(An excerpt from the spiritual memoir I am working on, called, earth-spirit.
All text copyright 2011-2014, Ursula Carrie)
Or, “more lessons in Surrender and Faith and Trust- through losing my car (actually, the transmission blew up on June 20th), having no money and having to hitch hike to get around”
Note: October 11, 2014: I realize that my experiences with hitch-hiking place me in a position of Surrender, of Faith and Trust in my Larger self, and the Universe. And that every inner direction leads me to the right places and the right times. Even how long I linger in any one place is all Divinely Orchestrated to perfectly set me at the place and time when I will “catch that ride”, with the right person, who needs what I have to offer in my Energy and Presence….
I left the apartment today at 12:08pm.
I had pressed the snooze button on the phone alarm, deciding to encourage myself out of a three hour “nap” at 11:11am.
I’m hitching, again. I haven’t checked the mail at the post office in two weeks. There may be something I need to read in there. I have a 1 o’clock appointment with Diane at the Laundromat. I’ve applied there on three occasions in the past year, already. Each time someone had just been hired. This time I sent an email. It received a response, an email and a phone call. I don’t know what time to leave to get to town on time. What if I have to walk the whole way? I should leave time for that. But, how long would it take for me to walk four miles? I need coffee. I need to clear out. Guides, Masters, Angels, Beloved I AM, are you with me?
I feed the cats. Mumu’s meowl when I get up wrings my nerves out. If I get into a bad mood, it’ll be harder to get back on a good track. Feed cats. Shut him up, quickly, and retreat. I take the hot cup of coffee to my room. It’s still dark. I haven’t pulled up the blinds. The Tibetan bowl music is still playing. I can still drift as if I were still cozy and asleep. But I drink the hot cup, and I am careful not to lie down. I straighten my back, don’t let any thoughts materialize on the tickertape. I am starting to feel more awake after a few deep sips. I look up on the wall and read quietly out loud, “I AM the Commanding Presence. I command this I AM Presence to govern perfectly my mind, home, affairs and world.” I say this tentatively the first two times. I repeat it until I feel an opening in my chest and I am saying this meditation with a feeling of full belief in its truth. Any seepage of the negative energies that I often wake up with (guilt, pessimism, whatever) has dissolved, and I am ready to Intend my Journey into town.
I take up my pendulum from where it sits on the table. I ask, “Higher self, are you with me?” Yes. “Guides, Masters, Archangel Mi-kha-el are you with me?” The pendulum swings wildly, “Yes.” It almost flips around, like a swingset swing. Ok, then. I feel that in this moment, my mind is uncluttered, my heart feels open. I feel trusting. I proclaim, “I will get a ride to town by the third car.” I feel a bit hesitant, as I feel a trace of some fear/worry in the left side of my neck and cheek. I inhale through my nose and exhale sharply through pursed lips. I focus on my heart like I am doing CPR on someone. OK. I am regrouped. I repeat, “I will get a ride to town my the third car.” This time I feel unattached to it. If I get a ride, I get a ride. I know that god will do what is best for me.
The pendulum is swinging strongly in the “Yes” direction.
I then imagine that I have already been to the post office for the mail, the Laundromat for the interview, the store for the tamari that we have been wanting, and I am now at the food pantry. I have my bags. I have managed to get the cat meat, toilet paper and other things we may want and need. I am feeling happy. I am feeling light. I say, “And I’m gonna’ meet someone at the Food Pantry who’s gonna’ give me a ride home.” The pendulum again swings strongly in the “Yes” direction. I say, sort of tentatively, “O-kay…” One last question, “Am I bringing this pendulum with me?” It swirls around in the “No” direction. I ask, “Is it because I don’t need it?” “Yes.”
I go into the kitchen to look at the big round yellow clock. “Land o’ Lakes” is printed in an arc on a red background at the top under the 11, 12 and 1. I found it at the dump years ago. I adore this clock. It makes me feel homey. It’s 11:55am. I say out loud, “I’ll leave within ten minures. Ok, ten minutes. Get going…..” I run my eyes down the right side of the clock. I imagine that I am seeing the short hand on the three and the long hand is somewhere near or after the twelve. I say out loud, “… and I’ll be home by three.”
