The Modern form of Hitchhiking
Out in the desert of New Mexico there are patches of land that belong to the Native American tribes of the area and patches of land that are part of the United States. The distinction between which land belongs to whom is not the distinction that is important, but the fact that many ways of life have died and this is a great place to show an example of one.
Many years ago it seemed almost second nature for people to hitchhike along the roads in the desert. This was a way to get from one place to another and even back and forth to work if you didn’t mind the time it took or had more time on your hands than you knew what to do with. The fact that hitchhiking has declined so much in this area can be attributed to many things; safety, a lack of closeness among neighbors, smaller vehicles and even the progress people have made in their lives.
This area of the country was not the only place hitchhiking was a norm. In many cities like Phoenix and Detroit and small towns where the public transportation system was still being put together and neighbors all knew each other and were friendly with one another, hitchhiking was a normal way to get from one place to another when you didn’t have a car or yours was in the shop. To think that a single vehicle model caused the decline of hitchhiking in one area or another seems a bit far-fetched.
Today we have a modern version of this activity. No longer do you need to stick out your thumb or expect to ride in the bed of a pickup truck (which is not legal in most states anymore) but you can use a ride sharing site such as Uber to find a way to get where you need to go. Another option many people choose to use in today’s society is the public transportation system that is available. This is the choice many make in a large city that has a sophisticated infrastructure of transportation for them to choose to make use of .
Not only can we now use our smartphones, something that wasn’t even thought of when it came to the age when hitchhiking was popular, but we can look up the many different ways to get around in a town that we visit. With more people able to afford at least a low priced car, the improved infrastructure of transportation and the possibilities of ride sharing there is little left that would require anyone to stick out their thumb.
Of course, if you find yourself in the desert of New Mexico with only a few cars passing by at random intervals you just might want to try the old fashioned way and put your thumb to the wind to see who might pick you up. It may be outdated and heading toward extinction, but there are still some parts of the country where you can get a ride in the bed of a pickup by just asking for it.