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July 25, 2002
Hitch-hiking in Scotland
After hitching a ride with Willy Russell I was tempted to make a sign that read "celebrity lifts only, please." I'm glad I didn't, because I would never have met ...
The man I'll call "Cram"
I'm in a petrol station just north of Edinburgh, trying to hitch a ride further north. I get talking to a cheerful bloke filling his car up with petrol. The conversation goes well, which distracts his attention from the petrol pump. He ends up overfilling the tank. Initially he offers a small lift of maybe fifteen miles, but then he asks where I'm really trying to get to. "Inverness," I say, which is more like a hundred miles away.
"Well," he says, "I think I can do that. After all, I've got enough petrol."
After we get going I ask why he only needs a small amount of petrol. He says he's selling the car tomorrow, and "there's no point giving the buggers free petrol."
As the conversation progresses, it becomes obvious that Cram is an outrageously busy man. As well as selling his old car the next day, he also had to buy a new car - and preferably before lunch. He had a particularly busy afternoon scheduled. Then the next day would also be busy, because he was moving house. And the day after that offered no respite, because he had tickets for the big Celtic Rangers game.
But this is not all. It turns out that he works two full time jobs. And on the day I met him, he'd started a third.
"Well," I say, trying to keep up with all this, "how did the new job go?"
"Well," he says, "Not too good. I didn't get there."
Upon closer inspection, it turns out that he has a sensationally bad attendance record at every job he's ever worked at. And he's done a lot of jobs. And he was quite cheerfully looking for more.
I couldn't figure out if he wanted to make tons of money, or if he liked being busy, or if he wanted to see how far he could go without getting caught. Perhaps he just got bored by things at record-breaking speed.
But there was one other thing he had to fit into his schedule. At some point in the next frantically busy week he had to get his tonsils out. He'd already had one part of this operation done but had to go back for more. "Wouldn't it have been better to have the whole thing done in one go?" I asked. But before he could answer, I heard myself saying: "but maybe your doctor had another job to go to."Posted by Sean Hegarty at 11:41 PM in the Wandering category | Comments (0)
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