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My Thoughts XVIII: Hitchhikers and Karma

Updated on September 12, 2019
Just a road. I like walking and I like roads.
Just a road. I like walking and I like roads. | Source

For the Labor Day weekend (first Monday of September), I drove-up to Nipissing First Nations, for their 30th annual traditional Pow-wow. Heading-out of the city on a long week-end, by myself I just knew I would see some hitchhikers along the way and I made the decision even before leaving the driveway, to stop and give a lift to those stuck walking on the side of the highway, or standing-out there with their thumb raised.

My Intuition did not fail me and not far along the way, I flew-by a guy walking with a big backpack along the shoulder of the highway. I was going way too fast (not faster than the speed limit, of course Mr. Officer, haha!!). And since buddy was neither standing, nor did he have a thumb raised-up, I thought he might just be a weird guy like me, hiking along the highway without wanting to be picked-up (which I have done before). Either way, I missed him and kept driving, telling myself to me more careful and certainly stop for the next one.

The next hitchhiker never popped-up before I reached the Pow-wow grounds in Sturgeon Falls. I had to go to Sturgeon Falls because the Pow-wow was changed this year due to flooding on the regular Pow-wow grounds and was not at Jacko Point, where it usually is. I was lucky enough for someone to tell me all this when I stopped for gas at the Eagle Gas Station, just outside of North Bay. So, with the Pow-wow going, re-uniting with acquaintances and friends, I forgot all about the hitchhikers.

I spent the weekend there, camping-out and having an incredible time! I actually was sitting down with a friend in one of those moments of complete, comfortable silence (between the two of us) when I caught myself thinking: when people are going to ask me how the week-end was, on my return to the city, I’m going to say: “it was just simply perfect!” I laughed and told him what I was thinking and he agreed that it was going to be a fabulous weekend. And in the end it was indeed simply perfect. Couldn’t ask for anything more because it was way better than I could have even imagined.

Now, on the way back, the issue of hitchhikers was old news. With so much having gone on at the Pow-wow, I forgot all about me wanting to stop and give people a lift along the highway but at one point, on the outskirts of North Bay, my vision caught the form of a silhouette on the right shoulder of the highway, far ahead. I focused on that and as I was approaching quite fast I realized that there was a man standing, with his right hand-out and his thumb upwards. There was my hitchhiker! In an instance I applied the brakes, signaled to pull over and I still flew by him but managed to stop not too far off. I got out of the car to clear some things away so the man had space to sit in the front and I saw him lightly running towards the car.

“Hey, how You doin’? How far You going”, I asked when he approached.

“Ohh, just down the road to the Bingo Hall, about ten minutes”, came the answer.

Since he was close to me by then, I caught a sniff of alcohol off his breath and he also had a speech impediment: he stuttered when speaking. Yet, I was not fully sure if it was speech impairment, or an alcohol impairment which prevented him from speaking clearly. Either way, we exchanged names, on the shoulder of the highway and as he was getting in the car, he said:

“Don’t worry, I’m not gonna kill You.”

Haha!! I have picked-up hitchhikers before but never have I got the: “don’t worry I’m not gonna kill You”, greeting. In a flash of a second I thought I’d show him my KABAR United States Marine Core knife, which is always within reach when I am up-north but on a second thought, I decided not to. Pulling out a black, seven inch long blade, which really is an instrument of death as much as it is a tool, might not have been the best idea. I wanted to help-out by giving a lift, not having a man run away from me down the highway, screaming for help. So, I responded by saying:

“If You kill me, that would mean I have bad karma.”

I sensed no ill intent from the man who was most likely in his late 50s or early 60s and as I got in the driver’s seat, he started telling me how his wife left him “stranded at home” and he decided to hitch-hike to go to the Bingo Hall where she was at. At that point, it became clear that he had a speech impediment and that he was quite drunk at the same time. His breath reeked and since I do not drink the fire-water (alcohol) I can smell it very easily off of people.

The man was quite chatty and he kept me busy with answers about where I’m from, what I do and all sorts of other questions. I should mention at this point, that when we started driving-off, I told him to let me know where we were going because if he did not give me directions, he would end-up in Toronto with me and not at the Bingo Hall in North Bay. Did he listen? No.

At one point he raised his hands up exclaiming:

“Ohh fuck!! We passed it … It’s because we’re having too much fun.”

Haha!! Ohh goodness … I was speechless. Actually, I still don’t know what to say about that. I just did a U-turn at the first intersection and headed back the way we came, telling him to pay attention so we don’t end-up going back to Sturgeon Falls. I did not allow a chance for any more mistakes though. At every intersection I asked him if I should keep going straight, or if I needed to make a turn. This way, we eventually ended-up at the Bingo Hall, where I wished him good luck and I took off.

I knew my karma is not bad enough for anyone to kill me intentionally. I fixed most of it I’d say. I do certainly believe that “what goes around comes around”. That’s what karma means for me and I have had clear experiences where I have acted like a dick and it backfired almost immediately. So, I say that I have nearly “instant karma”. I do not believe in the past life karma stuff. Those are negative predictions in my opinion and since they do not help, nor do I have any reason to validate them, I do not listen to them. But karma from the course of my life, that’s very real! I’ve lived it.

So, I will be back on the road next weekend, heading to Curve Lake First Nations annual traditional Pow-wow. There will be no picking-up of hitchhikers this time, as I will have two nephews with me in the little VW Golf and we can’t sardine too many people in it with all the camping equipment too. Yet, I do encourage people to use their thumb and hitch-hike if needed because You never know when Two-tents (my new acquired “Indian Name” from an Elder) is passing-by and he’ll be able to give You a lift. Cheers!

All the best to everyone!

The Nipissing First Nation & Peoples: History, Culture & Celebrations

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    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      2 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You for stopping-by and leaving a comment Mr. Spirit Whisperer! I would still hitchhike if I needed to and I will always continue to give lifts when and if I can, to those in need.

      All the very best!

    • profile image

      Spirit Whisperer 

      2 months ago

      Everyone hitchhiked in my time and it was fine until some people started using it for darker purposes. Thank you for sharing.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      2 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      I do not need faith in strangers, Mr. Bill. I have faith in Wakan Tanka and that's all I really need. Well, Intuition helps for sure too. It's like I have Spider-man's sense of danger which keeps me out of trouble lol

      And I doubt You still have bad karma. You might not have picked up those hitchhikers because they had bad karma. Haha!!

      Thank You for the visit, I appreciate it. Have a wonderful week-end - cheers!

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      2 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Mrs. Norton, would You like a special invitation? Because I can offer one: You are personally invited to the Dokis First Nation Pow-wow, next Canada Day long-weekend. We're at the end of the Pow-wow season so, there is not much going on for the rest of the year but we'll do it all over next year so, do join us!

      And thank You kindly for reading my story and for leaving a comment. All the best!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Keep that karma on a "good" level, my friend, if you intend on picking up hitchhikers on a regular basis. I will say without hesitation that you have more faith in stranger than I do. I drove down to Oregon two weeks ago, an eight hour trip,and passed four hitchhikers on the way, three of whom were young girls....no pick ups from me. Maybe I sensed my karma was bad? Strange,too, because I once did a great amount of hitchhiking.

      Anyway, have a wonderful weekend!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I would like one day to be at a Pow-wow. We go up north following the North Bay route and have given a ride to some tourists hitchhiking and it's always interesting. I'm impressed you turned around. You certainly earned points there.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      2 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Haha, made me laugh Mr. Dierker. I suppose there is a code. I am not sure if I know it all in its entirety but "be respectful" is the part I tend to adhere to and ask others to do the same. It is for the well being of all of us, in my opinion.

      Thank You for stopping by and wish all is well on your end - cheers!

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      2 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Yes, Mr. Hansen I ended-up taking a bit of a detour, for sure but I wasn't in a rush so, it wasn't bad. And luckily, North Bay is a fairly small town so I managed to find my way around relatively easy.

      I guess I like adventures lol

      Thank You for the visit and comment. All the best!

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      2 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Greetings Mr. Wesman,

      "seems as though we humans especially like to see someone we're certain is awful, get something awful dealt to them" - It does seem like it reinforces our ideas of revenge indeed. Ya .. it doesn't feel well on my end either.

      From the perspective of genetical memory, that might make some sense but I am not a knowledgeable expert to give a serious opinion on it.

      Talking about expired licences. The last time a cop pulled me over and ran my name she said: "XXXX, You know your licence has been expired since 2014 and we're in 2018, right?" LOL Ya, that was bound to happen. Who drives for years on end with no licence and never gets caught? Just gotta make peace with the devil when You head-out on roads like that. (Not speaking of You, just sayin'.)

      Thanks for sharing some of your hitch-hiking stories. I always find them interesting and about my "demi-sword" (lol!) it's useful up in the bush. I do not carry guns, or riffles so, that's what I carry and it is usually in its sheath, on my belt. I do not conceal it.

      Thank You very much for the conversation and for taking the time to stop by. Good luck on your endevours!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I like it. Those who are on the road must have a code.....

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Nice read Mr Happy. I haven’t picked up a hitch hiker for a long time but it can be an interesting experience. It can get you detoured however lol.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      2 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I'm unsure as to whether or not I believe entirely in karma. Seems like there are not a lot of ideas I do buy 'all in' on though.

      It is certainly very satisfying to see someone get what we believe they had coming. For reasons which are probably not entirely benevolent, it seems as though we humans especially like to see someone we're certain is awful, get something awful dealt to them.

      I have to be thought of as at the least 'mostly Christian.' Oh the Christians wouldn't like this idea at all, but I'm not concerned about any Christian's estimation of me. I've got fundamentalist Christian parents, and they've got some beliefs which are in my mind, stupid at best.

      Anyway, I'm certainly not Hindu or Krishna or whatnot, but I've considered for many years the 'past lives' thing could have something to it. One time I shared a video on Facebook of a 6 year old kid playing guitar on a level I could only dream of achieving, and this Hare Krishna fella I used to know said, "Well, seems clear to me this is not that person's first life as a musician."

      That made as much sense to me as anything else did. But we do also know that humans do carry genetic memories. The Dutch Hunger Winter was something which has been studied.

      Another time an extremely attractive woman on Facebook, no clue why she asked me this question, but I called up two of the most intelligent folks I know to assist in the post, she asked me simply "Why are people so unhappy?"

      My explanation, condensed, was something like 'Because our ancestors were forever worried about having enough to eat. There were always also the next invasions to be worried about. So right here and now in North America, we don't have the worries our ancestors had, and so, because our minds were molded by fears we don't currently have, they don't know exactly how to handle our prosperity."

      I'm poor as dirt. I'm not unhappy at all. I'm not the guy who greets each new day in song and prayer or anything either, but I've been unhappy before, and it was always when I had the most money.

      I drink constantly. I was told I should never drink, and I was told this constantly as a child, because we're a family of alcoholics. Well, perhaps it is just a happier place for my line to sometimes be poor, and drinking often.

      Alcohol doesn't make me especially happy, but NOT having alcohol seems to make me pretty unhappy. How many cheap beers and yes, today I have some actual cigarettes, does it take for a complete breakfast?

      I've never planned to pick up a hitchhiker. I've not had an automobile since around 2009? Last time I had a job where I had a company vehicle was 2014. My driver's license is currently expired.

      Speaking of karma, I would imagine I deserve to be dead in an automobile accident a thousand times over. It's not that I'm a bad driver at all. I'm a FANTASTIC driver. Apparently I'm too good as a driver, as I've drove clean across this USA in 27 foot box trucks, to places I'd never been, and all while under an assortment of chemical influences, none of which were even close to be legal driving under.

      Never had a problem. And I didn't have the commercial license for driving that truck in that job either.

      Hitchhikers. I've probably picked up more hitchhikers than I can immediately remember, but I can think of two just now.

      The first one was not my idea, had someone with me yelling STOP! What looked like too attractive a woman to be walking down the road was, in fact, what you'd expect her to be. She was an ageing....ahem..."Lady of the free market." LOL.

      ...and she'd been beaten up a little, which was something which may have been her karma, but we'd already picked her up at this point, and so we deposited her somewhere around where she wanted to go.

      The last time I picked up a hitchhiker I felt like it was something where I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. It was somewhere in the wee hours of darkness, when the 'good' person is typically supposed to be sleeping. I was absolutely chemically induced to being completely on the edge of sanity.

      No clue where I was going. I may have just been going for the sake of being going. Whenever I've got money and a car, I tend to enjoy driving aimlessly. Just enjoying the movement, the radio, and I'm forever drinking.

      Anyway, this guy was walking down the side of a two lane country black top road, and I could see him, and he looked like he was asking God, or Satan, or ANYONE to show up and fight him right then and there. He was clearly extremely upset about something.

      ...so I felt like it was just the thing I was supposed to do. I'm driving and going nowhere, this person is pissed the hell off at the world, and so I should give him a ride so as to add some kind of usefulness to my nonsense, and to help out a total stranger, who I already can relate to.

      No problems. Guy was super pissed about a woman, something she'd done, and probably a thousand other things too.

      Jesus! You can legally drive around with that demi-sword next to you? LOL. Can't do that in Texas, I .....no wait, you can now. Used to you couldn't. I think you can walk around Texas with any sort of sword you wish now. One shouldn't bring swords to gunfights. Heh.

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