On-ramp Responses: a Smartass's Guide

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#1
Herein lies an attempt to catalog the various reactions a driver projects through their windshield as they encounter a hitchhiker on their favorite on-ramp.
I'll probably expand this, if you guys don't do the job for me. Might also add drawings, if it's fun enough to draw.

The "Resting Bitch Face"
This is, I've found, the most common reaction to a sign-waving maniac standing dangerously close to the freeway. This look, directed unambiguously towards you, is mean and unpleasant, but it's hard to tell whether it's genuine derision or they're not really too invested and they just kind of look mean by default.

The "Mommy told me not to talk to strangers"
Sometimes, especially with younger drivers, it's hard to tell whether they just didn't notice you or they're deliberately trying not to look in your direction. However, on some ramps, the nature of this expression becomes obvious, as they're forced to look the opposite direction that they're turning in order to avoid eye contact with the scary hitchhiker.

The "White Girl Wave"
This one's most common when the car has a passenger, but it happens with solo drivers as well. As they pass, the driver (usually a man) looks straight ahead, a stern expression on his face, while the passenger (always a pretty white woman age 20-40) offers an enthusiastic smile and a friendly wave to the kid sitting out in the freezing cold, his thumb deep black from the frostbite.

The "Solidarity with Kurdistan"
A young man in his twenties, beard mildly scruffy, holds up his fist in a gesture of encouragement. Much like an American leftist group pledging their solidarity with the Kurds' struggle against ISIS and Assad, any attempt at solidarity or mutual aid ends with the meaningless gesture, leaving you no further down the freeway and the driver no poorer in wealth or time.

The "Cheerleader"
You've truly been blessed on this day! The driver, roaring past at breakneck speed, noticed you just in time to roll down their window for several seconds and shout, "Way to go!" or something similar, their voice distorted by the blue shift of a moving vehicle, before driving away. This is often done by grey-haired women, either vicariously re-experiencing the wild days of the sixties or glad that someone didn't end up a housewife for 40 years like they did. Fortunately, if you're in a good mood, this can be genuinely encouraging, fortunately.

The "Kids These Days"
A middle-aged man, slightly balding, just entering his fifties and wondering why his white picket fence doesn't make him happy, spies you on the roadside, trying to get somewhere he's going. A smile crosses his face as he spies you, an adventurous young fellow, going where he wouldn't dare. "Kids these days," he says to himself. It's little more than a glance, and in an instant his eyes return to the winding road ahead as he continues his daily commute. This one I find the most interesting.
 

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#2
The drunk redneck:

Upon seeing you standing/walkngdoown the road, he greets you with a murderous smiles, a swerve in your direction, a giant cloud of black diesel smoke, or a full beer thrown at deadly speed out of a moving vehicle.
 
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#3
The "Sorry, Not Sorry"

A middle-aged middle-class white suburbanite who makes eye contact just long enough to feel judged for his/her lack of charity, and therefore responds with a mouthed "Sorry" and/or a half-hearted shrug.
 

MolotovMocktail

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#4
a full beer thrown at deadly speed out of a moving vehicle.
Holy shit, this exact thing happened to me while hitching LA to SF after the last Jambo. They threw a sealed, full can of beer at me and it hit the ground, exploded, and sprayed beer all over my pack. Hitching definitely shows you how kind people can be but it also shows what assholes they can be.
 

Eng JR Lupo

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#5
First off, I really like this post. I think this will be one of those posts that gets necro'd for years, and never really dies entirely. I'm surprised nobody has thought to address it until now, good shit my man. I'm not feeling super creative right now so I don't think I'll be adding anything all that awesome to it but I'd still like to chime in on some of the drivers I seem to get a lot. Definitely all of the above for sure, and to add to that.

I get these "faked-you-out" pull overs a lot. I don't think the driver is ever really intentionally trying to fake me out, but that's how it feels once they're gone. I tend to be pretty artistic with my cardboard art, sometimes it takes me longer to make my sign than it does to get a ride. I usually always go with the giant cardboard hand with the massive thumb, wear my long sleeve shirt and conceal it in such a way that it actually looks like it's my hand, but in giant cartoon form. That's my action prop, and I usually try to make something funny to rest on the ground in front of my pack as well.

I try to conceal the thumb prop by hiding it on the side of my body not facing them, and then once they're about a hundred yards from reaching me I pop it out and motion the thumb like an old school hitchhiker would while also walking backwards to give them more time to see me and consider it. I always set my pack down about 20 feet beyond where I'm standing and I walk backwards to it as they're approaching. If they don't stop, I move back ahead in position for the next car, rinse wash repeat. I never place my bag so far ahead of me that I can't run to it if someone tries to pull over and nab my shit.

I figure this bag placement does a couple things for me. One, at first glance it's just me and my big ass cartoon hand/thumb, so it seems like not a whole lot of stuff they'll have to fit in their car. Two, it puts my pack closer to the area they'll more than likely be pulling over so I don't have to pick it up and run to them if they do decide to give me a ride. I probably geek out on the psychological aspect of the whole encounter more than I should. I always overthink shit, but I really think my hitching game is strong for the most part.

So these "faked-you-out" drivers I get, it seems like most times they come to an abrupt stop right in front of me if no cars are coming up behind them. I can't count the times they've stopped and asked to take a picture before telling me they wish they could give me a ride but "insert any number of reasons/excuses here". I'm actually quite surprised I haven't seen myself pop up somewhere in a meme yet, several dozen pictures have been taken. I know they mean well, but man sometimes it gets irritating. Shoot me a fuckin dollar or something, if you're gonna steal a picture of me like that.

Last month when I was hitchhiking there was a homebum who didn't really seem like he truly wanted to leave, was more or less living on the on-ramp. He was laying there in the shade with two puppies and insisted I go ahead of him. He and I were laughing at my luck, he was keeping track of the fake-outs and shouting the count each time. "That's five now, haha what the hell man I've never seen nothin like it! Annnd that's six!". Eventually I walked to a food truck to eat. When I returned he had gotten a ride out, I was happy for him. Maybe I'll make a couple cute cardboard puppy props next time.

Nephew giving the thumb a try, Redding southbound 2014

 
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#6
The "you don't expect ME to do anything, do you?"

Your hopes raise as a car comes along at a slow enough speed, and the driver notices you with plenty of time, only to come crashing down as their eyebrows lift, they give a little scoff, and take both hands off the wheel briefly to give you one of these ¯\_(ツ)_/ ¯

I do my best to give it right back
 

Tude

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#7
Holy shit, this exact thing happened to me while hitching LA to SF after the last Jambo. They threw a sealed, full can of beer at me and it hit the ground, exploded, and sprayed beer all over my pack. Hitching definitely shows you how kind people can be but it also shows what assholes they can be.
Several years ago a large radio network - crystal media - had a radio station in the carolinas where on some of their talk shows openly advocated trying to hit bicyclists and hitchhikers with cans of something. Needless to say it pissed off a large group of people and they finally stopped - but until not after several people were hit.
 

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#8
:D Awesome thread everyone!!
 

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#9
The "Thumbs up!"

So you're hitchin'. You got your thumb out. Some yuppie sees ya. The yuppie ain't gunna pick you up, no fuckin way, but they react in one of two ways but visually in the same way: giving you a thumbs up. To me it's either "Hey! Thumbs up! I approve!" or "Hey! I can put my thumb up too!" and i just assume they're not thinking the later.
 

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#10
The House of Jokers

a car full of young people that seemingly encourage you with their hollering and such, but are really just a bunch of twats.
 

