Spotted a hitchhiker on the way to work today, his sign simply read SXSW. I was heading South, had time to spare and room for two, so I decided to pay it forward and slowed the beast to a crawl. I pulled onto the shoulder about 30 yrds ahead of the man to give me ample time to prep the ride before he arrived.
I wanted to give the impression of toughness just in case this hipster was looking for an easy mark. As with every drive to work, I had Elton John’s “Somebody Saved My Life Tonight” blasting on repeat and I knew it had to go. I slapped in my Meatloaf CD, tucked my Apple flavored lemonheads back under the passenger seat and unlocked the door.
The man said his name was Spencer Bonestorm, he was a lifelong Austinite that never missed an annual pilgrimage to SXSW. Over the course of our journey South I was educated on all the things Austin used to be. Apparently it wasn’t weird anymore, things had gotten too commercial and the squares were taking over the city.
I wanted to tell him that I was an East coast Yankee sent here to clog I35, demand sound ordinance enforcement and vote in a light rail system that I would never use. I wanted to tell him a lot of things but Meatloaf was hitting his high notes, my grape swisher was giving me a light buzz and I dared not spoil the mood.
Spencer complained a lot about “kids these days” or “the me generation”. Thank god I had hid my iPhone before he went on his technology rant. He argued that technology was dulling the next generations empathy, sapping their humanity and setting the board for a terrible future. Spencer told me he wanted to change the world but the only way he knew how was by not partaking in its big lie.
Spencer was starting to bum me out and I was glad to be rid of him when I finally dropped him at Anderson High. He knew some classmates meeting up there that had agreed to take him the rest of the way South. The class of 2014 was a tight knit group that never left a man behind. As he exited the car he left me with one last quote about the shape of things to come.
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn