Re: Thumbs up

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The last time I hitchhiked was in college. The guy who picked me up was so drunk he couldn't find the stick shift with both hands. I mean this literally. At one point he took both hands off the steering wheel to feel around for the stick shift.

He said the only place he would drive me to was the bar he was going to anyway. The bar had a payphone and I called a friend or a cab or something.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:48 PM
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I can't help thinking that prostitution somehow follows this model too. [goes on to talk about how it's not bad so much as just tacky]

Ehhhh... yeah, that's sort of a WTF. I mean, well, sure, but it's not like non-tacky models of selling your body are all that easy to come by.

I don't see how getting more people to hitch-hike will make the practice safer, either. That's like saying Somalia should be superior for firearms safety on account of more people there are using to firing guns.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:50 PM
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We can still discuss hitch-hiking. I mean, not me; I'm going to bed. But in the morning.

Hey! I was trying to wish happy belated greetings to another newlywed person and realized there is no standard greeting for someone after they get married (that I can think of): 'Happy Marriage!' 'Merry Wedding!' 'Merry Marriage!'

What, said I, about 'Happy Shoe Polish and Merry Rice!'? And then I realized that that was slightly amusing but dumb. Humph. Need more research.

At any rate: you got married! And you didn't tell anybody! Congrats!

max
['There's a hook... hanging off this comment.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:51 PM
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Why hitchhike when you can just boost some car for a few hours?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:52 PM
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Yes, you must post wedding pictures to the flickr pool. We especially need to see HP's outfit.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:53 PM
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You know how I know hitch-hiking is dangerous? Because I was in that very car that night.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:54 PM
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Navajos hitchhike all the time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:56 PM
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I've found that the hitch-hiking population has an unfortunately high proportion of annoying-losers-who-I-don't-want-to-be-stuck-in-a-car-with types. So I havn't picked anyone up in years.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:58 PM
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That article Rottin' links to about prostitution is the most predictable thing ever. You see, prostitutes are great because you don't have to lie to them like other women! Haw haw! And they cost less than girlfriends. Zing!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:04 PM
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8: Thanks, Spike.


Posted by: Sissy Hankshaw | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:05 PM
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For those who didn't geek out and join the game thread, I posted a full review of the wedding.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:08 PM
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10: I suppose 8 could be more charitably amended to "the small sample of the hitch-hiking population that I have picked up..."

But seriously, some totally uncomfortable annoying car-rides. Maybe the problem is that I just don't care for other people?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:15 PM
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I think it's fear of the innocuous looking serial killer.

As it happens, I knew a woman who was murdered while hitchhiking by a serial killer. From the photo I've seen of him, I can't imagine him looking innocuous, but he must have looked innocuous enough for her to get into his truck. So while I've hitchhiked myself (mostly in places with better reputations for safety), I'm inclined to advise against it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:17 PM
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Actually, the real reason not to hitchhike is because the driver who picks you up might be wealthy and friendly, but he could die suddenly for no apparent reason in the middle of nowhere and you'd be afraid to go tell someone because they'd find his body there and think you, disreputable hitchhiker, had killed him so you hide him and ditch the car but then you get involved with some woman and your life is all trouble.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:19 PM
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I must admit that these days I would probably only pick up a hitchhiker under special circumstances. (You know, maybe like some poor soul stuck thumbing in one of the "Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers" warning areas close to prisons.) One of those things that changed significantly during my lifetime.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:19 PM
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I would not have posted 14 had I seen 13 first.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:19 PM
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||

I trust few will be surprised by my reaction to the latest updates to ogged's Flickr stream.

|>


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:20 PM
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I've hitchhiked maybe once: with my then-boyfriend, in Marin.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:20 PM
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I've never picked up a hitchhiker, but I've been in several situations where the driver (not me) picked up a person who was not actually hitchhiking. This is probably the kind I'd be most likely to do myself as a solo driver: See somebody getting soaked at the bus stop on a miserable night, stop and ask if they want a ride.

It's a class thing more than anything else; the bus routes where I'd do that are mostly used by domestic workers.

