When it rains here in College Station it doesn’t stop. Students huddle under blankets with some hot chocolate and indulge themselves watching rom-coms. And without the sun filtering in through the window, can they really be blamed for sleeping in accidentally?
But after 48…72…96 hours that lethargic mood goes from being refreshing to unproductive. And when you forget your umbrella, it becomes downright miserable.
It was one such rainy College Station day that I had forgotten my umbrella. I was facing a ten minute walk from the bus stop to my apartment. Now, this wasn’t just a nice, drizzly rain. It was torrential. Rain was coming down in sheaths. My hair was sticking to my face and my glasses were useless.
I sprinted down the sidewalk for a brave few minutes, while cars sloshed by. Cars that were nice and dry, cars that could reach my home in a mere two minutes, cars that were probably heading in that direction anyways.
I clenched my hand, suddenly aware of how much power it held. Brief warnings about strangers and kidnappers flashed through my mind, but mostly I thought about dryness. I stepped to the edge of the sidewalk and stuck my hand out, thumb to the sky.
A car drove by. And then another. Three seconds wasted standing by the side of the road when I could have been running!
But I’d committed. My thumb stayed out and, finally, someone stopped. And then…I got into the wrong car.
Here’s how it happened. Two cars were driving down the one-lane road. One kind soul took pity on me, but he braked so smoothly that he ended up a couple of feet in ahead of where I stood. The car behind him stopped to avoid a collision, such that his door ended up right in front of me.
It was raining. My notebooks were in danger of water damage. My brain had no thought except for dry car! I tugged on the door. It was locked. I tugged some more, my mind still not registering that this car had actually not stopped for me, and the driver let me in. I spilled into the seat. Dry.
“Hi,” I said.
“Where are you headed?” he asked.
And he drove me there.
I suppose I could frame this as a cautionary tale against hitchhiking, or warn you to get in the right car, but I’m alive and well. There’s no moral, except that there are some truly kind people in this world who won’t question a random, drenched girl jumping into their car, especially here in Aggieland.
P.S. Kids, do not try this at home.