I’m driving Lenore (our hearse) to work this morning; it is cloudy, cold, and still trying to rain or decide if the weather will clear up. It is earlier than normal, around 6:45am, but there is still some average traffic on the road, say 4 or 5 cars surrounding me at about 30 feet ahead and behind me.
I am on El Toro road, driving west. For those of you who don’t know the road, it is a wide 6 lane (3 in each direction) road with neighborhoods feeding in from the south side, while the north side of the road drops into a gully, then up a hill to more housing. (google satellite map is here)
Just past the Normadale stop light is a bus stop. Just beyond the bus stop, by about 20 feet, stands an elderly black man in a green apron (looking as though he were on his way to work at some coffee shop) with his thumb outstretched. He is far enough away from the stop so as not to be confused as a bus passenger, but close enough that he could catch a bus if he so desired I suppose.
I’m watching him, as this is a sight you don’t often see in South Orange County, especially in the cold and damp mornings. Remember, there are 2 cars in front of me in my lane and one car behind me.
As I am approaching the hitchhiker, and as the first car in front of me is passing him, I see him look at me. As the second car in front of me passes him, he drops his thumb. At this point, I am close enough to have made eye contact with him and raise my eyebrows, to which he replies with a hearty shake of the head, looks past me and raises his thumb just as the car behind me is passing him.
And I lost it.
I was laughing so hard at this point that I teared up and began coughing uncontrollably in an attempt to catch my breath. That was the single most pointed commentary on my vehicle I have ever received from a stranger. I guess even hitchhikers have their standards, and I was apparently well below his.
Touche’ my friend. I hope you find a ride suitable to your tastes.