On a not-really-related-note: Can somebody who understands AM radio point me towards a simple explanation of why it gets all staticky if I put the car heater on? I feel clueless for not understanding this. (And also cold. But: Go Phils!)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:23 PM
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Are you driving, listening to the game, and commenting?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:24 PM
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I've been offered rides a couple of times as I sat waiting for an arranged ride in some desolate area. I suppose I might have taken up one of the offers had I needed to.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:25 PM
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No, I just got home.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:26 PM
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19: Electromagnetic interference from the blower motor of the car heater? Thats my guess.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:30 PM
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The criticism in the linked post of DC commuters not sharing their commute with strangers is clearly ignorant of slugging.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:37 PM
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I've done a fair amount of hitchhiking in remote Alpine areas in France and Switzerland. The occasional bit in Poland. Only done it once in the US - skiing in VT with friends and we got separated. I've also been in cars with hitchhikers many, many times since my parents have a policy of picking them up. Never done so myself but that's got something to do with the no license thing. I've never done intercity hitchhiking since it's always seemed to me to be more of a pain than it's worth.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:38 PM
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19: Can somebody who understands AM radio point me towards a simple explanation of why it gets all staticky if I put the car heater on

If it happens when the A/C is on as well, then it's the blower motor magnetic field chirping the antenna. (RFI)

Alternatively, the power to the motor is not sufficiently isolated from the power to the radio, such that the line noise caused by the blower running is causing interferance with the radio power supply.

The latter would feature a drop in output volume followed by a low buzzing and a little static. The former would likely sounds like a high-pitched squeal with lots of intermittant chatter. It can also be caused by a ground failure.

max
['Just like noise on the TV when you turn on the vacuum cleaner.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:38 PM
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Is slugging really unique to DC? I've heard of the idea for other places with carpool/HOV lanes, but don't know any particular place that does it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:40 PM
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Having looked at the linked post, I don't think hitchhiking has ever been considered middle-class acceptable, except for middle-class youth. Also, in addition to slugging, people share their commutes on the DC metro, which has been reaching record levels and pushing its capacity lately. The buses get pretty busy too.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:43 PM
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annoying-losers-who-I-don't-want-to-be-stuck-in-a-car-with types

That about sums me up. I was lousy at hitchhiking, not paying my way with conversation or stories.

I am trying to count the 70s. Great Lakes to Dallas & back 3 times, Dallas to California & back 4 times, Dallas to Austin 3 times. Up and down the California coast. Kentucky. Mississippi. N Florida. Tucson. And that doesn't count the trips in cars. Did a lot of fasting.

I wasn't a drinker or that big a druggie but people would know me for a week and somehow realize that "I can be thousand miles away in 3 days" was just a thought I could not get out of my head. One foot out the door.

It was probably the kitten. Jaunted with it twice, and then settled for the decade it lived. Cats are territorial. And I lost the urge for going.

If I think of anything interestin abouit hitchhiking, I'll let you know. Cold on the side of the road, and lots of people.

If we are talking crosstown trips, I walked it. I never minded 10+ mile walks. If if took hurrying, it wasn't worth doing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:50 PM
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I'm not sure about that. It at least was considered normal in areas where people did a lot of hiking, and still is in Europe. Before cell phones it was pretty much your only option in many cases, and even now it's a huge convenience.

Having thought more about it I also remember doing it in both the US and Europe when I'd missed one of those once every two hour suburban buses, or late at night when I didn't want to shell out for a cab to get back from town in Europe. I think the risks are exaggerated, most people are basically decent.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:54 PM
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I think I've said before that I saw more people hitchhiking in one week in New Mexico (maybe six) than in an entire lifetime in Pennsylvania. Unless you consider people who are just walking along the side of the highway as hitchhikers, which maybe we should.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:55 PM
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Is slugging really unique to DC? I've heard of the idea for other places with carpool/HOV lanes, but don't know any particular place that does it.

Hey look, there's all your Bay Area cred, spiraling down the drain!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:58 PM
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I think I've said before that I saw more people hitchhiking in one week in New Mexico (maybe six) than in an entire lifetime in Pennsylvania.

