Loaded Assumptions

I love picking up hitch-hikers. There really aren’t very many in the U.S., which does kind of make sense given the insane tenacity with which people teach “stranger danger” there.

The feeling of “fear the unknown” has apparently not quite migrated far enough north to stop folks from thumbin’ it across Canada. This dovetails conveniently, I think, with the undeniable fact that speed limits in Canada are SO. SLOOOOOW. But, whatever. Top speeds of 55 miles an hour make it significantly easier to pull over and pick up folks on the side of the road.

I found one lovely guy, travelling west from Montreal. (Apparently I should go there. It’s super friendly and accepting.) He was heading to the Shambala festival, which is, like, a ten-day festival of craziness. It’s got like, 8 stages or something.

I’m a bit surprised that I’d never heard of it before, because I used to work security at outdoor concerts in Eastern Washington, and this thing is apparently *huge*.

It is also one of those festivals with a high casualty rate. The number of staff at the local hospital gets practically doubled for the duration; with medics getting bus-ed in from all of the surrounding clinics.

I picked up another guy, who had a sign that simply read “Home”.

He had travelled south to catch the fruit-picking jobs. He lives in a smelting town up north. He’d been stuck on the side of the road for several hours before I picked him up.

He left me a pulp-fiction novel in return for the lift.

I can’t wait to read it.

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