I need to see about going to the bathroom and getting out onto the road. I packed a small bag last night. It is a fairly small bag designed with many handy pockets and compartments. I have folded up two cloth shopping bags inside, a rain poncho, my little pink clip top purse that holds our SNAP card, a marker and several pieces of paper scribbled with “to do” items. I add the prepaid cell phone to one of the outer zip pockets and slide a bottle of water in the water pocket under the rear strap. It is truly an adventure bag.
There is no room for meaningful activity in the bathroom. I am too tired, and I have to start walking. I check the time on the kitchen clock. It is 12:08. I choose the plain black, medium sized umbrella from the hook near the door and turn the door handle. I turn the lock on the knob to lock the door and pull it shut, giving it two firm pushes to make sure the lock had catched. My legs feel heavy and my right hip feels stiff, but I adopt a determined stride up the walkway and drive. I am not feeling sure of how this will go, and so I, in my mind- more with my emotion- release any notions. I just walk.
There are no cars just yet. I decide that I will jump on in, not like the first time I decided to hitch, and I felt shy for a good part of the road. What the heck.
I hear a car behind me. I say, “Ok, here we go.” I’m feeling pretty good, feeling unbound, as I turn to face the oncoming car. I walk backwards a bit and raise my right arm and hitching thumb high in the air (a 45° up from my shoulder level). The driver takes the left set of tires over the yellow line. I observe that the top of her head is almost in line with the top rim of the steering wheel. Her face is deeply wrinkled. Her lips are moving as she passes me. She doesn’t look at me. I feel fear in her energy field. I chuckle to myself. My chest feels expanded. I feel happy for some reason. Something feels beautiful.
There is another vehicle turning out of the road by my apartment. It is a Kosco van. Now my thinking brain chimes in, “Well the Kosco guys are tough.” They roll up the window before they get to where they will pass me. The passenger looks at me from the corner of his eye. “Oh, there’s two of them,” the thinking brain says. “Probably no room in the back, either.” Then I chuckle again, this time because I am amused by my ego. I say out loud, “All-right, if I make it, I make it. I’m doing the best I can.” My whole body feels heavy, but I encourage myself to continue with a stride that defies the physical feeling.
I am walking a bit further, but not much. I hear another car. It doesn’t really matter. I turn around to face the traffic, walk backwards a bit and hoist my right arm and hitching thumb high in the air (a 45° up from my shoulder level). It’s a silver cube shaped vehicle. And it stops about 20 feet beyond where I am standing.
The third car.
I am entertaining a smug sort of inside giggle. I know that this is a game. It is a game that I am playing with Beings unseen, with Laws and Universal forces that no one else that I know believes in. Well, except for my son, but he was born like that and raised like that, to never forget.
I do a light trot to the car, pull up the door handle and settle quickly onto the passenger seat, saying, ”Thanks so much!” to the man who is driving. He gives me a sideways glance out the corner of his right eye and a smile as he steps on the accelerator. Keeping his eyes upon the road, he asks, “Where are you going?”
“Just into town.” I reply.
He half says, then winds up muttering, “Oh, town….. that’s where…”
“Well, the post office.” I say, “Woodstock post office.” I remember Terry, on the motorcycle, thought I meant the Bearsville post office. I am clearing up any confusion, should there be any again. I realize that I am basing this moment on a moment past…
We have a lively conversation. I find out that he is divorced and relatively new to the area. He is relatively new compared to that I have lived around here all my life. He says he would have wanted to home school his daughter, but he and his ex wife have too differing styles. He’s a quasi-socialist. She is right wing.
“What do you mean by socialist?” I ask. This word I know can mean different things to different people.
He says that he is meaning as far as healthcare in our country. He feels that the government doesn’t do enough for the people.
I chuckle, and place my hand on his shoulder, “Well, we have food stamps, so don’t worry too much. The government is helping some people.” And I laugh.
Soon we are at the post office. I gesture to the side of the road and say, “You can let me out here if you want.”
He says, “I think I should pull in and turn around.”