Hardly a surprise.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:00 PM
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(When I have a car) I occasionally pick up hitchhikers. I figure serial killers are rare.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:00 PM
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I did a post about this a little while back.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:00 PM
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This post.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:01 PM
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30: I meant among Americans and should have specified that. The the difference in car-ownership rates has been huge between the US and Europe from just about the start, and probably accounts for a lot of difference. I don't think most people would consider hitchhiking because you missed a suburban bus a normal middle class activity in the US, since just catching the suburban bus might not meet that standard. Also, I don't mean what's a common behavior, but what's held out as ideal behavior.

32: That cred was gone a long time ago. But now I remember seeing what was probably a form of slugging near a bus stop I used to use frequently.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:03 PM
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Thanks, Spike and max. I haven't noticed it happening with the A/C, but then again I don't use air conditioning very often.

Alternatively, the power to the motor is not sufficiently isolated from the power to the radio, such that the line noise caused by the blower running is causing interferance with the radio power supply.

Sounds the most likely, per the symptoms you list.

(Shouldn't this be a problem that's been solved by now? Is this one of those demographic donut holes, such that owners of Car X are presumed not to want to listen to AM radio, or to have satellite, or something?)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:04 PM
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I hitched more in Japan than anywhere else, and there it was great. Almost too good, because people would go to such great lengths to get me where I was headed, when I just wanted them to drop me off wherever it was most convenient for them. I had people cruise parking lots trying to find someone who would take me the rest of my way, and one guy put a friend and me up for the night; others told me of drivers who went literally hours out of their way.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:10 PM
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I think I would feel a lot happier if I lived in a world where hitchhiking seemed to be possible. Yet another missing part of the safety net.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:11 PM
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I hitched in the midwest as a teenager in the mid-80s. I'm male, some people were taciturn, some talkative, and some creepy gay men who exposed themselves almost immediately and asked for something. Generally "no, stop now, I'm out" worked, but I carried a knife and pulled it twice. Near cities maybe, but then it's a cost-saving convenience-- spend the money. It's dangerous in the US because it's rarely done, I think; maybe cell phones have changed things, because calling for help is plausible. I wouldn't recommend it-- I didn't hitch on the return trip, but looked pretty hard for a ride to share.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:13 PM
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I stopped to pick-up a guy stranded on I-70 (in Indiana). I did it because he had a wife and four kids with him and was not local. I had a pick-up truck and he insisted on riding in the back. Probably in case I was a serial killer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:46 PM
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Over the weekend, I witnessed a cop car, blue lights off, following a person up an off ramp. I guessed it was a hitchhiker situation, but I don't really know. While sad, I dorkily wondered if the hitchhiker failed to bring a towel.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:48 PM
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I hitchhiked from San Francisco to New York (well, really from Placerville to Syracuse, but whatever) back in the late 80s. It was awesome, an excellent way to travel. That is all.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:59 PM
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I am under the impression that hitchhiking is illegal in many parts of the United States.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 11:40 PM
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I hitchhiked from Amherst, MA to Stamford, CT for my first job interview after college. A Korean nuclear engineer picked me up. I'd not hitchhiked before, and he'd not offered a ride before, and I ended up getting him to get off the freeway and drop me at the office, but it seemed he found it too awkward to just leave me on the highway near my exit.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 11:47 PM
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||

My cob-logger has an adorable short story up about the problem of irony on the internet.

|>


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 11:49 PM
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45: Not exactly. Most restrictions have to do with controlled-access roads such as Interstates, or soliciting rides (or just being a pedestrian) on roadways, meaning you have to be careful about where exactly you're standing when you're thumbing a ride. I don't know of any place with a blanket prohibition on hitchhiking; I don't know if such a thing would be legally defensible.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 11:58 PM
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There seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there on the internet as to the legality of hitchhiking, but most of the more reputable-looking sources seem to echo 48. Here's an example. Basically, you can do it as long as you don't physically step onto the road while soliciting a ride.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:06 AM
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47: | I frequent a number of widely-read political blogs, and have never ever heard of either the trend or the countertrend that's the subject of that post. |


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:16 AM
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| Oh wait, that's the point, isn't it, never mind. |


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:25 AM
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24

A 1988 NYT article on informal DC ride sharing.

