field

Hitchhiking and Babysitting

“They are hippies,” said Wifesy.  “Now, there’s a word I haven’t used in at least 15 years.  The guy has a drum.”

“Oh, they’re definitely hippies,” I agreed.  We were commenting on a couple standing by the side of the road near a “fresh strawberries” sign.  At first, I saw a man with his requisite backpack, scruffy, long beard, and knit cap.  Then a woman came into view.  She wore a prairie skirt, a series of scarves around her neck, a flack jacket, and boots.  Her hair was long and flowing.

“They probably camped out back there,” said Wifesy.  Behind the “fresh strawberries” sign was the wide open field of a farm.  From the look of them and the time it was in the morning, I guessed that she was right.

“Terrifies me, hitchhiking,” I said.  “Have you ever done it?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Wifesy.

“Whaaaatttttt????!!” I screeched.

You see, Wifesy and I have been together for a number of years now and I’m always floored when she has a new story to tell me that I don’t already know.  The fact that the story involved hitchhiking shocked me even more.  Now, yes, Wifesy is a California girl.  I am a New York lady.  But, she’s not soooo Californian that I picture her on a commune eating berries and smoking gonga while trying to figure out how to make an eco-friendly home out of banana leaves.  She’s an ex-rocker girl, but not really a patchouli-wearing hippie.  Suffice it to say, I was surprised and had to know more.

“Ok, you hitchhiked?  Where and why?  And how?” I asked.

“With my babysitter,” she said.

“Whhhhaaaattt?” I responded.

“Well, I had this babysitter when I was 12.  She took me hitchhiking, so she could go see her boyfriend and have sex with him.”

Cute, but maybe don't hire them to watch your kid...

“Jesus,” I said.  “Babyshitter, is more like it.  How did you get back in time for your mom?  How far did you hitchhike?”

“I don’t know,” she said.  “I was young, so I don’t remember how far it was, but we did get back in time.”

“God, where did you go when she met up with the boyfriend?”

“I stayed downstairs with the roommate, while she went upstairs,” she said.

“Oh, man, what an a-hole,” I said.

“She’s the same sitter who got me high too,” said Wifesy.

I looked at her just then and did a silent prayer that she’s still alive.  Honestly, I did.  The minute she mentioned the two of them – young Wifesy and the babysitter – hiking into the beyond so the horrible, babysitter could whore it up, all I could think of was Jaycee Dugard.  Thankfully, decent people picked them up that day because I always feel that every hitchhiker is one automobile-roulette wheel away from being kidnapped and forced to live in some psycho’s backyard tent.  I don’t know how they encountered these decent people because I’m a decent person and I NEVER pick up hitchhikers because I always think about the converse.  The converse goes something like this, I pick up a sweet old lady in a wide skirt and a dirty jacket with impeccable hair and a nice bag by the side of the road.  She gets in the car with me and about two minutes into the chat, a small man – her partner in crime – pops out from under her skirt brandishing a swiss army knife.  Then of course I’m filleted and my spirit screams from the heavens for all time, “You stupid, a-hole, why did you pick up that sweet, old, lady who looked like your grandma?!  Don’t you know everyone who hitchhikes wants to make a body suit out of your skin like that psycho in Silence of the Lambs?”  That’s my thought process and that’s why I never pick anyone up.

Wait, that’s not entirely true.  I have picked up an old woman by the side of road once.  Wait, she was not by the side of the road.  She was in the MIDDLE of the road waving her arms and legs around like a banshee.  At first, we went a touch past her.  I don’t think any of us in the car were even convinced that she was real.  Wifesy was driving the car and my brother was sitting next to her in the passenger seat.  My brother’s longtime friend, Veronica, sat in the backseat with me.  We were in southern England, most people would call it Wales.  Okay, everyone would call it Wales.  Being Wales, it was a touch misty out and foggy, the sky was grey.  On the side of the road were incredibly high fields of what looked like wheat.  It was probably just reeds, as we were nearing the beach, regardless, it was high.  High enough for a person of average height to be completely unseen when walking through them.  About ten feet ahead we saw a woman gesticulating wildly in the middle of the road.  We all gasped and Wifesy maneuvered the car around her and then pulled over.  I’m not kidding you when I say, the woman looked about 90 and yet, spry, and fit somehow.