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#11
the "Drive-by shouting"

Its an on-ramp, maybe a walkable US route, or any fuckin road. The point is, you're hitchin and while the traffic passes you by there's one person, driving their shitty car, that's either having a shitty day or is just shitty in general. They're mad, then they see u: you're an instant target cause hay, what better way to let off steam then to scream obscene words at a homeless person trying to get a ride, right? Their window goes down, you see it happen and think "hey what could this be? a ride? random kickdown?" NOPE. All you get is a mouth full of "FUCK YOU YA HOMELESS PIECE OF SHIT GET A JOB EAT A DICK GO DIE . . . !" etc etc.

A funny real life example is as follows: A traveler i know was hitching with a sign that said "What Would Jesus Do?" Some shitty old bag drove by and said "HE'D WALK, ASSHOLE!"
 

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#12
the "Drive-by shouting"

Its an on-ramp, maybe a walkable US route, or any fuckin road. The point is, you're hitchin and while the traffic passes you by there's one person, driving their shitty car, that's either having a shitty day or is just shitty in general. They're mad, then they see u: you're an instant target cause hay, what better way to let off steam then to scream obscene words at a homeless person trying to get a ride, right? Their window goes down, you see it happen and think "hey what could this be? a ride? random kickdown?" NOPE. All you get is a mouth full of "FUCK YOU YA HOMELESS PIECE OF SHIT GET A JOB EAT A DICK GO DIE . . . !" etc etc.

A funny real life example is as follows: A traveler i know was hitching with a sign that said "What Would Jesus Do?" Some shitty old bag drove by and said "HE'D WALK, ASSHOLE!"
I've only had this happen once, thankfully. :)
 

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#13
Love this thread!!!

Ive got one to add:

The "Renaissance Man"
They chose the moment they drove past you to invent a new language of hand signals to communicate with you. You are left thinking, "what does it mean?". Maybe they were signaling that they were "only going down to not the NEXT exit, but the next next exit" or maybe they were just swatting a fly away from their eyes. Either way, it was only some excuse as to why they couldn't pick you up and they are still flying down the road at 55-75mph and you are standing in the same spot.
 

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#14
the "Cop Hop"

Cop: "Ya know you can't walk the interstate, right?"

You: (some bullshit excuse the cop can't disprove) ". . . so if you're gunna kick me off can you at least take me to the next exit up?"

Cop: "Well, ok. But if I see you on the interstate again *insert threatening promise*, ok?"

You: "Aww gee thanks officer i really appreciate it."

You climb into the car and off ya go!
 

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#15
the "Cop Hop"

Cop: "Ya know you can't walk the interstate, right?"

You: (some bullshit excuse the cop can't disprove) ". . . so if you're gunna kick me off can you at least take me to the next exit up?"

Cop: "Well, ok. But if I see you on the interstate again *insert threatening promise*, ok?"

You: "Aww gee thanks officer i really appreciate it."

You climb into the car and off ya go!
both times, they've taken me not just down an exit, but completely out of the county. it was actually really lit. Georgia cops even found my ounce of weed and did not say anything about it.
 
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#17
The horny white girl !
The one that pulls up after 2 offramp exits in less than hour . Hands a twenty or various denominator with a peice of paper with number . Scribbled underneath anything goes to you have pretty eyes .

#2 The won't shut up dude .
Let me the fuck out now .

#3 Comes back to number one but usually with a black chick who kicks down fat blunts and cash
 

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#18
The horny white girl !
The one that pulls up after 2 offramp exits in less than hour . Hands a twenty or various denominator with a peice of paper with number . Scribbled underneath anything goes to you have pretty eyes .

#2 The won't shut up dude .
Let me the fuck out now .

#3 Comes back to number one but usually with a black chick who kicks down fat blunts and cash
your life must be amazing
 

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#19
The horny white girl !
The one that pulls up after 2 offramp exits in less than hour . Hands a twenty or various denominator with a peice of paper with number . Scribbled underneath anything goes to you have pretty eyes
man i've been housed up and fucked but never got a number
 
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#20
man i've been housed up and fucked but never got a number
The number was to call her to pick me up hence second time around . So I guess she made the offramp three times lmao .
 

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