And, so he does. He pulls up to the curb, in the same spot where Terry let me off of the motorcycle. He says, “What’s your name?” I am asking this question of him almost simultaneously.
“David,” he says.
I am shaking his hand.
“Ursula,” I say.
“Maybe I’ll see you again,” he says, as a statement and a question.
“Maybe,” I say.
I am bouncing out of the car and up the post office steps. What I know about life is I never know when someone is going to cross my path. But someone definitely knows…I am opening the door to enter the post office. I haven’t checked the mail in two weeks. There may be something that I need to read.
There is a woman exiting through the other door. I smile at her, no I beam and smile. She looks me down and up again, fixing her eyes on the small pile of mail in her hand. I feel the scowl. I adjust myself and focus my attention on the space at the center of my chest, which was a moment ago feeling pretty expanded and light, like a helium balloon. I am starting to feel a slight constriction there. I am resisting that feeling.
There is someone complaining rather forcefully, or bitterly “they” say, at the counter. All of the clerks here are negative, unfriendly. I do not like coming here to get my mail. I avoid doing any business at this counter, especially when I had my car available to me. Now, with no money, I have no business to conduct anyway. I turn the little corner and duck over to my lock box and pull out the mail. It is mostly junk mail. I am feeling thankful for that. Perhaps my high spirits have not yet been crushed. I realize that interacting with anyone that I meet will not find itself in a workable space. This energy I am connected with is bouncing other people off like rain on a waterproof surface. So far I am waterproof. I pull myself back to the center of my torso, and I exit the post office. I check my cell phone. I still have thirty minutes to get to my appointment at the laundromat.
I have begun to perspire by the time I am down the hill and am walking past the old gas station, now simply an auto repair shop. I have been walking briskly because I can feel the energies of every human that passes me, either in their automobile or on the street. I am beginning to worry that the extreme positive, hopeful energy that I left the apartment with has diminished. The third dimensional mass consciousness is full of fear, anxiety, impatience, anger. I spot the owners of the station and say hello. I ask by mouthing, “Can I use the rest room?” They are engaged in conversation with a man in shorts with his arms folded across his chest. I do not want to interrupt. The owner’s daughter smiles and waves me on. I hurry across the small crowded lot of cars and defunct gas station parking spaces and duck into the bathroom on the side of the building.
It is dark and quiet in here. The only light is provided by a window above the door. This light is diffused by an umbrella of trees at the edge of the lot. I am thankful for the dark and quiet. I inhale sharply and force the breath out of my mouth. I do this several times. I reconnect with the feeling I had when I was leaving the driveway of my apartment. I remember that I am being Guided. I remember how a short while ago, the third came for me, just like I knew it would. I am quiet, now and unrattled. I pee just for the heck of it and I again feel settled in to positive thoughts and feelings. I really want this job. I wasn’t sure the first three times I’d applied for it. Someone had already been hired by the time I got there those times. Just hired, actually. This time I have talked with the owner. I am going to an interview. I take a paper town from the dispenser, crumple it, unfold it again and sweep it over my forehead several times. I am starting to worry about appearing unseemly. The boss is a proper LL Bean kind of woman. I have heard this already in her voice. I am sure that she does not sweat, ever. I really need this job.
I pause now outside the laundromat. I wonder which door I should use. I have gone up the wheelchair ramp before, but the sign says, “Wheelchair access only. Other patrons use other door.” I wonder if I am being watched. I am fifteen minutes early. So far I haven’t had to open my umbrella. I asked Archangel Mi-kha-el if it would rain when I was out. He said, again through my pendulum, “No”. I believed him, even though the forecast said 80% chance of rain. I brought the umbrella as a precaution.
I go through the front door and wander to the back. No one pays attention to me and so I sort of drift around the back of the laundromat where the laundry service is dropped off and collected. A woman in a khaki trenchcoat is walking up the wheelchair ramp. She looks in the window as she passes. I start to become aware of my neediness of being hired. I am aware of the fear that is causing my heart to beat a little harder now. I reach for the paper towel that I have shoved into my day bag and wipe my forehead again before the door opens. I tell myself, “Just be cool. It doesn’t matter if you get the job. Just Breathe.”
