Thumbing across America with John Waters

By Emily Brennan in New York ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-07-30 09:58:57

Thumbing across America with John Waters

With a little help...

Thumbing across America with John Waters

New kids section at Beijing Book Building 

What tips did you pick up on the road?

Always get dropped off after the next city, not before it. It's the worst thing, to go into the city, because then you'll never get out. Local rides are the enemy.

I had good luck in the kind of rest areas that have just vending machines and a big park. Everyone who stops there is going a long distance, and they get out to walk their dog, and you can approach them. But the worst is to end your day there because there's no place to stay. The last place you get left off has to have a motel.

Who's the type to pick up a hitchhiker?

Someone looking for adventure. Picking up a hitchhiker is as much an adventure as it is to hitchhike. It's a risk on both sides. And they're good people, I think. Basically trusting. And they've been through something. Everyone had survived something, and they wanted to talk about it. There was a coal miner who got addicted to meth, a Marine who said she had a bad anti-anthrax vaccine and was very ill from it. You got what people really feel about where they lived. You got a good picture of America.

Have you stayed in touch with any of the drivers?

Some, yes. The Marine just had a baby and named him after me-Something John Something. I think each one of those people I will remember forever because they became a short story to me. I like to listen to people's stories, and people do tell me everything. Always have. I don't know why I inspire people to blurt out their secrets.

The mustache?

I guess so. And I think they think, "If he made that movie, he can understand anything". And they're right: I do try to understand.

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