Bumming around, searching for inspiration & a couple more miles on my way. Searching...
Ron Mitis is a genuinely nice cop who took me all the way to the county line. We talked corrections & I informed him the result of an Australian court case in which the word 'Fuck' is no longer considered profane as an adjective. If a cop pulls you over, you can ask him "What the fuck do you think you're doing?" but cannot refer to it in a sexual context. Calling someone a Fucker is a term of endearment & the new insult is Clown. True story. (Thanks Daniel!)
When I got in & shook Jerry's hand, he told me he was running away. At the age of 62. He's lived almost all over America, never spending more than 2 years anywhere, except Upstate New York, where he grew up & currently lives. After a frustrating day, he's looking for an escape & a destination, feeling good out on the road. I'm headed to Scranton, so he drives me the rest of the way. He says he'd love to "set fire to the house & leave but God won't let me do that." We both laugh. I can't tell who laughs harder.
Beautiful rolling hills, great conversation...
Jerry is a veteran of the Vietnam war. When he came back, he was diagnosed with shell shock, now known as PTSD. (I heard Romeo Dallaire speak one time: "The official number of American casualties in Vietnam was ~800,000, but another 600,000 soldiers took their own lives when they got back.") Since he was headed South, he was vaguely considering heading for the memorial in Washington DC. It hadn't been too long since he'd last visited, but long enough, considering the amount of friends he has there. I almost pulled the reigns enough to go with him. I have so many friends in the military, veterans, & some I'm sure have PTSD. They are consistently the nicest people & I get along with them so well considering I have absolutely no will to ever enlist.
Scranton gets a bad name from the Office. Small town, but pretty a chill place. When I met Heather, she introduced me to everyone who happened to be standing around me. I think I introduced myself to somebody as "I have a gun." Oh, perpetuating hitchhiker stereotypes.
Heather loves her job. She loves everything. In fact, it was her enthusiasm on her profile for how great the city is that made me stop there. Together, we like cruising around tight corners at night, scaring the people in the backseat, listening to Indian-beat music & full-belly giggling. More than once I'm sure we went looking for abandoned haunted sanitariums. Demanding: trekking, ran home - downhill all the way, to a belly dancing class, went out hiking, then out to the corner bar (there's a bar on every corner) where they marvelled at my passport & told everyone who came in I was Canadian. A different kind of cruising. Rocked the pool table! Both nights we stayed up late playing Did You Know, trying to outdo each other with smartypantsness.
She never wants to go home, wants to live out every moment. Non-stop. Something we all wish we could do.