Date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Time: About 7:30 pm
Total wait: Approximately 1 hour
After deciding to hitch out to the Springs last minute, I take the light rail as far south to Lincoln exit in Denver as always and stick out my thumb. Wave my florescent orange sign that says Springs back and forth. I almost do a little dance. I put a huge smile on my face– it’s been two weeks since I’ve hitched.
An ominous-looking storm cloud hovers over my head and it starts to sprinkle. Slow, steady, small drops and first, and then transforming into fat globs that wet my hair with a wild paste. A half-rainbow forms on the other side of the highway and it’s quite a site to see. I snap a photo on my Ipod.
Overall, people keep passing me by. Passing me by. It’s alright by me though because this sunset literally has every color that nature could bring to the table as the last rays of sun reflect off the clouds into the distant Rocky Mountains. Pink shadows, blue bubbles, red fire, yellow mixed with what is left of the whiteness, all mixed into one giant painting that would put Leonardo DaVinci to shame. At dark it suddenly transforms into an orange haze, but only for a few fleeting minutes.
Then finally, somebody picks me up. Her name is Eleen, and she is driving back from work and heading home to where she lives in Castle Rock, says that she can only get me that far. I ponder this for a moment. My options are to walk all the way back to the light rail carrying my guitar amp, guitar, and backpack and try again tomorrow or to risk hitchhiking off of Castle Rock in the dark. I choose the latter option.
We talk about college. “Yeah, I dropped out of college for now because I wasn’t getting any financial aid,” she tells me. ” So now I guess I work at a gas station off of Lincoln for the rest of my life.” She laughs at this, with a sense of irony. Someone calls her and says that she forgot to clock out at work.
We get to talking about dogs, and her face lights up and she says that her and her boyfriend have two dogs. Conversations range from dog loyalty to American mutts. Eleen sets me off at the Castle Rock exit.
According to google when I checked before I set out, it currently is officially dark in the Denver area at 8:13 pm. By the time I get to Castle Rock, it’s about 8:30 and near pitch dark. True to the test, my hitchhiking sign stands out well in the dark. In fact, more noticeable than in the daylight. I get picked up in less than two minutes. Lucky me.
It’s a newer looking silver car, mildly sporty, manual transmission. Ryan and his girlfriend Heather are in the front seat. They pop the trunk and I place my stuff inside. They are a younger couple, and apparently Ryan does some kind of work in Denver installing solar panels. “I just got this new job, it does really well for me,” he tells me. ” You’re actually the second person I’ve given a ride to today.”
This has to the be the chillest couple I have ever met. Heather realizes that she has lost her cell phone five minutes into the ride and calls up the restaurant they were at and manages to pinpoint that it was on top of an air conditioner, or something to that effect.
“I need to see a doctor,” she says. “I think I’m going completely fucking crazy.” There is a pause, and neither I nor her boyfriend say anything. “That was a joke,” she says, clearing the air.
Ryan tells me that he tries to go camping every weekend, and he spends more time hiking in the winter time, since the winter time allows for less-crowded trails and better solitude. We agree that we should go hiking some time. I decide that I’ll take to the Incline in Colorado Springs this weekend.
As it turns out, Ryan and Heather are heading just that way so they drop me off right at my brother’s place off Uintah Exit. Just like that, a little snapshot into two strangers lives is over. The moment was great while it lasted.