Another 2003 NYT article .


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:26 AM
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48 49

Just the possibility that it is illegal is enough to discourage some people (like me).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:27 AM
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Hard to legally hitchhike in Utah.

41-6a-1009. Use of roadway by pedestrians -- Prohibited activities.

(4) A person may not sit, stand, or loiter on or near a roadway for the purpose of soliciting from the occupant of a vehicle:
(a) a ride;
(b) contributions;
(c) employment;
(d) the parking, watching, or guarding of a vehicle; or
(e) other business.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:27 AM
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54: Seems to leave open the option of soliciting while walking alongside the roadway. Does it?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:38 AM
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Does that apply to national parks? I'm pretty sure we hitchhiked in Zion. Wtf are you supposed to do when you're doing a hike that doesn't take you back to your starting place, it's not like you've even got those singsong Swiss postal buses there?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:59 AM
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53 Like jaywalking or speeding presumably?

[Denken Sie an die Kinder!]


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 1:01 AM
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57

Like jaywalking or speeding presumably?

Speed limits cause me to drive slower at times than I would if there was no limit.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 2:26 AM
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17. I don't know what your reaction was, but I laughed.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:31 AM
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My Dad offered aa ride to some guy when it was pouring rain, but he advised me against doing it.

I had to take a ride once when my car broke down in Maine at night. I didn't have a cell phone, and some local hicks offered to call AAA for me, but they couldn't get reception in this town.

Then a family with kids came by, and they were going to take me in to town, but my house was actually 5 miles down the road. My Dad and I called AAA from the house, and then we drove back to where the car was. Such a pain.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 6:40 AM
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54: I spent quite a lot of my cross-country hitchhiking trip in Utah. Got lots of rides. That was when I discovered the Arches/Moab/Canyonlands area, and I hitched in circles around it for a week or two.

I had a sign that said "Harmless Student".


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:07 AM
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I was totally raised with the idea that hitchhiking was something that was utterly unacceptable, but that had been perfectly normal just before I was born. My mom also told me that it used to be a good idea to drive along with truckers, but that now they're all crazy/irresponsible*. Now that I think about it, this is probably a real phenomenon tied to deregulation of the trucking industry - ironic, as mom was pretty conservative (altho I don't know that she cared much about that side of things).

* Had an awesome drive to South Bend when I was in college - I was solo, it was a bit foggy (nighttime), and I fell in with a long line of trucks. They were totally looking out for me, signalling when to slow down for cops and the like. Man, I used to love long drives.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:11 AM
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I trust few will be surprised by my reaction to the latest updates to ogged's Flickr stream.

You're stunned that he has moved again, this time to live among the ruins? He does seem to be getting more flighty.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:12 AM
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||

The kids from the black student union group just came by with a rose for each woman (non-student) on campus. They do this each semester. It's a wee bit odd to have students celebrating you for being a Woman at the workplace.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:19 AM
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63: it's just a vacation, right?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:22 AM
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I've only hitchhiked a little bit. Given my appearance, that should not be surprising.

However, I know quite a few "travelling kids" who hitchhike/ride the rails/rideshare/walk places pretty constantly. A friend in Philly has gone all over the country that way, with her dog and sometimes a boyfriend in tow. A lot of people got into it in the 1990s, based on Aaron Cometbus's example. Of course, he mostly went Greyhound, but all the good scams are impossible now.

Once, when I was a teenager, I got a ride from a nice young woman (older than I was at the time) from a very seedy part of town where I was waiting for the last bus. I almost felt like lecturing her on not picking people up in bad neighborhoods, but felt that would have been ungracious.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:28 AM
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65: No, he's stalking teo.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:30 AM
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Seems to leave open the option of soliciting while walking alongside the roadway. Does it?