I got out of the car and said, “Are you okay?”

The woman said, “Yes, but I need a ride into town.”

“We’re not from here,” I said.

Another car pulled up behind us.  A local woman rolled down the window.  “Everything okay?” she asked.

“Yes, I think so.  This woman needs a ride,” I said.  “Did you want to take her into town?  We’re not from around here,” I added.

But, I think the woman had the same old lady turning your innocent skin into a unitard horror show running through her mind, as I had, because she said, “Oh, no.  No, no, no,” and drove off in a hurry.

I looked at the old woman.  She was tall and skinny and close to 90, of this, I had no doubt.  I thought then – it’s me, my brother, Veronica, and Wifesy in the car, surely if something goes down, we can take this old broad.  That is seriously what I thought.  Blame it on my cynical, New York, upbringing.  When you grow up in New York – where in some ways EVERYONE is trying to run a game – you develop street smarts and paranoia at an equally quick rate.  I decided we were going to take this old lady.  There was no way we were leaving her by the side of the road.

“Well, come then,” I said.  “We’ll take you,” I smiled.

There was no denying it, the old lady looked relieved.  Soon, I understood why.  It was miles upon miles into town.  I could not believe this old woman was going to walk that far.

I had Veronica scooch over and I sat in the middle between V and the old lady.

“So, where you from?” I asked.  “Your accent doesn’t sound, British.”

“Germany,” she answered and I could literally feel the muscles of everyone in the car relax.

I suppose, we, from the urban cities in America, have a view of Germans as a constantly backpacking and traveling group of citizens.  We see them as never afraid to traipse from one side of a country to another on foot, stopping cars along the way, and having a beer stein or two with each passersby they’ve met.  It’s probably a fictional vision, but it’s a good one at least and it relaxed us all.

“You’re a long way from Germany,” said V.  “Whatchya doing here?”

“I’m here learning English,” she said.

“Ah, that’s wonderful,” I said.  “Where did you come from today?  Do you live nearby that road?”  We couldn’t see anything, but fields for miles, so I was curious as to how she had come upon that road at that very moment.

“I walked through the fields,” she said.  And I could feel the collective thought process of my friends and family in the car again.  This woman walked god knows how many miles through the fields, then she was going to walk god only knows how many miles into town, she’s here learning English, and she’s gotta be pushing 90.  Feck, we Americans are a lazy people, indeed.

We arrived in town and drove the old lady exactly where she wanted to go.  At this point, there was no way I was going to let her walk one more step than was necessary.

“You’ll get back okay, right?  You’ll take the bus?” I asked.

“Oh, yes, I’m meeting my friend and she can drive me if I miss the next one,” she said.

“Good,” I answered.

“It was nice meeting you and thank you for the ride,” she said in perfect English.

“Goodbye,” we all called out after her and collectively waved.

We were thankful for the experience, in some odd fashion.  I suppose not everyone has it out for everyone else.  You do, indeed, need to rely on the kindness of strangers from time to time.  But, I would ALWAYS say be careful in who you choose as a babysitter.  There are a lot of nutsos out there.  Lots of nutsos and a normal person or two.

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Photo creds:  hitchers, field

53 thoughts on “Hitchhiking and Babysitting

  1. What a nice piece of writing. And you’re 100% correct; I shudder when I think of any woman/girl/person hitchhiking and getting into a stranger’s car. Sometimes I think it’s amazing that any of us lived through the 70s.

    1. i don’t know how anyone survived the 70’s either!! thank you for the kind words, seriously, theo. you know how it is – you put this stuff out there and you have no idea if anyone’s going to respond to it or not. so, i’m thankful. really thankful for comments like yours. as far as the hitchhiking thing, as i was writing this i was going, ‘i would never be a hitchhiker nor pick up a hitchhiker’ and then i thought – wait a second, sure i did, once… anyway, thanks again for stopping by here. – mother

  2. Great story! I too have been baffled to hear that a loved one has picked up hitchhikers. I can’t say it hasn’t been tempting at times, because I think we’re all hoping for a fun experience like this one. Totally scary about the babysitter, though. Sheesh.

