The Singing Hitchhiker


The guy was super sweaty. His knit polo shirt soaked through, he waited patiently in the hot, sunny parking lot for a ride to appear. I sipped my juice. I knew what it was like. No car, little money, having somewhere to be and trying not to get upset at all the drivers that pass you by without even a second look. What the hell, my seats were plastic.

He told us he had come to the south to collect money owed to him so he could fix his car. Of course the people didn’t have it to pay so, he was hitching back north. It made sense in a Costa Rican way. Taking the bus halfway across the country only to find that what you are looking for isn’t there. Maybe he was flat broke and had no alternative, I didn’t ask.

He, on the other hand, had plenty of questions. Where did we live? Where were we coming from? Was I a Gringo or from Canada? Was my friend a Tica (Costa Rican)? Did I sing? (My guitar was in the back seat). Did we know that God made flowers first to have something beautiful to smell, music second to fill the soul and women third to have something to complain about?

When question time was over he began to sing. One ballad after another he waxed poetic about the sun, the moon and the stars. Lives lived, loves lost. He sang us all the way to Palmar Norte, where I dropped him off at the gas station. I was hungry and my ears were tired.