That's my reading of it as well, but I don't patrol highways. I'm not sure anyone's even enforcing that. Although I guess there's probably a trooper somewhere out there with a bug in his ass over hitchhikers.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:35 AM
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I knew a girl that hitchhiked cross-country with her friend, catching rides exclusively from truckers, all the while filming the deal for a documentary (I feel like I've talked about this here before). There was one dude who was really insistent that one of the girls give him a backrub, but that was about as creepy as it got. Although I think they did learn certain kinds of truckers to avoid, information I would impart to you dear people if I could remember it.

There's a preview of the documentary here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:37 AM
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65: No, he's got pictures of the new home and all that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:38 AM
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A friend's (very attractive) ex and one of her (very attractive) girlfriends used to hitch to the south of France, from central Scotland, every year to get casual work on yachts. They had only one scary story --- with a drunk driver -- but other than that, it was mostly leering. Perhaps the fact that there was always two of them made the difference.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:54 AM
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Still no pictures of HP in an octopus costume. :(


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:06 AM
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I have hitchhiked literally thousands of miles in my young life, but most of that was in the comparatively safe environment of Western Europe, and the rest was in familiar rural areas, or else in wildnerness areas where a backpacker getting a lift back to a vehicle was nothing out of the ordinary.

A lingering consequence of this experience is that I feel a certain karmic obligation to pick up hitchhikers, which tendency has gotten me into a couple of situations that I quite regretted getting myself into.

Since I do most of my driving now with family in tow, I have a pretty solid excuse for ignoring the outstretched thumbs (or index fingers, depending on what part of the world I'm in).


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:23 AM
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On a couple of occasions I have picked up hitchhikers in South Africa, which is just about the most foolish thing imaginable, but each time the circumstances conspired to activate my Good Samaritan impulse.

In one instance, there was a frail-looking old man by the roadside. A huge rainstorm was rolling in, and there was no shelter nearby. This was the only time I directly interacted with anyone in South Africa who spoke no English whatsoever. He was surprised and unnerved by the fact that I spoke next to no Afrikaans (a second language to him; his mother tongue was some native language). After struggling to communicate about his intended destination, I pulled out a map and asked him to show me where he wanted to go. He looked mortified, and I suddenly realized that he could neither read nor interpret a map.

That single episode improved my understanding of the country more than any book or seminar.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:32 AM
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72: They will come! I'm a little behind at work and need to get photos from other people.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:49 AM
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75: Tentative tentacles!*

*a not very good band name.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:06 AM
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Another hazards of hitchhiking story: I picked up a young man on route 50 going into Washington DC from Anapolis. Almost immediately after I picked him up, he started asking me for money. After the third time I told him I would let him out right there. He said he wouldn't leave the car until I gave him money. I pulled over, and there was a steely moment where I wasn't sure who would back down. Then suddenly he left the car.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:08 AM
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Tentative tentacles

Sounds like teasing anime porn for the unsure.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:11 AM
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||

I posted a picture of Hawaiian Punch The Octopus on Flickr.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:12 AM
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Yay! Adorable Octopus. Mom and Dad looked great, too. Congratulations Geebies!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:17 AM
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Tentative tentacles!

Alternatively.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:19 AM
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I once hitchhiked on a godforsaken Canadian highway by standing in the middle of the road on the on-ramp from a truck stop. My car had run out of gas, and I was trying to get back to the car with a container of gas. Some trucker clearly debated the relative merits of squashing me like a bug versus giving me a ride before stopping and letting me on.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:33 AM
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One of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels -- I think it's The Green Ripper, but I'm not certain -- has a page-long disquisition, in McGee's inimitable voice, on proper and effective hitchhiking technique. I seem to recall that positioning oneself with a great deal of visible road at one's back was described as essential, as well as tipping one's hat to approaching cars. I wonder whether MacDonald spent some time in his youth hoboing around, like the father of a friend of mine.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:38 AM
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71: Attractive young women get rides instantaneously, sometimes before even putting their thumb out. Men have to wait 3-5 hours.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:40 AM
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34: (When I have a car) I occasionally pick up hitchhikers. I figure serial killers are rare.