    1. if i hadn’t been with a large group of people, one of them male – my brother, i probably wouldn’t have stopped. and it helped that the hitchhiker was female too. well, if it had been an old man, i undoubtedly would’ve done the same thing. apparently, people really do just need help sometimes. it’s a shame that the world has become such that we can’t all help out a little more. but, it’s naive to think it’s not… thanks for stopping by here and saying so, amber. i appreciate it. – mother

  3. My experience with getting a lift from a stranger, didnt end very well…ended up in the middle of no where during a heavy rain day *light bulb* blog entry idea. Thanx a lot… :D
    oh and that babysitter *shaking my head* who does that?

    1. oh, yes, you MUST write about that and oh, no that it happened to you. glad that you’re in once piece though. and the babysitter, ay yay yay, what a numbskull, right? geez. thanks for stopping by here, dee. momma always appreciates it. – me

    1. thank you, shannon. i really appreciate you stopping by here and saying so. it’s nice to have views on not just the fp post, as i like to write longer things too. very, very appreciated and i hope to see you here again. – mother

  4. And who says good babysitters are hard to come by? Now just throw in some bar-hopping, pole dancing, and pot smoking, and you’ll have the trifecta!

    1. unbelievable, right? i think wifesy’s mom was unfortunately clueless. and we’re lucky that everything turned out alright. i could NOT believe that story though. there were SO many places it could’ve gone wrong. even leaving the 12 yr old downstairs with some strange dude! i was like, ‘thank god, the roommate wasn’t a pedophile.’ and wifesy was like, ‘no, just a dude.’ thank god. anyhoo, as always, thanks for reading, carrie. – moms

  5. Ok since this blog is protected by Sweet Mother’s secret ninja’s….I used to hitchhike..alot as a teen.. It was early 80’s and if me and my pals did not have gas money, out went the thumb. Now I lived in an East coast, beachy town so maybe all the folks that picked us up were tired from surfing or high.. Now today, if I ever found out my daughter hitchhiked, well let’s just say my voice would go up 2 octaves..

    Great story indeed!!!!

    1. you are completely right, this blog IS protected by SM’s secret ninjas. isn’t it funny how you would never let your kids do what you yourself did as a kid? i think we all feel that way about at least one thing, if not several things that we used to do. you know, i have another really great friend who has hitchhiked and she wasn’t kidnapped like wifesy was by the babysitter. she did it of her own free will and it also turned out fine. i am just not that trusting and i know i’d get in the car with the serial killer. i just know it. no, seriously, i don’t think any woman should hitchhike, but to each his own. it’s a shame you can’t though. in the US it’s REALLY hard to get around without a car, now, isn’t it? and i love east coach beachy towns by the way, having grown up in and around there… anyway, thanks for the great commentary. xo, mother

  6. I remember a tv movie from the late 70’s about a serial killer kidnapping pretty ladies who were thumbing it, Diary of a Teenage Hitch-hiker, or something like that.. It scared the hell out of me. But I still hitch-hiked, because I thought, “I’m no pretty lady”. I wouldn’t hitch nowadays unless I really had to get into town.Haha, although the ever rising price of gas makes it more attractive by the day.

    1. ok, bill, the whole, ‘i’m not a pretty lady’ – i swear to god, you make me laugh in every comment you leave. i vaguely, vaguely remember that movie title and i think we’re around the same age. thank god, i never watched it. i have my dvr tied up with ‘women who snap’ anyway. no, i’m kidding, i don’t watch that sh*t. okay, i do. but, i never dvr it. i have class. there is something romantic about hitchhiking when i think about it and i’m glad we picked up the old lady…but, my romantic hitchhiking dream always ends up with me re-enacting a scene from ‘the hills have eyes’ or something else awful like ‘hostel’ or ‘saw’. so, i try never to even think of hitchhiking…lol. as always, beaufitul commentary and it’s fun to have you here. – moms

