When I ventured out to the road way, I was greeted by the sight of probably more folks than shared our campsite stretched out along the roadside thumbing rides. Individually or in groups of two or three, it seemed no one had been successful in flagging down a lift. Custom was in such situation to walk to the end, placing yourself last in the long line of people headed away. Realizing you were last item on the shelf to be viewed did not promote a positive feeling that you could escape. Stories circulated that groups sometimes were stranded in obscure places for days. I could see why. Begging a ride while exhibiting a negative bearing was usually not a success. There were signs that attitude was descending here. Pessimistic remarks and disgruntled looks predominated. Not wanting to sink to that level, I just kept walking. The end of the line seemed a least a mile away from where it began. When I got there, stopping and thumb did not feel worthwhile. I continued walking. It was a good day for a hike.
It was quite awhile before a car pulled over unbidden. Jeff offered me a short ride to Schenectady. He also offered to provide me with a lunch. Seeing it was near noon and I had not even had a cup of coffee, I accepted his offer. On the way to his house, he disclosed he was a professor at a nearby university. He claimed he was in the midst of a research project on human sexuality. He made it sound intellectually interesting. After preparing a meal he let on his other motive. He wanted to have sex with me. So, “this is the nature of his studies.” I thought. I was not interested in having sex with a man, but, I was curious about how he would make his approach. I had nothing to compare it with except the female approach. As it turned out,, he was more direct, He exposed his huge erection. That did nothing for me. I felt a tinge of concern that I may be trapped.
I have no experience in retreating in such situations. My exposure to wild animals, taught me to not show fear. Somehow, I was able to extricate myself from this uncomfortable situation and ask to be permitted to get back to my journey. Jeff readily agreed to give me a lift back to the highway. He also acted hurt I had not accepted his offer. He made comment that indicated he was certain I was missing a good thing. It took little time to gather together and hit the road. After being let off, I pondered the vulnerability of people who choose a vagabond lifestyle. I also felt gratitude I did not become a statistic of homicidal predatory behaviors. I began to realize there may be some force hovering over me offering protection though I walk through the valley of shadows.