Hitchhiking is Safer Than Facebook

hitchhiking-inmates Someone should have warned me about Facebook. When I signed up a year ago, very few of my married mommy girlfriends were on there. I naively nosed around a few fishing groups and ended up with a gazillion fishing friends that I didn’t know. Nothing wrong with that except they now had my first and last name, and some of these dudes were creepy. A few bad eggs will just ruin it for everyone.

It was a full-time job to monitor my Facebook Wall which filled up with messages from total strangers who were always “Partying At The Playboy Club in Vegas” or “Recovering From a Six-Day Bender.” Not to mention writing lecherous messages about me.

hhikeI had to take down my Facebook profile.

Sad really, because I grew up in a family that was pretty open and embraced the notion of befriending a stranger. On family roadtrips to Colorado my dad would inevitably pick up some hitchhiker. It was always exotic and terribly exciting to hear their story and blend lives for a short while.

Once, when we were living in London, my mother went to Russia with a friend and they brought home some graduate student who didn’t have a place to spend the holidays. I swear I think we hung a stocking for him on our mantle.

Where did those days go? A simpler time when hitchhiking was the safest form of social networking and travel brought real human characters into your life.

PA220017 I will say, we had a taste of it in Montana last week. Through an organic chain of events, The Professor and I met up with fishing-guide writer, Gaper, and his buddy Spinner. They were tackling the same stretch on The Big Hole. Now I can’t keep track of all the personalities and screen names over on The Drake site, so it was well into our boat ramp banter when I learned that Gaper is in fact the much-ballyhooed author of the AK Chronicles.

Knock me over with a feather! An urban legend…the blogger that gets a book deal. That’s like the guy who shows up in LA to be a screenwriter or the doe-eyed optimist who arrives in Nashville to be a songwriter. I was terribly uncool and starstruck.

melrose barGaper, however, was the epitome of cool, as was his buddy Spinner. They were a riot actually. When we met them at the end of the day at The Melrose Bar, they appeared to be multiplying, arriving with a third guy. Turns out the extra fisherman, Mike, had been fishing alone on the banks of The Big Hole so they loaded him in their boat as they floated by.

Thank heavens they did because Mike brought a whole different layer to the story. He is a young golfer who played one British amateur and two US amateurs, including nailing a hole-in-one at Eastlake. Initial pass as a professional golfer didn’t pay the bills so he is headed to southern California to be a caddy. While working his way across the country toward that tour of duty, he was living out of his car in Montana, fishing out his final weeks of freedom.

bob tine Our boat ramp socializing continued over on The Missouri as well. I ran into my summertime buddy, fly tier Bob Lay, and he and The Professor became fast friends. On a particularly windy day we ran into Bob in Craig. Too windy for him to fish in his little one-man craft so we convinced him to join our float. Such fun! Stories galore and dry fly fishing til dark.

Granted hitchhiking is probably not as safe as it was back in the 70s, but the characters that come in and out of my life on the boat ramps of Montana are priceless. Facebook can’t compete with that.

That said, apparently in the past six months everyone I know has joined Facebook. The other day I was chatting with one of my best friends from high school. She was laughing that our upcoming reunion would be so boring since everyone was already up to speed on Facebook. What? She gave me her username and password to log onto her profile. Sure enough, there were all my friends, yucking it up, sharing pictures of their kids, swapping tales. It did look pretty fun. Damn.

bob tomBut I’m holding firm in my Facebook boycott. I can always thumb a ride on her profile when I need to take a little spin and catch up with old friends. I’m sticking with blogs and boat ramps to meet the new ones.

Comments
17 Responses to “Hitchhiking is Safer Than Facebook”
  1. Brandon says:

    Great story – I’m a Facebook guy and wish my fishing buddies were on there to keep track of where they are going this weekend (so I can invite myself) or where they’ve been (so I can see the pics)! So I think facebook does have its benefits. Of course you can always DELETE the weird ones as friends so they can’t track you anymore.

    I’ve met some good characters over the 8 years I’ve been in CO and heard some crazy stories. The OBF, RMF, Drake and a few others are even crazier than Facebook! But there are some good guys on those too.

    Keep up the good blogging – nothing takes the place of one place where you can share your thoughts and pics for prosperity!