  7. i sometimes give ride to this old lady who lives in the building next to ours…its like usually when am going to or coming back from work i end up seeing her on the road looking for someone to take her to her place…she walks everyday to a temple nearby…i dont know why no one from her home takes her there and brings her back…

    well i have not lived with my grand parents for long thus i find it important to give attention to old people..but truth is i sort of get upset when i end up seeing her on road and asking for a lift…because she likes to ask questions like
    are you married?
    are you seeing someone?
    i know a nice guy? do you want me to talk to you parents about this guy?

    if i dont give her the 2minutes ride i feel guilty of not helping an old lady…if i do..i end up facing series of questions about wedding.. :(

    1. i wonder if dudes get accosted with those ‘are you married’ questions from strangers. wifesy and i are very ‘out’, but we have a rule that we’re allowed to yes a cab driver to death when he talks about our ‘hubbies’ – just because EVERYONE needs a break from time to time. it’s nice that you pick up that old lady though. my mom used to pick up the psychotic women in our neighborhood from time to time. she was nuts and her place was a real wreck, but my mom felt bad for her and would drive her home sometimes. unfortunately, the car always smelled afterwards. i don’t know what was going on with the poor thing, but it wasn’t good. my dad would get in the car a few days after and he would always say, ‘did you pick up crazy mary again?’ and it was gales of laughter from everyone. sad, but true. anyway, i think you’re doing a good thing. just ignore her or tell her you’re in love with a goat, now does she want a ride or not? lol. as always, great commentary, little miss. xo, mother

  8. I’ll name no names or places, but I do know of someone’s babysitter who at least had the boyfriend come to the house of said baby-sittee! And even though that baby-sittee was in grade school, they knew that wasn’t right. When baby-sittee’s mother heard what happened, a new babysitter was found.

    Yikes!

    1. uh oh, somebody’s in troooooubbbble! lol. sounds like your kid has a very good head on their shoulders. must be because they have such a great mom. ;0 always good to see you here, jm.

    1. it is common still. but, i DO think it’s dangerous, especially these days for some reason. so, if you do it, BE CAREFUL. and at the very least do it with a friend.

  9. When I was young my parents always believed a cult would snatch me up, stick me in a closet and force-feed me nothing but peanut butter until I blindly did their will because I was such a trusting soul, always believing the best in everyone. I still do, but like you, the whole hitchhiking thing terrified me (unless of course I was with a big group as you were and the hiker was a sweet elderly lady). Perhaps I’ve watched one too many movies about the danger of it, but I still have that naivete that the world is a wonderful place and most people are good.

    When we’re young we think that we’re invincible (as your partner did) and most of us survive it. Maybe it’s that believing in the goodness in all things that surrounds us with good energy so that we survive those kind of dangerous experiences unscathed. :).

    1. it’s statistics/ numbers really. 9 out of 10 people will survive it with no problem, i’m sure. but, even if something terrible happens to 1 person, that’s too much for me. and i’m with you – when i was younger, i was FEARLESS. now, i’m fearless in what i say, but in what i do – not so much. i’m much more conscious now that i could lose every wonderful thing by crossing the street. i do it anyway, but i’m definitely aware of life’s value. i think you have to have some years behind you to think of things that way. always good to see you here, brigitte.

  10. I hitchhiked with my boyfriend in Europe when I was 21 but that was a very, very long time ago when the world was a gentler place and we were both young enough to be convinced we were immortal. Now that I’m an old lady myself and off every nutters’ radar I wouldn’t dare to hitchhike anywhere at all.
    I suspect that’s more paranoia than wisdom but I now know I’m not immortal and intend to enjoy every moment of the years I have left!

    1. i so hear you. things change as we age. when i think of all the crazy stuff i did as a kid, i can’t believe i survived any of it. now, i’m like ‘god, do what? why?’ ‘jump out of a plane?’ no thanks. can’t i just have a beer in a pub like a civilized person? lol. not that i don’t still seek thrills, but i seem to enjoy the simpler stuff way more now. you know what i mean? as always, great stuff, ac. xo – mother

  11. Hi Mom! How are you? I’m fine. Camp is great. Angie and I hitched a ride to town today. I know what you said but it was Sunday and the horses were in lock-down. Counselor Davey said walking to town would do us good. Tighten our butts…lift our tits. You know. More smutty girl stuff. Counselor Davey is a prick. The Harley-Guy said so, too. You know how I hate bugs, Mom? Can’t smile on a Harley, So won’t be doing that again. Ever. Don’t worry. Food still sucks. Angie says hi. When can I come home?

