Hitchhiking: The Greatest Game I've Ever Played
The driver, a woman in her 50's, leans over to her male companion, mumbles something and then shouts out her window "Where are you headed?" to which we responded "It doesn't matter as long as it's west." She informs us she'll take us to Manayunk, a Philadelphia suburb and trendwhore bar town. She introduces herself as Sue and her husband's name is Guido. They begin discussing how they have to paint a row-home they're renting out and they really don't feel like doing it. I tell them that we'd be glad to help them in exchange for the ride and Sue says depending on how much we work, she'll even pay us. We get to her row home and she brings us inside. Guido is obviously not happy with our presence but she ignores his angst and offers us bottles of Gatorade. Guido runs a hot-dog vending cart and he's got tons of product all over his house. After showing us into their rental home, Guido yells a bit, demanding we leave. Sue calms him down and she gives us rollers and paint and says we can stop when we're done and she'll decide how much we're staying. She also says if it gets too late, we can sleep there and use the shower. We end up painting 4 bedrooms, 2 hallways, a living room and a kitchen for what Sue deemed to be worth $200. After a day of thinking $5 was a lot, we felt like millionaires. We decided we'd hang on to the cash but wanted to see what Manayunk was all about before we went to bed and if we could get some liquor, it'd make things that much better.
Being underaged, our $200 wasn't buying us shit. We walked up and down the main street hoping to find someone nice, fun and sober. We settled for the first two. Two guys in their 30's-40's called us over to them. The one immediately hands me a pack of Camel's which he demands I keep despite the fact that I don't smoke. We tell them of our journey and one of the guys exclaims that he MUST buy us alcohol because we deserve it. On the way to one of the off-street bars, we make note of an abandoned resturant/club that we notice. We have a thing for urban exploration. He buys us beer which we promptly down and then stumble back to our freshly-painted rowhome. At around noon, we finish painting and Sue makes us brunch. We shower up and tell her that there was a record shop in town that we really wanted to check out before we left. She offered us a ride and we turned her down. We weren't going to the record shop.
We arrive at the abandoned club. It was called Carmella's or something like that. It was really more of a resturant/bar and it could potentially be a really nice place. We broke our way into the basement and found a very large stack of old vinyl's with gems from such artists as Fleetwood Mac, Herbie Hancock, Phil Collins, Boston and well, everything else that came out around that time period. It was a pretty decent collection. We took a few and put them in our backpacks and went back upstairs. We left the leftover beer on the bar with a sign that read "FREE: To a good home." and walked away from Manayunk forever. (If someone goes to that club, right off the main street and takes a picture of that beer, which is probably still there, I will love you eternally.)
We met up with Sue and she says she's going to drive us to the King Of Prussia mall so we can continue our journey. She gives us a bag of oreos and a bottle of gatorade each and we get out of her car. She gives us her phone number and tells us to call her if anything goes wrong. We won't.
We spend about 25 minutes at the mall with our patented "WEST" sign and we get picked up by a nice gay couple who tell us they'll take us to Doylestown and they inform us on how difficult it was for them in high school, for some reason. Apparently, gay goth couples don't make friends well. You learn something new every day. They drop us off at the entrance to the interstate in Doylestown and it takes less than 5 minutes before we're picked up by the nicest couple of pot smokers. We all rock out to Queens of the Stoneage all the way to Harrisburg and they take us to their condo. This place was gorgeous. I was totally expecting a hole of an apartment but it was a tidy, fully furnished multi-level condo. We indulged in a bit of and a few shots of rum and they dropped us off at a truckstop. Buzzed and high, we crashed at an ice-cream parlor down the road which was closed for renovation.