So there we were, me and Connor just sitting at Starbucks drinking our Frappachino and Iced coffee after about an hours worth of diving. I make a complement to Connor about the pretty girl at the register, hoping she wasn’t 25 or something. Then we got into the topic of Mr. Harris, the local hero who almost shot his eye out (kid), when suddenly a man, aged 41, eyes very red, buzz cut, jacket with paint splatter on him in a coat, started talking to us. This is his story.
At age 15, the hitchhiker was convicted for 8 years. In prison, he received an education and learned how to play Chess in jail. Upon asking him to play a game of chess, he replied “does it look like I have a chess board on me?”. He graduated with 9 others and received his education in Massachusetts prison. “Look outside the window. I received most of my education from prison and out there; hitchhiking”.
When he got out, he immediately started a family and had 1 daughter and 1 son which he has never met before. At age 23, that same year, he told his father “I’m leaving to go see the world”. Although against his fathers will, he walked out the door and started his hitchhiking journey.
From Massachusetts, he got a truck ride to New Jersey. From New Jersey he took a train to New York. After that he got another truck ride to Jacksonville, Florida. From Florida, he got a ride to Mississippi (and also started randomly talking about Mississippi Queen). From Mississippi he got a ride to Texas. Finally, he got a truck ride from Texas to Hanford, California.
So what exactly were his motives for leaving? He got tired of his dad taking over his life basically, and so he just decided to leave his wife and kids behind. He searched for answers; what life truly meant for him. Was he living the American Dream or a big lie? His hitchhiking journey would determine that he said.
The man has a bad history of drugs on his back. He would always drink and smoke while hitchhiking. At Starbucks, he asked me for a cigarette and a light. I told him I didn’t have one “unfortunately”.
His view on America: He believes the Japanese were going to bomb us, but they can’t because they can’t get a missile that far over the ocean. He also thinks that America’s going to have a new civil war because of all of the disorganization in the government system. The thing he mostly believes in, however, was that the only good news comes from newspapers and news channels. Computers and the internet are a big, fat lie to him.
So what was he going to do now? He was going to head back to see his son and daughter he’s never seen before. He doesn’t exactly know what to say to him, unfortunately, and he’s afraid to go back and have him see him in that state. “I have a son and daughter who hasn’t seen my face before. You try telling your kids you’re their father after being drugged up and hitchhiking for 18 years.”
After a lot of story telling and putting up with his alcoholic breath, he finally walked out the door towards Arbys in search of another ride to get him home. As soon as he was far away, me and Connor made a dash for my car and drove back to my house. Me and Connor would never forget that awesome night at Starbucks.