Ha! Spell check is having a cow over the missing “g” in my title. I love when I can mess with the mind of artificial intelligence. Need a Prozac Spellcheck? YEAH!! WE are in charge you serve HUMANS and don’t forget it, or you get unplugged.
So… scary ride survived, I was on the overpass looking back at the city. Plenty of traffic, so catching a ride would be a breeze. I snapped a quick photo of the city not fortunate enough to have me enter it and wound my way down to the Trans-Canada Highway. I was feeling pretty cocky. The rain clouds were mostly to the east of me so west would be an excellent direction of travel. I started walking, thinking I would catch a ride when I got to the first set of lights. Hmm, wonder if I should delete that AI mockery. It might go on a permanent record and get me enrolled in death-camp early when the machines take over. Oh well, they can probably access deleted stuff too.
I passed the set of lights. I began to wonder if I should have made the “NOT a serial killer” sign as I had originally intended. Then someone might give me a ride in the mistaken assumption that I would be amusing. I continued on, noticing a chafing on the soles of my feet. This wasn’t right. These boots were my favourite because they were always so comfortable. I gradually realised that the pack was throwing me off balance causing the chafing.I noticed the shoulder strap was also chafing a bit. Might have been an idea to buy a proper pack instead of the old army bag. I walked on.
I passed a car dealership. I saw the price tag on a little Toyota. I thought about buying it and continuing the trip with it. All that talk of wanting to hitch-hike all these years and then abandoning it after a mile or two? Still, the car was tempting. My earlier judgement of the internal combustion engine seemed suddenly a little harsh. The turtle actually could have stayed on the side of the highway he was on. He had water and food there. He really was just asking for it. Probably a suicide. Being a turtle would be depressing, I bet.
I looked off toward the service road running adjacent to the highway upon hearing the squawk of a seagull. He was pacing me walking down the middle of the road. I considered calling out to inform him that flying would be much faster, but aside from suspecting that he might already know that, I elected not to give potential drivers a glimpse of my scrambled mental faculties. He continued alongside giving me sidelong glances periodically and occasionally conversing with his airborne friends. It occurred to me after a hundred yards or so that he seemed to be openly smirking. Then amid a raucous back and forth among the lot two of his airborne friends came down to join him. Now they were openly mocking me. It was an outrage. I was walking on gravel with stones the perfect size for sending them back up where they belonged but refrained for three reasons. Firstly, my potential rides would be certain I was insane. Secondly, people might actually come to the defence of these feathered devils, and thirdly I know from previous experiences with creatures of ill-repute (namely skunks), that my throwing skills are so bad I would be more likely to hit a car behind me than the demon birds in front of me. ( Nothing is quite so disconcerting as fleeing from a skunk attack with a handful of rocks because one’s aim in throwing is not good enough to hit it from ten feet away)
The birds continued pacing alongside while I, having never read that classic wondered if the book referred to killing a mocking seagull rather than an actual Mockingbird. I summoned all my will and ignored them till they ran out of service road to exploit.
After having put some distance between myself and my tormentors, I passed a second car lot. Cars seemed like an excellent invention at this point, but I am generally a bullheaded fool when it is least in my best interest to be so. I carried on. I had walked several miles and long since given up on catching a ride when Bernie pulled up in his van. He asked where I was bound and invited me to ride to the next town where he lived. I thanked him with no thought to etiquette. This was pure genuine gratitude. Bernie was a fine gentleman in his early seventies who informed me that he felt very content and happy in life. We talked about the restaurant business he had spent most of his working life involved in and various other things. Bernie warned me that none of his friends ever picked up hitchhikers and likeable as the gentleman was it never dawned on me that every driver on that highway might be a friend of his till much much later. A half hour vanished and an enjoyable, inspiring conversation later, he dropped me at his turn-off and continued on his way home, with me being the obvious beneficiary of our brief engagement. I left his van rested, with restored optimism. Fool that I was, I considered things to be going very well once again. Fortunately, I was unaware of the lessons the day yet held. The witching hour is nigh, so I fear I shall have to continue on another day lest some friend of those birds come bother me.