Off Ramps

It’s been a long while now since I got where I wasn’t going. But it happened all the time when I was younger. My friend Bill and I’d be dropped off from a ride in some small town by whatever driver responded to our stuck-out thumbs. Typically we’d find someplace to get coffee, review our map, and ask about good places to get a ride.
For those who do not remember a pre-digital world, broadband, or wi-fi, our maps were printed and non-interactive; if you asked a question, the only voice answered back was the wind.
It had happened a few times to us: the local kid in the coffeeshop would wonder at our map and be amazed that his town didn’t show up, or the shop owner would suspiciously examine our dollar bills.
We learned fast that in those cases. It was wise to depart before other discrepancies showed up. Bill had an experience with a gal who claimed a relationship. An effusive long-lost relation appeared; signs were in strange fonts, movies played in cinemas with quirky titles. He was not tempted to stay. I, on the other hand, was easy to seduce. More than once, I got dragged out of a coffee shop and onto the road. These detours were transitiory; we’d just find our way back to Boston’s Beacon Hill, the Harvard Gardens and our digs at the Folkie Palace.
I still have a fascination with places that appear as non-listed off ramps to sites where Harding is not on the fifty-dollar bill; Starbucks doesn’t serve the best ice cream around or where DC is not the fiftieth state and Alaska a territory.
Sometimes I miss the old days.

One Reply to “Off Ramps”

  1. I immediately thought of when my best friend and I would go, get a pack of cigarettes, a six pack of beer and drive around trying to get lost on back roads. Yeah, not the best in any sense but back then that was the life! We had our music, butts, and beer! Lol.

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