Robert Moor recounts his harrowing and life-affirming experiences while hitchhiking:
My first ride was with a stoned Maori who drove me a hundred miles in the wrong direction and dropped me off in a valley full of gray mist, where ice crystals collected on my eyelashes as I shook and regretted everything. My next ride was with a trio of jolly, heavyset women who warmed me with hot chocolate and drove me directly to my door, with plenty of time to spare.
People always surprise me with the strangeness of their interior lives and the depth of their generosity. They are forever handing me things: food, cans of beer, cigarettes, joints. One guy in a Cadillac even pressed twenty dollars into my palm, saying I needed it more than he did—perfectly inverting the presumed ass-grass-or-cash economics of hitching. Economics which, by the way, I have found wholly false. Every single time I have offered to pay for a driver’s gas, I have been refused. Perhaps it would have cheapened the driver’s charity, sullied our real (if ephemeral) moment of humanity.