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Bout de Souffle
Out of Breath
Thumbing Rides
The only way I could cross country was to thumb rides, for even after hawking everything, I only had enough money to eat. Money. You know what that is. It's the stuff you never have enough of. Little green things with George Washington's picture that men slave for, commit crimes for, die for. It's the stuff that has caused more trouble in the world than anything else we ever invented. Simply because there's too little of it. At least I had too little of it. So it was me for the thumb.

Ever done any hitchhiking? It's not much fun, believe me. Oh yeah, I know all about how it's an education, how you get to meet a lot of people and all that. But me, from now on I'll take my education in college, or in PS62, or I'll send $1.98 in stamps for ten easy lessons.

Thumbing rides may save you bus fare, but it's dangerous. You never know what's in store for you when you hear the squeal of brakes. If only I had known what I was getting into that day in Arizona.

You know, Emily Post oughta write a book of rules for guys thumbing rides, because as it is now, you never know what's right and what's wrong. We rode along for a little while but neither one of us was saying anything. I was glad of that. I never know what to say to strange people driving cars. And two, you can never know if a guy wants to talk. A lot of rides have been cut short because of a big mouth. So I kept my mouth shut until he started opening up.

From the film Detour, 1945, by Martin Goldsmith.

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