Thoughts on Helping a Hitchhiker in Winter

so i’m driving east on Rt. 20 and
i pass this guy in a blue coat walking
the shoulder of the highway carrying
two big bags, one in each hand.

it’s 30 degrees out: below freezing.
it’s too cold to be doing that, i think
i should stop and offer a ride. then:
nah. then: wait, maybe i should stop.

but by then i had already passed
him up and it was too late anyway.
so now i’m kicking myself for not
just stopping but i’m not about to

turn around. and i can just hear the
typical response to a story like this:
well, it’s probably a good thing you
didn’t pick him up. you never know

about hitchhikers. but then i think
hell, you never know about anything,
really. waking up in the morning sub-
jects you to any number of possible

catastrophes. you could get shot,
run over, a piece of debris could fall
on your head from out of nowhere,
your heart could be broken into

a trillion invisible shards, you could
trip and fall and break your leg or
your neck. just breathing is its own
kind of danger if you think about it.

i really should have helped that guy
out, damn it. . . later, i pass this lady
driving while holding a soda in one
hand and checking her cell phone

with the other. she had the straw
in her mouth as she looked down at
her phone, all while driving at a good
65 mph alongside the rest of us.

let that be a lesson to me, i guess.

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