    1. you can come home whenever you like. your pjs are in the drawer and there are some warm cookies and milk by the door and a little whiskey because you’re of age by now. but, for god’s sake, no more rides on a harley, do you want to end up skinless??!!! ok, you can ride, but wear a helmet. there’s bug spray under the counter. brush your teeth before you go to bed. good night and tell angie to stop seeking attention from older men. they will not leave their wives for her. she needs to get an education!! jesus christ, who were we both channelling just then? lol.

    1. thank you for saying so. i don’t know. i want to be a professional writer more than life itself, i suppose, so i’m working my a** off at it. we shall see and time will tell. thank you for the kind words. it truly means a lot. – me

  12. You are becoming my favourite blog to read!

    OhEmGee I cannot believe what Wifsey went through with her babysitter! I have to admit that I have never like the idea much of a Nanny or Babysitter or Au Pair. While it’s great your kids can stay home (really? do they stay home all the time? ) I have no one to check up on them(the nannies)! They can do or not do as they please! I don’t like it!

    I stay home with my boys. I am my own worst critic and have my kids best interest at heart. Unlike anyone else! My eldest does go to daycare half day – gives me a break.

    I have to say it’s a great relief to know that not only South Africans have that fear of being butchered when picking up hitchhikers. I don’t even know why people bother to hitchhike in our country anymore – they should know by now that they’ll get further walking!

    1. seriously, very well said, tj, very well said. hitchhiking scares the bejeezus out of me. and i can not believe wifesy’s babysitter did that?!!! i’m going to have to clone myself for when i eventually have kids so i can actually leave the house. though, i hear the nanny-cam is good for checking up on your nanny, but then i also find it weird and ‘big brother-ish’ at the same time too. it’s hard to know what to do. sincerely. now, THANK YOU for saying my blog is becoming one of your favorite blogs to read. that honestly made my day. much love, mother

      1. A nanny cam may be an option for some. But I would certainly have my whole house covered in cameras from ceiling to floor. Inside the house and out! It’s probably cheaper having me stay home!

        And really, what are you gonna do when she gives your child medication and you are in a meeting and only view the footage later? Will you be able to track when and if they feed your child. We take simple things like that for granted.

        i know, i’m just paranoid! Here in SA last month there was a Nanny that ran off with a woman’s baby! It’s not uncommon! They sell the children for money to buy food!

        As I said. I’m the only one (and Dad of course) that have the best interest of our children at heart!

    1. i mean way crazy, i mean HITCHHIKING WITH THE KID YOU’RE WATCHING?! i’m so glad wifesy and the babysitter didn’t end up on ‘america’s most wanted’ as victims of something horrible. seriously. thanks for stopping by here, ramblings. it’s always good to see your cartoon icon! – moms

  13. Thank goodness for your other post being Freshly Pressed. You have just gained a new follower all the way from sunny South Africa. I love your post…it sounds exactly like my wife and I, although i’m the “hitch hiking” type and she is the “wide-eyed, open-jawed, you-have-got-to-be-kidding-be-you-didn’t-really-do-that-did-you” type.

    Great blog! can’t wait to read more.

    1. and all the way from south africa? LOVE. IT. yes, you sound like my wifesy. whenever i say things like, ‘i don’t understand acid. i would never do acid.’ she’ll say things like, ‘oh, it’s worderful, the colors are so alive…’ JESUS!! lol. so glad you like it. sincerely. and thank you for stopping by and saying so. i am humbled and i am honored. – moms

  14. Eeek! What a horrible babysitter! Mine’s not the cream of the crop, but she at least has 3 of her own and nobody messes with her or her kids. She loves my kids and would never do anything wrong. Naive, I might be, yes, I tend to see the good in people and reserve the bad for myself.

    As for your German granny, what a spirit! What has she seen by taking her own path?