After the interview, I walk to the local health food store. I want to buy a large bottle of tamari so my son will eat the pasta. I decide that we haven’t had a nice snack in along time, so I scoop some chocolate covered pretzels into a plastic bag and place it on the scale for the stick on label to print out. The short grain brown rice looks good to. I haven’t bought “nice” rice in a long time, so I buy some of that too. We could use to have some cheese, too. I do not know when I will be able to get the additional 3 miles to the “regular” grocery store, which is not that regular, but the dairy prices are very good and my preferred regular grocery store is another ten miles away and I definitely don’t know when or how I will get there again. I look all through the cheese display and the regular cheddar cheese, which was still more expensive than the not so regular grocery store, is gone. It has been replaced with a piece of cheese one-half the size and three times the price. I decide that cheese will have to wait. I feel a wave of bitterness at how the new wave of “city people” has changed the stock of this store. I switch my thoughts to the tamari since that is usually the only reason I would ever come in here, anyway. If I create any more negativity I may not get a ride home the way I envisioned. I am getting unfocused. I make a decision to stick to the task. But, I grab a package of seaweed snack, which is on sale, for my son, and I am checking out now.
I am waiting for the Food Pantry to open. It’s only one-thirty. And at the beginning it’s going to be crowded. I don’t really know what to do. I don’t see anywhere to sit without going to the green. I don’t feel like being on public display. I keep walking up Mill Hill Rd. My legs have never stopped feeling heavy on this trip, but going downhill was easier. The public restroom is open still, so I go in there to use up some time. I pee for the heck of it then take my time walking out across the tiny lawn. I turn towards Family. I can’t really take anything if it looks good. I can’t weigh myself down too much in case I don’t get a ride and I have to walk the four miles home. My right hip joint has been bothering me the whole time, but I tell myself that if I pull up from my abdomen and lead with my left leg, I will decrease the focus on my right leg and hip and I can walk all the way home if I have to. We need toilet paper anyway, and I have no money to buy toilet paper. The paper dispenser in the public bathroom was locked with a padlock, so whatever I am doing, I still have to go to the Food Pantry for toilet paper. And, we need “cat meat” so I can cook for the cats.
It’s not too crowded in Family, just a couple of people going through clothes and one sitting. I don’t need to get any bread here because I’m on my way to the pantry. I feel so vulnerable today and there’s nothing very pretty or engaging in the Free Store that I would want to drag home. Another blessing. I go out to the porch where is a row of four empty resin arm chairs. I sit down in the one second from the door, straighten my back and fix my gaze on a point on the rough cut wooden siding of the building across the street. Then, a generator grinds up on the property next door to Family. I think, “It figures.” Then, two people come strolling up, talking loudly to each other. They seem to both look at me with some apprehension. They probably are startled to find someone sitting on the porch.
I check the time on the phone. It’s 2:05pm. I can go over to the Food Pantry now. I am feeling some nervousness about not finding a ride, and I am aware that I want to eliminate these feelings from my energy field, because this will cause me to not get the ride that I was sure to get at the Food Pantry, back when I was leaving the apartment.
The door of the Woodstock Film Festival office is open. I rarely see this. I decide to wander into the office to see if they have printed material of the schedule. I filled out the online application to volunteer several months ago, because I have hated the film festival for many years now. I am a grumpy local that hates the traffic jams and the snobby city bitches who act like they own everything, and act like small town locals are “stupid”, when they descend. I thought that, if I could accept one of these detested activities that obscond upon my somewhat peace and quiet, then maybe I would figure out the energy that will eventually release me from this place, and I can move on to a place that feels like Home to me.
A salt and pepper haired man, beard and all, sits behind the counter. I recognize him as a former member of my CSA, which is not “my CSA” anymore. I ask of there is any printed literature on the film festival schedule. I am trying to distract myself from whatever negativity has bombarded me. He says it is at the printers and goes on to bemoan many things, from the difficulties of having the schedule proofread, to the scheduling, in general of everything. I am launching into what I seem to do best, maneuver his energy field to find a way to assuage him and bring out a ray of light somewhere. I speak about the CSA. He mentions that he misses the CSA, but it was a lot of money to have a subscription. He speaks of his son who is in college in Massachusetts, just over the border from us, and that he bought a CSA share for his son over there and how it’s cheaper for a share in MA. I say how lovely it is that he cares so much for his son to make sure that he always has good food to eat, even though he is far from home.
