As a college student, I hitchhiked a lot. In fact, the summer between my freshman and sophomore years, I hitchhiked from Chicago to California and back, and consider the experience one of the highlights of my youth. And I was happy to pick up hitchhikers, too, and never had a bad experience either as the driver or the passenger. There was always a sense of excitement about what the person might be like and the prospect of having an interesting traveling companion for a while.
But it had literally been decades since I had stuck out my thumb or picked up someone who had.
On Friday, I took the day off to drive to Indianapolis to see relatives; my wife had gone the day before and I was joining her. I’ve probably made this trip at least a hundred times and always take Lake Shore Drive to Stony Island, get on the Skyway and then connect to I65.
In all those times, I have never, ever, seen a hitchhiker anywhere on that route. So on Friday, I was almost dumbstruck to see a hitchhiker standing on the corner of Stony Island and 75th, just a couple of blocks from the entrance to the Skyway. But there he was.
Tomorrow: the decision I made and the mystery of who took the above picture. (It wasn’t me and it wasn’t staged.)