A Ride to Remember

51woxOQWgQLAs I was driving into work one morning, listening to one of my many favorite morning radio shows “The Preston & Steve Show” on 93.3 WMMR here in Philly. I say “many” because I am beyond a channel changer while driving. But this show certainly has a way of making my ride a little brighter as I head to the salt mines office every day.

This particular morning there was a discussion on a new book titled “Carsick” by John Waters. It’s a wonderful entertaining story about John’s decision to hitchhike across the country. As the DJ’s were discussing excerpts from the book, listeners were calling in to tell their personal stories about a time when they had no other choice but to hitch a ride. I found this all very intriguing.

Lucky for me John was making his rounds promoting his tale and I was able to catch an interview with him on the Bill Maher Show. I ordered the audio version right smack in the middle of the interview!

I must say I have never listened to a book before, because I am a traditional girl who enjoys her books written on paper, but since I have a 30-40 minute ride to the gym every day, I thought this would be a good way to pass the time and avoid my OCD channel changing … Mission accomplished John! 

And so the adventure begins….

And so the adventure begins….

Many of you may already know that the then 66 year-old Baltimore film director John Waters decided to hitchhike from his home in Baltimore Maryland to his home in San Francisco. Crazy or living life? 

Just the idea of such a journey in 2014, when the world seems so humanly disconnected, had me completely fascinated. I’m not sure why since I never had a wish to hitchhike … especially since most hitchhikers are usually portrayed as serial murders and frankly I’m a scardy cat. However, John did point out that most serial killers are looking for 20-year-old hookers and that did make me feel much safer.

The excitement as I put the first CD into the player was admittedly a tad over the top, but who cares … I just wanted to hear all the details of this journey … one CD at a time.

After listening to at least 2 CD’s I started to think …. “why haven’t I heard about any of this on the news?” 

Well, the answer to that million dollar question was found when I decided to read up on the details of the book. Something I usually do before I hit the “Add to cart” button. This is where I learned I that the first half of the book was John’s fictional version of his trip. Let me just say If anyone has some swamp land they want to get rid of … I’m your girl.

First up are the fictional good and bad rides; followed by the real rides that got him to San Francisco. 3 books for the price of 1!

If you’ve ever seen or read any of John’s past work you are well aware that his imagination reaches a level that most people cannot even fathom and he does not hold back in the fictional version of his journey. Some might think it was over the top, others (like myself) might think … hey, you never know. 

How could you not respond to this clever sign?

How could you not respond to this clever sign?

John wouldn’t be John without adding some exaggerated lewdness to the first half of the book. Hey, he isn’t known as the “Pope of Trash” for his portrayal of sunshine and butterflies. There were times when I think I might have blushed, cringed and laughed behind the wheel as I listened to him tell his fictional tale, but it didn’t stop me.

His words just confirmed that if anyone in this world was going to have sex with an Alien; be given a magical asshole for three hours that would fix a flat and sing duets with Connie Frances …  well, it would be John Waters.

After all the crazy antics of the fictional adventures, I heard the words 18s4bouiebbr9jpg“The Real Thing” and I found myself so engrossed that I was driving in circles just to finish a chapter. It was worth every ounce of fuel … even at $3.67 a gallon!

I couldn’t help but imagine myself as one of those dashboard hula girls eavesdropping on every ride.  Best seat in the house. 

Does all of this make me want to manicure my thumb and hit the highway? Not one bit.  It does however urge me to head into each day with my wit, optimism and belief that not every stranger is a serial killer … some are just out there to Enjoy the Ride  …  just like me. 












25 responses

  1. It’s now in my ‘must read’ queue!

    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  2. i love him and my oldest daughter and i just bought it and are doing if for a family book club!

    1. You will enjoy it! I passed it on to my sister and she loved it too!

  3. It must be good if you drove in circles to finish a chapter! I will check into it!

  4. I’ve never even considered hitchhiking. They drilled “stranger danger” into my head so hard as a child that I think of potential hitchhikers as criminals and people who would give me a ride as kidnappers.

  5. Lisa, thanks for sharing. Being from Philly, there is some young fellow from PA who hitchhiked across America with a banjo and audio recorder. He interviewed people along the way and played music with some. I heard an excerpt on NPR and it was fabulous. I had forgotten about it until you mentioned it. If I can find it, I will post it. Thanks, BTG

    1. I just love the enthusiasm of people, it rally brightens my spirit.

  6. I saw him interviewed on The Colbert Show… what a hoot! Thank you for reminding me that I wanted to pick up his book. I don’t remember him talking about the fictional rides, though. What I do remember is that his experience was a positive one, even when he met up with those who we might think of as open minded. That made me so happy.

    1. That is really what got me too. Brings back faith in humanity for sure.

  7. I’m a big fan of Mr. Waters. I think most of his fans would have loved to have picked him up, but being driven across the country by sycophants like me would have made for a crappy book.

    1. It was funny how most people didn’t recognize him and he was glad they didn’t. It gave him the opportunity to find out about their lives. He really is a loving person under that wild imagination of his.

      1. He’s Baltimore’s treasure.

  8. I loved it too when I read it, but I bet it’s a hoot to listen to. I love the kid that kept showing up that actually ended up staying at his house in San Francisco. To be honest, the last part…the actual recap of what happened, for me, was the best part of the book. The what could have happened left me a little shaken. It took me 100 pages to realize it was a fantasy. When he meets Connie Francis and they’re singing a duet of a medley of her hits, that’s when it finally hit me….I know it’s John Waters, but could all this really have happened? La La

  9. You get the prize for best book review of the week. I read an earlier review of this book and went meh but never mind that. Exaggerated lewdness? Ha! Are you a recorded books fan now?

    1. I really did enjoy listening to this book, especially this one because John was telling his own story. I know for me it would be all about the voice to determine if I would listen, but one thing I really enjoyed was there were no interruptions other than reaching my destination. I will certainly listen again!

  10. Oh I forgot I wanted to read this book. I saw him interviewed by Colbert a month or so ago, and it sounds great. Your post confirmed it.

    When I was a teenager, I used to hitchhike all the time. I met incredibly nice people. It has always saddened me that the world is such that we are afraid of each other. The only danger I was ever in was from my parents finding out!

    1. Wow! I knew you were cool, but now it has been confirmed. You hitchhiked!! Badass to the core.

      1. Not really. I had a fight with my dad who complained when I asked him for a ride. So I made my own way and it was all local. I often knew who was picking me up.

  11. Audio books were my best friends at one point. I spent a lot of time on the road and a minimum of 2 hours a day driving back and forth to work. It is a wonderful way to get to “read” the books you don’t have time for. There was a an Audio Book rental place near my work so I didn’t have to put out a lot of cash but got to listen to a lot of adventures. This one sounds wonderful. It will have to go on my list.

  12. Hitchhiking sounds so exciting! But I’m a big ol’ scardy cat too. I’m going to check out this book though

  13. Hey Top…just checking in…miss you…write something please 🙂

    1. Believe me I’m trying! Life and now a lovely case of poison ivy are getting in the way.

  14. Hi, my name is Benze & I am a reformed hitchhiker. Before I bought my first car I used to hitchhike a LOT! During a bus strike in Wpg. I hitchhiked to & from work every day for 2 weeks. I had a sign – one side said City Hall & the other side said North Kildonan. It was the only way I could get around. Mind you this was in the 70’s & it was a very different time. I wouldn’t even go near another person if my car broke down now & I certainly would never pick up a hitchhiker!

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