One day I was driving from The Valley to Bellingham for work, must have been 2011, late Autumn to early Winterish time of year, and I picked up two hitchhikers right before I got on the freeway. Obviously, I’m fully aware that this is generally frowned upon, but I can assure you that I was using my reasoning skills on this particular day.
First of all, it was pouring down rain. The woman was wearing a sweater that was loosely knitted, and a dull green gray color that made me think of fishing nets, and the man’s clothes were sticking to him displaying his gaunt frame. I could take either one of them. Both of them if need be, but come on. Serial killers and rapists do not come in pairs, or in hippie form. I wasn’t threatened. I was feeling pretty bad for them though, and also wondering why it was that we couldn’t give each other rides here and there. Hitchhiking should be more acceptable. And why on earth should I have to be afraid of so many stupid things as a single woman? Not today, I thought to myself, and pulled to the side of the road as if I’d done this a hundred times.
I didn’t happen to think of this before I picked up the water logged duo, but hippies make me uncomfortable. Even using that word makes me uncomfortable. Is it going to offend anyone? I hope not. I was trying for ages to think of how to explain what I mean by hippie, and then I realized that I don’t have to. You totally know what I mean. It’s just one of those things. Admittedly, my interactions with true hippies have been limited, but the experiences that I have had have taught me that; 1.) I do not enjoy singing around a campfire with strangers. It makes me feel cheesy, insincere, and like I’m being robbed of the other things I’d rather do around a campfire. Like cook marshmallows, drink beer, or have conversations. 2.) I don’t have anything in common with nudists, and prefer not to talk to them. Especially when they are nude. 3.) Incense, sandalwood, and patchouli all give me headaches. 4.) I cannot roll my eyes hard enough at people who claim to reject society’s view of…well, everything…but are sorely lacking in skepticism about conspiracy theories or new agey superstitions. 5.) If you believe in mermaids, collect wild herbs and plants for a living, and go barefoot in 40 degree weather, you are nuts. Not free spirited.
So these two particular hippies get into my car, and I ask “Where too,” as though I am perfectly accustomed to picking up total strangers along the side of the road. The woman sat in the front passenger’s seat, her dark hair hanging in dripping ropes, and as the steam rises from her soaked clothes my pity for her deepens. They are going to the Bellingham public library, she says, and I let them know I can drop them off there. Then all of a sudden I didn’t feel too chatty. I felt shy and slightly regretful actually. They started asking me questions about myself, and I gave short replies.
“Do you live around here?”
“Where are you heading?”
“Are you a Pisces?”
“What?” I looked in my rear-view mirror at this guy, noticing how his blue eyes were speckly, like mine, and his dark hair flipped out around his ears. I tried to remember if I left my ID in the backseat of the car, because the answer to his question was yes. How did he know that? And who the hell just asks someone if they are a certain sign, rather than what their sign is? He must have been really confident in his guessing skills, but then again, he was right.
“Yes. I am. What made you ask that?”
I don’t actually remember what he said. Something about how I reminded him of a friend of his who is also a Pisces, and then he went on to tell me that he and the woman to my right were shacked up together all winter in a little cabin in Birdsview (read- way up river, middle of freaking nowhere) living off limited supplies, isolated from society. I gleaned that they were not a couple, and that they would be going their separate ways at the library. Then he invited me to come in for an art exhibit that was being hosted there, which led me to equivocate a response about how I had work to get to. Soon we were at the library, and I was rolling down all the windows of my car to air out the smell of organic deodorant covering up the smell of two bodies that have just endured a winter without running hot water.
Ugh. Ew. I forgot the hot chocolate part. The woman had a thermos of hot chocolate that she said had cocoa powder and anise in it but no sugar. After ranting and raving about how great it is, she wanted me to try some. I shook my head, dubious that the container was sanitary, but when she insisted I really could not figure out how not to be rude except to take a drink. I didn’t want her to think I felt that I was too good to take a drink from her cup. It was not a good moment for me. The bitter, luke-warm liquid was just as disgusting as it sounds, and I felt like I had completed a daunting playground style dare, but without anyone there to witness it. I don’t know if driving these two thirty miles was a good or bad experience after all is said and done. I just don’t think of it often and leave it at that.
Yesterday, this memory came to mind. I took this personality test that tells you which of the 16 personality types you are (http://www.16personalities.com/type-descriptions). Apparently there are 16 types. Who knew? It was slow at work, and I randomly came across it while looking around on the web, and my personality type sounded JUST LIKE ME. INFP is what it is called, just in case that means something to any of my readers. These people form about 4.5% of the population, and are known as having an idealistic perspective. When reading the description, I was thinking of this whole hitchhiker scenario, and the fact that I hate the idea of having to worry about my safety when strangers are concerned. In the back of my mind, I’m aware that just because I want people to be trustworthy doesn’t mean they are, and just because I don’t want to be afraid of things doesn’t mean they shouldn’t inspire caution. Also, I tend to see the good in people even when they are awful to me, and to sympathize with the most unlikely characters (Kim Kardashian and Miley…losing sports teams…the person who got the wrong number and called my work, then told me their story about being scammed by a supplements company, all the while accusing me of being the scammer and lying about my identity).
I am an idealist for sure, but that wasn’t the only thing about INFP personalities that was spot on. This personality group is also described as being reserved, hard to get to know, and fiercely loyal to those they do know. They are supposed to be creative, spiritual and inclined to an appreciation for words and languages. They also prefer to work alone. All of those things sound a lot like me. I’m also a recognizable Pisces, so add that to the list. Placemats at Chinese restaurants tell me I was born in the year of the Snake, which I always think is super lame, and does not sound like me- for the record. It’s interesting to me that these traits and personalities are common among entire groups of people who identify themselves as belonging to these categories.
If you have time to take the test at the website I linked to, let me know if you think yours sounds like you! Also, has anyone else ever been called out for being just like their horoscope says they are? I read this essay today, http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/01/the-scorpio-groin.html, in which a man tells about his experiences identifying with his horoscope (Scorpio), and musing on a palm reader’s technique. Loved it. Totally worth the read if you have time for that as well J