Serial killers are rare. VERY rare. Muggers and grifters are unfortunately not rare.

Anytime crap like this comes up it makes it seem like the 70's were some kind of golden age. You could do what you wanted and it wasn't a big deal and the banks never made any money. And that's why conservatives look back on the era in horror.

39: Sounds the most likely, per the symptoms you list. (Shouldn't this be a problem that's been solved by now? Is this one of those demographic donut holes, such that owners of Car X are presumed not to want to listen to AM radio, or to have satellite, or something?)

Does it happen on FM, when the blower is running? Same symptoms are different ones? If it doesn't do the same thing it's probably not a power issue, and probably an antenna issue. If the car radio has always done this, it's a design fault. If it just started doing it, something is going wrong. It's hard to say beyond that.

Anyways, both AM and FM antennas are just pieces of wire, but AM modulation suffers from interference and the band used is really long so mostly the manufacturers use two different kind of internal loop antennas, and so it's easy for bad antenna positioning to result in RFI intereference. Basically you need a decent-sized antenna, and car makers don't want to spend the money, since it wouldn't help that much anyways. So AM sucks. Which makes it cheap for broadcasters. Which is why religious broadcasters and right-wingers use it a lot.

AM is a really old radio implementation and it's just not very good.

|| I do believe I caught something at the post office on Saturday. Bleh.|>

max
['I wish to return this infection as it does not work.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:47 AM
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Anytime crap like this comes up it makes it seem like the 70's were some kind of golden age. You could do what you wanted....

Especially if you were a serial killer!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:49 AM
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grifters

Gritty drifters?

Grits gifters?

Graffiti rafters?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:49 AM
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The Grifters.

The Grifter, Mr. Cole Cash.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:53 AM
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The 70s really were a kind of golden age, the last time we had a glimpse of a culture driven by anything other than unfettered materialism.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 10:01 AM
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89: Your pet rock and avocado kitchen appliances confound me, Diogenes.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 10:03 AM
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87, 88: The second definition here seems best to me. What makes grifters different from other cons is that they are homeless or nearly so. I like to think that the word was formed by combining "graft" with "drifter," but this site suggests it just comes from "grafter"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 10:10 AM
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91: To me, "graft" connotes corruption, major and minor, on the part of public officials (or, I suppose, people in middle-man positions like clerks), while "grifting" connotes the long and the short cons.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 10:16 AM
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89: The 70s really were a kind of golden age, the last time we had a glimpse of a culture driven by anything other than unfettered materialism.

And also: pre-cable tv news!

90: 89: Your pet rock and avocado kitchen appliances confound me, Diogenes.

Because that big 80's hair was such an improvement, and in turn, plastic titties, orange skin and butt floss are truly the height of civilized culture.

max
['Bring on the fembots!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 10:28 AM
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Everybody should read "The Big Con". And "You Can't Win."


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 10:33 AM
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88.1: OT but great sequence from the movie (no idea if it is in the book):
Myra Langtry (Annette Bening): I'm Roy's friend.
Lilly Dillon (Anjelica Huston): Yes. I imagine you're lots of people's friend.
Myra Langtry: [taking a good look at LILLY] Oh, of course, now that I see you in the light, you're plenty old enough to be Roy's mother.
Lilly Dillon: Aren't we all?
Roy Dillon (John Cusack): Play nice. Dont fight.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 11:30 AM
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88: A nice light-hearted treatment is The Flim-Flam Man (1967) with George C. Scott.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 11:34 AM
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What a weird comparison in Rottin's post, between hitchhiking and prostitution. In both cases, if the practice were more mainstream, it would ... be more mainstream, less weird or unusual or dubious? And safer. No doubt, but the comparison seems otherwise a stretch.

I know a few places where hitchhiking is utterly normal, and indeed if you repeatedly decline to pick up hitchhikers, word will get around -- that you're selfish, or self-absorbed, or ungiving.

