Goodness, but I do meet all sorts of people on this roadside ridesharing experiment! I recently moved my studio to downtown Lawrence, so I have been car surfing my way to work and home again two or three days a week. I must say that I’m collecting data at a ferocious rate. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to quantify on a spreadsheet all the fascinating conversations I have with the strangers who pick me up. So, here is a sampling of the chit-chat from the world of Lawrence OnBoard.
In the past two weeks, I got rides from 7 men and 5 women. On July 3rd, the deputy fire chief, from the Sarcoxie fire department picked me up and we talked about burn hazards. That was the second time I got a ride from her. A woman from the Czech republic and her 12 year old daughter picked me up outside the Community Mercantile and we talked about travel in post glasnost eastern Europe (lots of hitchhking). A goldsmith from a local jewelry store gave me a ride out to Iowa street, and we chatted about fingers gone missing due to farming accidents. The owner of Blue Collar press gave me a ride into Lawrence, and we talked about two mutual friends. Yesterday I got a ride from a fellow who knew all the heavy metal cover bands in the Kansas City area. I asked him what he was going to do for the 4th of July. He said “Drink some, smoke some and blow sh** up.” I had conversations with drivers about community gardens, chickens, building materials, and naturally, tales of hitchhiking.
My most interesting driver was an electrical engineer who was also an amateur blacksmith. He was amazed that I knew what a snath was, what a peening hammer does, and why an Austrian scythe is better than an American one. This fellow, who also happens to work for some friends of mine, dropped me off just north of I-70. As I was getting out of the car, he asked if he could show me a project he just finished. My driver then proceeded to pull a giant knife from behind the front seat! Granted, it was beautiful craftsmanship, and I made suitable noises of appreciation, but I was quite glad he waited until I was out of the car.
This morning I determined to start documenting my drivers. I snapped a shot of this morning’s driver and his girlfriend (with their permission). I will be posting some of them on the Lawrence OnBoard Facebook page soon, so be sure you have “liked” that page. Thanks again to all you lovely drivers out there. See you on the road!