It is that simple, yet that complicated. As I sit outside the city of Darwin, in Australia's Northern Territory, I feel the need to recount the tale of a fellow hitchhiker.
As my hitch from Miles to Mount Isa dropped me at the western edge of town, I was a bit elated to see a fellow hitcher there as well. The intial wave of excitment was trampled by his grim expression, as the oddly dressed Brevarian informed me that he had been there for two days. Our exchange was the interupted by a passing car. He laxidasically stuck his thumb out with an expression on his face that conveyed he had just deficated in his odd trousers.
My worries were not in getting a ride but rather having to get a ride after/with him. His attitude was absolute shit! So, I conceded to stash my pack and find a place to cook dinner. Rice and beans, yum.
Within an half hour, not only did I find a stove but also a free place to stay, shower, and a great host to share a few drinks with. Though my bed was quite comfy, I woke early in the morning to try and catch a ride before sun grew to hot the sky.
I was happy that the Brevarian was again not their (he had been absent when I retrieved my pack towards nightfall, the preceeding evening). Littered at the spot though, I found several cardboard signs: "PLEASE", "JUST 1" , "SINCE 28h".
It was worse than I thought. This mans only hope was for the statistical occurance of a 'Buyer'. Someone who no matter how squalid, smelly, odd, disheartened, or overpacked a hitcher might be, a 'Buyer' will always stop and give him a lift. Though, he may only be heading a couple of kms down the road.
Due to the speed limit (60 kms/hr), I decided to forgo the sign that I usually use in urban spraws: "I DONT' SMELL!"and I pulled out my guitar (a good book works great as well). For every car or road train, I would put the guitar oh my back, stick my thumb triumphantly out, conjure a genuine smile, and wave as they passed. Within the hour, I had a ride.
You may try and boil this down to simply luck of the draw, and to those I ask you to pull out a map and look. Maybe for a ride or two, but could anyone run on luck for 5,000 kms?
It is all attitude.