He seems to brighten a bit at that notion. I remind him, even though I say that he is probably not open to such a suggestion, that everything works out. I mention that I am hitch-hiking for food today.
He raises his eyebrows, and is staring out the door, presumably at the empty sidewalk across the street, “Hitch-hiking? Well, now I feel better….”
I feel an urge to move on to the Food Pantry. Since I have begun turning myself over to needing to hitch, I am listening more to the urges that tell me when I must walk, when I must go to this place or that, because every move I make, and every moment that I stand still, has everything to do with where the Universe wants me to be- at the right place at the right time- to meet that one who is going to give the ride. At this point in the journey, however, I have decided to let go of the idea that I will get a ride with my packages all the 4 miles home. Even though there is some pain in my right hip joint every time I take a step forward, I have resolved that I will find a way to take each step in such a way that my body will be able to carry me home. I’m here in town, now, so I have no other choice. I reason with myself that, if I transfer all or most of my weight onto my left leg as I take a step and lead with my left, then the burden on my right hip will subside. I walk with my l;eft leg leading my advancement all the way up the next couple of blocks, down the hill to the church basement where the Good Neighbor Food pantry is housed.
The line of people waiting in the Food Pantry runs down along the corridor unto the back office door. Twenty or so are leaned up against the wall, bags in hand, waiting to be called into the pantry room. I walk halfway down the hall to the sign in table on my left, print and sign my mane, and mark in the columns to the right of my name how many adults and how many children in my household. One, and one. The volunteer asks for my name and twice I must phonetically repeat my last name to her, “Will-kerr-son” She finds the index card bearing my name on the front underneath of which is marked, “1A, 1C” This marking lets the volunteer who oversees the coolers of frozen items determine how many of frozen items I am allowed to take. One package of frozen meat, perhaps one package of fresh frozen pasta, etc. I continue down the hall, cheerfully greeting the many people I know from town standing there. After making a selection from the coolers, one package of frozen ground turkey and a package of plain cheese ravioli, I take my place at the end of the line.
Almost every long time Woodstock local is either in this line, or will either be in this line later this afternoon, or they were here yesterday. Artists, writers, single mothers, older women, guys on the street- we are all here. We are standing in line for many minutes it seems and it has not been moving forward. I hear some folks near the front of the line talking about, “What’s taking so long?” and this talk of course quickly spreads down the ranks to back where I am standing. I could easily be swept up in the mass complaint, seeking camaraderie through negativity. I know that I do not want to participate in this sort of movement, so I take a deep breath before I am swept away in it, and move the focus of my attention to the area of my thymus. This has become a regular opportunity for me to stay Present. I focus on how thankful I feel for all of the women who volunteer their time to be here. I know that they need this appreciation and light. And who really could complain about Free Food? Well, apparently most of the people in this line can. I have witnessed much negative energy directed to their energy fields. I find a point on the floor a few inches in front of my toes, let my eyes rest upon this point and I breathe into my heart and out of my base.
The older woman standing in front of me in line is the mother of 6 or 7 children, a few of whom I knew from around town, many years ago. She is talking with the woman who is overseeing the coolers about sex education. The volunteer, who regularly barks good humored “orders” at the people in line, has said several times, “Can you tell I was a high school teacher?” Since she has mentioned this frequently in the quarter hour that I have been here, I am noting that this is a part of her life was of an importance to her. She is now retired. The mention that she taught Health, although I would have thought “Gym”, has sparked this discussion between herself and the woman ahead of me. The woman ahead of me is complaining that sex education was never taught to her generation in school, and that it doesn’t seem like the schools are doing a very good job at it now.
I continue to focus on keeping my energies drawn unto myself, for I have nothing to contribute to this line, although I can sense that I am silently being invited to chime in on how horrible it is.
I am listening politely when the glances land on me but I do not speak until it seems that the women have exhausted all that can be said in the matter, and my former friend’s mother turns to me and asks, “What do you think of this? Were you taught about this in school?”