I guess I would say that the fall-off in hitchhiking, going hand-in-hand with the fall-off in the picking up of hitchhikers, is a function of distrust of strangers, a drawing in of our normal realms of interaction; and, or course, a function of the increasing belief that any respectable person must be self-sufficient (which often means owning his/her own car). If you must resort to asking for a helping hand from another, you're a loser.

(/muse)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 1:36 PM
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I hitched a few times in college, with my then boyfriend. And then I progressed to boyfriends with their own transport, so didn't bother any more. I've only picked someone up once - I had a friend in the car, it was about midnight and we were rather stoned. Felt completely paranoid as soon as this man got in the car and no one spoke for the 30 minute journey. Huge sigh of relief when he got out. In theory I would pick up a hitchhiker; in practise, whenever I see them these days there's always some reason why I can't (usually there is no spare seat in the car).


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 3:10 PM
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97.last seems quite plausible to me.

I used to pick up hitchhikers all the time in Botswana, but I don't think I would anymore. That's mostly a function of the collapse of the Zimbabwe economy and the resultant increase in crime in Botswana, though.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 3:26 PM
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I don't pick up hitchers, even tho I was one myself as a sprout and sapling. But most people will understand, 24000 miles on a '93 car is what 30 miles a week. I really lost that urge for going.

As far as the danger, waal sheet, we all serial killers down here in Texas, at least in our hearts. Bring on secession. Double dare ya.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:45 PM
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I think 97.last makes sense, yet I should note that what I was raised to believe was that being a hitchhiker was incredibly dangerous; not picking them up was just sort of a corollary to that (after all, you are able to pick up hitchhikers years after becoming able to be one).

Also: as I think I've mentioned before, Adam Walsh was (more or less) my peer, and was abducted just a couple miles from my house. So Stranger Danger was definitely a very real concept for me from age 7 on (my mom was actually not crazy paranoid, but I remember the incident and its impact - being able to hang out in the toy aisle while Mom shopped became a curtailed, albeit not eliminated, activity). Point being, hitchhiking seemed about as plausible as as strangers in vans if they had any candy for me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:21 PM
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A possible corollary to the hitchhiker experience is being a no-name band on the road. I've stayed at a number of random places, most of them quite friendly (a couch and breakfast?! yes!). We had one sketchy experience in Kansas City, MO. Just fishy all around, but the guy owned a building with a vacant apartment that smelled of cat pee. Turned out okay, and he even supplied fresh towels for much needed showering.

Strangers: they're often quite nice, even the ones you think are going to kill you, except when they actually kill you.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:28 PM
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except when they actually kill you

As I am frequently a stranger, thank you for setting the bar so low.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:31 PM
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103: My strategy was sleep light and as far away from the entry points as possible. Dude was loony, but not like killy-loony.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:39 PM
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Friends and family Strangers: they're often quite nice, even the ones you think are going to kill you, except when they actually kill you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 6:51 AM
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The kids and I just read "The Berenstain Bears Learn about Strangers" which pushed the standard message to kids since the 1980s: Don't talk to strangers, don't accept gifts from strangers, and don't get into a strangers car. It wasn't too alarmist. Mama emphasized that most strangers are good, and there are just a few bad apples.

Still, I think the "don't talk to strangers" rule is too strict, and promotes public distrust.

I was thinking that the rule in our house should be "For god's sake, don't accept gifts from strangers or get in their car, but it is ok to make idle chit chat."

Does that seem reasonable?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 6:54 AM
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Yes, rob.

MC was saying she'd thought that things had gone a bit too far when her son was afraid to talk to the cashier at the store.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 6:58 AM
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MC was saying she'd thought that things had gone a bit too far when her son was afraid to talk to the cashier at the store.

I'd worry that my son might be talked into the extended warranty, so I tell him that Best Buy employs only murders on work release.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 7:00 AM
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101: I had a real-live stranger in a van pull up in front of my elementary school as school was getting out and ask the little boy in front of me if he needed a ride. When the little boy said no and proceeded to his bus, windowless van perv asked me. I yelled "No!" and ran around behind his van to get his license plate as he sped off. I only got part of it. The cops came. It was a whole thing.