    Great post :)

    1. i can totally understand what you’re saying. finding a good babysitter must be like finding a good auto mechanic – one you find one, you lock in for life and you’re loyal! the german granny was a gem. seriously, a gem. i had to fight to not get too involved because i wanted to take care of her for some reason after having her in the car. lol. i can’t even imagine what a larger conversation with her would’ve yielded. someone should go around and record all the stories of older women, they really should. i’m remembering a little, old, british woman who used to come into the bar i worked in for afternoon tea. she never wanted sugar because she told me once – SUGAR WAS RATIONED DURING THE WAR!!! and so she learned to drink her tea without it. being a yank, we don’t meet many brits who were alive during ww2 and still around to talk about it, so… she was interesting. very interesting. anyway, thanks for stopping by here, midnite and sharing your thoughts. – mother

  15. I’m supposed to be working, but this takes priority (yay freelancing!).
    First off, this was a really good story – felt I was there. I saw those people. I met that German lady. The minute you write a book, I’ll be loitering in Chapters reading it because freelancers are too broke for luxuries like books and haircuts.
    Secondly, I used to hitchhike. I’m glad I have those stories, and I’m glad I made it out unscathed. A dear friend of mine had his friend go missing out in BC, and in all seriousness, I think there was a connection to Robert Pickton. Though I may just want to accuse him for every missing woman in BC.
    Lastly, being the paranoid skeptic I am, I kept expecting your story to end with “…and it’s then we realized that little old lady had relieved us of our wallets…” or something to that effect. I was both happy and strangely disappointed to know she was not a surprise twist in your plot.
    Last lastly, you’re funny. But you know that.

    1. ugh, i’m supposed to be writing a book, as Wifesy tells me CONSTANTLY. i can’t say i blame her as the book may pay and the blog definitely will not. lol. anyway, i’m really glad you liked it. i’m trying to have more fun with dialogue. i have a bunch of friends who have hitchhiked and have come out fine, but then i watch the tv and hear about the woman who was picked up by the son of sam WITH HER BABY – and somehow managed to throw herself and her baby out of the car and it’s too much!!! did they ever find your friend in bc? uck, that grosses me out. anyway, thank you for saying nice things. i need them. all of them. and you and your hubby are too good to me, but please don’t stop.
      – moms

  16. I use the word ‘hippies’ with some regularity, often with ‘damn’ firmly attached to it.
    And might I suggest that the German visitor wasn’t concerned because the German visitor WAS the threat? You’ve got to watch out for them.

    1. listen, i’m even afraid of old ladies. so, i totally get it. but, she turned out alright in the end. THANK GOD. ‘damn hippies’ should be said by everyone at one point in time. lol. thanks for stopping by here, smak. always good to see ya. – me

    1. i so hear you, byronic man. i scares the sh*t out of me. though, some people do it with no problem. and i would trust the irish a lot, me thinks. until of course one of them chops a hitchhiker up. ararrragh. see, this is what i mean. i can’t even think about this without thinking that. the bus for me too. thanks for stopping by here, new friend. i appreciate it. – mother

  17. I personally can’t imagine doing it, but so many people did and survived. I often wonder is the world really more dangerous or do we just perceive it that way. Knowledge and all that. I never wore a bike helmet and went over my handle bars on many an occasions, but hell and brimfire if my daughter doesn’t wear hers.

    I don’t know … different times … thought provoking post for me..

    Much love …

    1. i hear you on that, gills. is it more dangerous or are we just more worried? interesting thought. i don’t know. i’m tired a hell now though, so more tomorrow. and i think i just crapped out in the middle of this comment. lol! xo, me

  18. I hitchhiked once. In grade school. But I don’t think it counts. We lived in a small town and we were about half a mile from home and I saw my mom’s car coming down the road.

    Otherwise, I have the same horror movie/thriller reaction to the thought of hitchhiking and/or hitchhikers.

  19. I almost picked up someone once. He was on the side of the highway with a gas canister, and it was pretty clear he’d appreciate a trip the next 3 miles to the gas station rather than walk through the snow.

    And then I thought, “What if he rapes me? He can suck it up and walk” and I drove on.

    Also, stories like this remind me of why I love nanny-cams and think all babysitters should be required to wear house-arrest-style ankle monitors.

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