I pause to myself, draw a breath and slowly open my mouth to reply, carefully measuring the output of my emotional energies with utterance of each syllable, for I sense that the way that I choose to now engage them is being heavily scrutinized.
“Well… I grew up with a single mother, who had very promiscuous friends…”
“So you heard a lot…” the woman ahead of me jumps in.
I take another breath and pause. “Well, yes. I knew about sponges and such and what music they had sex to.”
They both just look at me, waiting. I continue, “And when I was fifteen and I decided I was going to have sex with my boyfriend, I asked my godmother to take me to Planned Parenthood, and I had an exam and got all of the stuff.”
She asks me if my son has learned about this in school. Another obligatory answer I give, “Well, we homeschool,” this draws the same half horrified, half fascinated yet astonished frown that most people give when I make this statement, “And I have already taught him about everything, I bought books and had been reading them to him since he was little. He knows about all of the diseases and how to protect himself, and be healthy and safe. But he’s a long ways away from those things.”
Fortunately the line has advanced since this discourse began and any other chit chat about the usual talk that nearly everyone who doesn’t homeschool has to give about “socialization” and such, I am able to fluff off. And soon it dies down to silence. The woman who was ahead of me is called into the pantry, and I am first and next in line.
“Ok, next two,” calls the woman who I regularly see working the pantry room.
I, and the woman behind me, go in. I give my usual greeting, and I am feeling as cheerful as I always do when I am at the Food Pantry. I am deciding now as I go along how much I should load myself up with, because at this point I have resolved myself to walk the 4 miles home with my parcels and aching hip. And I have decided that it doesn’t matter, because I am doing what needs to be done to get some food for cats and kid. My heart feels so open, and the pantry and the ladies are so wonderful to be here. I say to the volunteer in the pantry room, which is really me talking out loud to myself, “I’d better not take too much today. I’m hitch hiking.”
Another woman is called into the pantry, since someone else has gone out, and I have nearly made my way around the clockwise circuit of the room. There are so many wonderful things today: the big Italian heroes that my son loves, boxes of chocolate milk, parsnips, leeks, scallions, fresh stone ground sliced wheat bread, yogurt, butter and of course toilet paper and canned beans and soup. It is such an abundant day. I already have tomatoes and corn from my CSA share, which I am getting for free this year as a thank you for all of my years of service to the CSA, so I leave those items. But my bags are overflowing!
“My lady” (the volunteer) says, and I can tell she’s amused “I thought you weren’t going to take that much- aren’t you hitching?”
I exclaim, like the foolhardy soul that I am, “YES! I am!” I am laughing at myself, and I don’t care. I’ll take hours to get home with these awesome bags of food if I have to!
“Do you need a ride?” comes a woman’s voice from behind me. I turn in that direction to locate the source of that voice.
“Why, YES! I do!” I exclaim in joy.
It feels so natural to me. Like, of course, someone is offering me a ride at the Food Pantry, because I knew someone would, and the pendulum and Archangel Michael told me so before I even started today’s journey. And I am laughing at myself and all of the worry and foolishness I put myself through in the interm, but such is the way it goes when one is learning the lessons of Faith and Trust, and Surrender.
The woman, who is older than me and slight in frame with a tussle of auburn hair, I scurrying about the pantry room gathering up her choices into her bags. I collide into her a bit as we are getting up items from the same bin, and I am trying to select which hero my son might like best, the end piece of the hero bread or the middle section. The woman turns to me and says, “Ok, well, we have to go.”
I snap to attention and chirp, “Ok, Ok, I’m coming…” and hurry a sandwich into my bag and one last item or two.
My Gramie, Carrie, never learned to drive, and after my grandfather died, her sister in law, or sometimes her younger sister, or one of her children or older grandchildren would come to pick her up to take her grocery shopping, or to go to the public well to fill up the big jugs of water for the washing and to drink. She told me once when I was little to “never keep people waiting when they’re doing you a favor.” I have found that to be sound advice.
I bound into the hallway and the woman calls over her shoulder, “I have to go to the bathroom, then we’ll go.”
