John Waters on hitchhiking adventures and his long-ago arrest at Johns Hopkins

By Bret McCabe (Johns Hopkins University “Hub,” 9/22/2014)

carsick_cover“…In the prologue of the book you write that your parents expected you to hitchhike to school.

When my parents wanted me to hitchhike—I went to Calvert Hall—and in private schools and Catholic schools, everybody hitchhiked. It wasn’t thought of as an eyebrow-raising thing to tell your children to do then. It should have been. The same perverts were out there that are out there now.

That’s what I was wondering. What has changed? I don’t spend much time driving on the interstate, but when I did in the 1990s I don’t recall seeing many hitchhikers.

I never saw any the whole way to San Francisco—well, I saw one hitchhiker. The last time I saw one in Baltimore, I picked him up. It was the daytime on Eastern Avenue, and I was there innocently—Eastern Avenue didn’t used to be an innocent place to pick up hitchhikers, believe me. And he got in the car and immediately started huffing glue. And I said, “Just make yourself comfortable.” He offered me some. I said no—it wasn’t a Friday night, it was a Tuesday morning or something. If I’m going to huff glue in my 60s, it ain’t going to be on a weekday morning. It would have to be a really bad night, late.

What do you think happened to all the hitchhikers? Did more people get cars? Did other forms of transportation become more affordable? Or did we just get more fearful of each other, worried that hitchhikers or the people who pick them up are serial killers?”

Continue reading at JHU Hub.

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