I dropped Rachel off at the train station this afternoon, and on the way home saw a young man hitchhiking in Bodmin. I looked in the mirror for about 50 yards, and then something compelled me to stop.
Ollie was heading to Polzeath to pick up a car from his brother. His brother lives in a caravan (a converted Ford delivery truck) at one of the several caravan parks in and around Polzeath (which is a well-known surfing beach). Ollie works in a fancy new restaurant in Oxford, in between school (high school to you Yanks) and uni (university to you Yanks). He turned out to be a very nice, polite kid, and we chatted all the way into Polzeath.
Why do I mention this? First, I can’t remember the last time I picked up a hitch hiker; I guess something about being in a very small town has made me more willing to trust people, especially given that Sebastian was in the back seat sleeping. Second, the fact that I could have an interesting conversation with a teenager is contrary to my experience with many teenagers in the US who have trouble talking about much except music and videos. And third, he asked me why we’d moved to Cornwall, and then seemed genuinely interested in the answer.
Which got me thinking again about why I’m here, in Cornwall. I realize that I’ve talked a lot about it, and I’ve explained it countless times, but I also realize that I’ve never written it down. And I wonder if that’s because like the sands under the surf, spoken words can be shifted and changed as the winds and tides require. I suppose it’s finally time to write it down.
And for the last several weeks, as we’ve tried to get settled, I’ve felt more like the hitch hiker than the driver in this new life. And maybe it’s time for that to change as well.
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