I am happy to wait. Enthralled.
When she comes scurrying back up the hall, I turn to follow her out of the front door, which always slams closed in a manner I find quite startling. I follow her to a bright blue Toyota of some sort, and she instructs me to put my bags wherever. She tells me that she is going as far as the Bearsville Post Office, which is still two miles from my apartment and I enthusiastically say that that is just fine and that I am so grateful for the ride. I start to move over the letters and papers and mail that is on the passenger side seat, but she barks a bit not to move anything. I inquire if she is sure that she doesn’t mind me sitting on all of her papers as I might crush them. She replies that it is fine, so I sit on down and then find somewhere to place my feet amongst the things that clutter the floor, careful not to disturb or to harm any of it.
I am aware of my energy field here. I am aware of scaling it back. The joy of the manifestation of this ride has made me feel very large, expanded. I observe that the woman is shirking a bit. I do not wish to upset her balance, so I pull myself in again, like in the waiting line. I am careful not to be too forward with any small talk, keeping it to my usual of what has happened to my car, that I am a single mom and such, and how that is why I am hitching. She says that she has also hitched a lot in the past and that she told herself that when she got this car that she would give people rides. I tell her that I also used to pick people up and how I sure appreciate it.
There is a car traveling very close to her rear bumper. I see her looking in her rear view mirror. She is not driving slowly, nearly about the 45 mph limit.
“Maybe I should speed up,” she says to herself. The car behind pulls out to pass on a double yellow line.
I say, “They’re just impatient. It’s not your problem.”
She says that she likes to drive slow because she feels more comfortable with that. She tells me that the first time she ever drove really fast, or faster than the speed limit because she was “trying to keep up” with the other speeding traffic, she got a speeding ticket.
I chuckle. I say something to reassure her that it is always best to follow her own feelings about things. Never mind what everyone else is doing. She smiles.
We are at the place where the highway forks right. My road forks left. She slows down, I am assuming because she wants to prepare to pull into the post office parking lot which is on the immediate left after the highway takes its bend.
“Which way?” she says.
I’m confused for a second, because I think that she must be confused. I thought that she knew where the Bearsville Post Office was.
Pointing off to the right, I say, “The post office is over there.”
She says, “No, to your house.”
“Oh, I thought you were going to let me off at the post office… Really, it’s ok… I’m just a couple miles up… I really appreciate getting this far….” I answer.
She says, “No, I’ll take you home. Which way?”
She tells me that she used to live much further up my road, that she used to drive this road every day and as far as I live is no big deal to take me there, and did I know the Birch Tree apartments. That is where she used to live. I say yes, I knew some folks who lived there, and I’d almost considered moving there, but the walls seemed to be like paper, and “Is that true?” I ask. She says that it is true about the walls and I say how incredibly disturbing that must have been, to hear everything that goes on next door. She says that it was. I should know, but I don’t tell her about where I used to live. There is no need for me to initiate negative commiserating.
It’s a two mile ride and we talk a bit more, mostly about some of her troubles and I reassure her. I show her where to slow down to be ready to make the turn into the driveway. She stops her car at the end of the driveway.
I say, “What’s your name?”
“Robin.” She says.
I reach out my hand, “I’m Ursula.”
She shakes my hand, “Nice to meet you.”
I say the same.
As I am gathering my bags from the back seat, I tell her of my “wish’ to get a ride home from the pantry, and how she was the answer to my prayer. Incredulously, she replied, “Well, I could use some prayers.”
I said, “I’ll pray for you.”
“Thank you,” she says.
I say, “Do you want me to help you get out? There’s a lot of bushes at the end of the drive…”
“No, I’ll be fine.”
“Well, have a good night, Robin. Thank You!”
She takes a three-point turn to right the direction of the car and is soon turning right out of the driveway. In a moment her car has disappeared from view.
I walk across the lawn and climb the stairs to the apartment. I put the key into the knob and turn the handle. It’s quiet, but I know that my son is in his room doing something on his computer. I go to the kitchen and set the heavy bags down on the linoleum floor. I take in a deep breath and let out an audible sigh. I look up to check the time on the big yellow clock.