Later in life, while in nowheresville Mexico and quite drunk, I and 4 friends, all women, would decide it was a good idea to hop in the back of the taverna owner's pick up to "see his house." It -- beyond all reason -- turned out really well! We listened to a K-Tel record ("I Love a Rainy Night" etc.) and then he and his nephew sang. We drank tequila and more or less forced his shy wife to join us. The couldn't have been sweeter or better hosts. But really, what were we imagining?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 7:06 AM
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The fact that everything from the 70s is now regarded -- shag carpet, pet rocks, avocado appliances -- is now regarded as the height of bad taste is not the natural outcome of a non-ideological process.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 7:20 AM
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110: It's because they are inherently stupid. Hey, let's put something on the floor with as many dirt-trapping fibers as possible and purchase a rock for money. (I won't object to the avocado appliances. We had harvest gold, so I'm not sick of the color. And stainless steel strikes me as more pointless than 70s colors.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 7:25 AM
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re: 110

Also, a lot of the good stuff from the 70s got absorbed into 60s-imperalism. The 70s are clearly a much better decade for music.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 7:25 AM
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Yeah, shag rugs are hard to clean, but I like a lot of stuff from the 70's. In flation, not so much.

But I'm reactionary, I pretty much go for Hardwood floors and oriental rugs.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 7:33 AM
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109.2: That actually doesn't sound egregiously unwise to me - it's the four friends that saves it. Someone with nefarious intentions probably isn't going to be doing anything to four people at once -- it'd just be too much trouble.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 7:42 AM
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You realize nobody actually bought a pet rock as a pet, that it was a joke even then, right?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 7:50 AM
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115: O.K. It was the shag carpet that really got to me. It was in my bedroom growing-up and it was clearly inferior to every other thing that somebody sane would put on a floor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 7:53 AM
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106: What we told the kids is that talking to anyone is fine if you're with a grownup of your own, and if you're for some reason alone and need help, asking people working in stores, or parents with kids, or cops, or anyone else who seems reasonable is a good idea.

What's dangerous is doing anything a strange adult suggests - going with them anywhere, helping them with anything. And that they should never never worry about being polite in any situation where they're even slightly uncomfortable or worried.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 7:57 AM
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And that they should never never worry about being polite in any situation where they're even slightly uncomfortable or worried.

This one is really key, I think. And not just for little kids, but, in particular, for older girls. I think adolescents will continue a conversation with creepy old semi-pervs because they feel bad being "mean."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 8:01 AM
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I think. No. Really, I think.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 8:02 AM
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112:yea, Weather Report was much better than Coltrane, and Robin Trower could run rings around Hendrix.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 8:25 AM
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The best music of the 1970s was, I think, more interesting than much of the 60s output. I'm thinking here of the rock and pop genres, rather than jazz.

With jazz you can definitely make the case for the 60s [and then trump that with the late 50s, probably].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 8:30 AM
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The fact that everything from the 70s is now regarded -- shag carpet, pet rocks, avocado appliances -- is now regarded as the height of bad taste is not the natural outcome of a non-ideological process.

You know a lot of that stuff was deprecated at the time, right? Dave Barry was riffing on the appliance colors before the decade was out.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 8:32 AM
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You know a lot of that stuff was deprecated at the time, right?

No one told my mom the appliance color thing was deprecated until about 1985.

I find avocado-colored counter tops and appliances warm and homey. They are like the comfort food of interior decoration. Also, Star Trek reruns and footie pajamas.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 10:15 AM
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Footie pajamas are a great invention.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 10:17 AM
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When my eldest two were little, I had this double buggy that I couldn't get in all the little shops that I used to shop in, so I would leave them outside sometimes. I always told kid A (2 1/2 or so) that if anyone touched her or kid B (1) then she should bite them. She was quite disappointed never to have to use this.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 4:24 PM
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Footie pajamas are associated with the 70s?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 4:28 PM
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125 is making me chuckle. A lot.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-20-09 5:11 PM
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