Just as I think life can’t get much better. Things take a turn for the worse. Let’s just say that last night didn’t exactly turn out the way I thought it would be. So this morning I’m on the road by 9 am. Hmm…what to do, the ride back to Beograd isn’t until 4 pm. Do I want to wait all those hours for a sure thing. Or do I want to take a chance and start hitching now and perhaps get back home earlier?
I decide to risk it.
I catch two fairly short rides with old men. The first one drops me off at the local gas station. The second one at the exit to the airport. Then a truck drops me off a few km further. And another car takes me a few more km. But I’ve still not left Skopje. And the road towards Beograd looks empty. It's eerily quiet. First car passes. Doesn’t stop. 5 minutes later I see another car. This one stops. A man. Late 30s early 40s I’d say. Says he’s going far. I ask if he’s going to Serbia. Niš. Or Beograd perhaps. He says yes. He’s going to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yeah baby, I got a ride all the way back home.
This dude speaks fluent English. At the border he wants me to get out of the car and walk across the border. Says he had some real bad experiences with hitchhikers in the past. Hmm…I’m curious how bad. But I don’t dare to ask. So I get out of the car and walk across both borders and then get back on the car. We pretty much drive non stop to Beograd. Fine with me. The less we stop, the quicker I get home. We talk about his work. He’s in buying and selling business. In Dubai. Before that he was in Afghanistan. I spent a good 5 hours in that car, so we, I mean I, talk about all kinds of topics. This dude likes to listen, doesn’t want to talk much himself. Every time I stop talking for a few minutes. You know, just to catch my breath. He taps me on my knee to tell me to keep talking. Hmm…I’m tired, since I didn’t sleep much the night before, but then again, I want to keep talking to keep him satisfied. And I’d rather talk, then have him touch me again. Cause the last time he touched me, it was a few seconds longer than appropriate. So I talk about anything and everything that crosses my mind. You see this is the bad thing about drivers who do speak and understand English. In this instance, I feel kinda obligated to talk, since I speak the language. When I’m in a car with Macedonian/Serbian speakers I can just pretend I don’t speak the language. Well, I don’t really have to pretend. But then it’s OK to be quiet.
Then we start talking about movies. I name some of my all time favourite movies. I ask him to name some of his. He says: American Pie. Hmm…this dude is in his 40s and that is his favourite movie?! Anyways, I ask what else. Then he asks me how to call 'types' of movies. I say: genre. He then asks: is erotica a genre? I’m like, uhm… He’s like, I really want to watch some erotica movies...
I’m thinking are we there yet. This ride has been taking way too long.
Then when we finally reach Beograd, I couldn’t be more relieved. I can't wait to get out of this car. I mean, this guy was nice, we had some good conversation, but I guess if you spend a lot of time alone in the car with another man, no matter how decent they appeared to be in the beginning, no matter whether they are married or not, their mind just goes places. And they will try. They will always try. It’s sad, but I guess that’s just what men think who pick up female hitchhikers.
When I’m out of the car, I think to myself what it would have been like had I waited for the ride at 4 pm with the guys from yesterday. Would that have been a better ride? Would they have kept their hands to themselves? Would their favourite movie be American Pie as well? Well, I will never know. And I guess this is the nature of hitching. You never know who you end up in the car with. I ended up meeting some amazing people through this. And some that were not so amazing. It’s intimidating. It’s risky.
“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.”
-Leo F. Buscaglia
I totally agree. Can't wait to stick my thumb out again :)