziest adventures under an alias… as you can imagine, anything a ‘Cymbria’ gets up to can easily be traced back with a bit of Googling! Thanks so much for the ~wink moment, 😉 back atcha – but my wedding ring had better keep our flirtation to emicons lolz You never know, the next chickita who picks you up might never let you out (and not in a creepy serial killer way haha!)

    Just nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award! Yippity doo lucky you… actually, it’s a wee bit less glamourous than The Oscars 🙂 But here’s the link for more info:

    http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/vba-rules/

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