    B

  2. Oatka says:

    Hey, if I show enough leg, can I get an offer to share the boat with you? I’ve never been on a float!

  3. Brandon — thanks for the comment. Out of curiosity….exactly where is this mythical place where you can share thoughts and pics for prosperity?

    Oatka — you know I like your style! But in the spirit of a little feedback, you might want to pick one strategy and stick with it. It’s EITHER the mildly-creepy-leg-flashing approach OR the poor-me-I’ve-never-floated-in-a-driftboat approach

    you do flush out a good point. I suppose I have opened a can of worms with my PRO-Hitchhiking platform….

  4. Brandon says:

    I had a blog on the RMF site – that when it was purchased by FlyFusion, I thought was going to be removed – however, it still lives on. So I turned to Blogger in hopes that this place would be a better place to keep thoughts and pics for prosperity. But maybe not.

    Keep up the good work…

  5. oatka says:

    well, if I have to pick just one approach, I guess it will be the “mildly-creepy-leg-flashing approach.” I gotta stick to what I know/do best!

  6. Piper says:

    I don’t know why I forgot how funny you are, but this post reminded me for sure. You’re hilarious, and such a great story teller! (your teacher would be proud)

    My mom picked up hitchhikers, religiously, when I was growning up. I loved it.

    I also agree with you about Facebook… I hate it. But, for slightly different reasons, of course.

    ps. you look SO happy!

  7. Alabama flygirl says:

    FFC…great to have you back…in full force! Always love the tales that come out of your trips! Great pictures too!
    I must confess to being a Facebook junkie! I have found so many of my friends from high school and even my best friend from elementary school. No need to add anybody that you are unsure about…that’s when the good ol IGNORE button comes in handy!!

  8. Dave Ehster says:

    The last hitchhiker I picked up I just about killed.
    We were turning left at a rural intersection and some drunk plowed into us from behind doing 65 mph. That was a ’63 fairlane in 1970.(oxidized green) Spun us around a couple times and pushed the cooling fan through the radiator. We both walked away. That was my first own car.
    Agree on facebook. Convoluted is the best way I can describe it. Keeps me in touch with my daughter at college.
    Its so nice to hear from you.

  9. Oatka — oh thanks heavens. the poor-me-pitiful route is so unattractive on a man. wait a minute, pretty unattractive on a woman as well. regardless, good choice on creepy-flirty-leg-flashy. I think it’s the best way to go

    Piper — we must catch up. you’re a doll.

    ALflygirl — unlike me, you are a shining example of the modern southern woman. I should have been much more aggressive with the IGNORE button.

  10. Dave — heavens, glad you survived that. yikes.

    and I’ll grant you facebook for keeping up with a kiddo in college. that makes sense. I’m clearly the odd one out in my anti-facebook stance. who knows, I could be begged back to it someday. likey when Little Chick starts social networking on something other than webkinz.com

  11. Jim@FFO says:

    Nice writeup FFC. As always, your observations are keen, nostalgic and darn fun to read.

    I haven’t really found a use for FB. I have a few friends who message me every few months but my page mostly sits unused or visited. I like it that way. I see and hear about all these folks using different messaging utilities like Twitter, etc. and it makes me wonder if email is becoming passe’.

    All I can say is your qualifying statement for letting people friend up on FB is: would you rather drink a beer with them or spray them with mace?

    -Jim

  12. Simon Graham says:

    My sentiments exactly.Great blog by the way.

  13. “would you rather drink a beer with them or spray them with mace”

    Jim — I’m going to use this as the watermark for more things than facebook from now on. fabulous.

    Simon — thanks a million! welcome.

    All — in the spirit of mocking the facebook hysteria…..enjoy this slice of ridiculousness:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSnXE2791yg

  14. Sherri Adams says:

    I’ve had similar experiences on Facebook, and stopped using it for the same reasons. It’s a shame, because it put me back in touch with quite a few old friends who I hadn’t heard from in years.

    But I just decided the upside didn’t outweigh the negative aspects for me.

  15. My son just got me into this, and I got to be honest – I’ve only heard from people that are in my past for good reasons.

    Great post

    -O

  16. Capt. Josh says:

    Great post, facebook can be scary!

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