Connecticut Blowjobs: A Lesson in Living Boldly

This story is an excerpt from my book, The Dogs of Nam, a collection of travel stories and misadventures from a decade of backpacking around the world. Check it out on Amazon!

“So, would you like a blowjob?”

Fuck. I should have seen this coming.

I could feel my stomach sink, seeking refuge from the conversational shrapnel that exploded into the vehicle. Awkward pricks of panic danced along my jawline as it tightened. There would be no airbag for this crash.

“Uhhhhhhhh…”

It dragged on like the empty highway before us.

“Um. Thanks. For the offer? Uhh…but I’m good.”

I trailed off, my voice ticking up a few octaves as my brain derailed. A silent, dragging moment began to form between us, hoovering in the cramped space that was my mother’s two-door car. The sweatiness of my palms became vastly apparent as my mind recovered from the chit-chat sideswipe. What else could I do but smile and ramble?

“Thanks, though. Really.”

She shrugged a careless shrug, her shoulders barely rising.

“Ok.”

She might as well have been filing her nails as she talked, boldly indifferent to the awkward exchange. Curled up into the passenger seat of my borrowed car, she radiated nonchalance about the whole affair, as if she had just casually offered me a stick of gum. Her voice was quiet and soft, the kind of voice you need to really listen to in order to make out the muted sounds. But it was confident. Experienced. For better or worse, this was a conversation she was familiar with.

I kept my eyes locked ahead, focusing on the yellow lines that blurred the highway before me. Admittedly, I was at a loss for how to continue the conversation.

So I laughed and prayed she didn’t hear me.

I was on my way to Connecticut, for no other reason than to drive from Canada to the ocean. I picked the shore of that great state as my final destination because…well, to be honest, there was no rational reason. I just looked at the map, picked a state, and drove. With half a dozen freshly burned CD’s and a longing for adventure, I hit the open road.

Or, perhaps more accurately, the open road hit me.

In response to something of an existential crisis, I jumped headlong at the chance to escape the clutches of work and school and a relationship. I needed a new perspective on things, some time to collect the scattered parts of myself and cobble it all back together. Call it a quarter life crisis. One of several.

With access to a vehicle, and with America at my doorstep, it seemed fitting to venture south to see what adventures were afoot.

There weren’t many. Probably because I went to Connecticut. The Nutmeg State.

But there was one.

As I rolled away from a generic truck stop on my way south, I saw someone standing on the curb. Being on an adventure — and without thinking — I took my foot off the gas and rolled over to the dusty shoulder. From the haphazard glance I stole as I passed, my new-found passenger looked to be a scrawny teenager of punk-ish association. I figured it was just some social outcast looking to escape the confines of the Nowheresville which we both found ourselves in. Having roots in the punk scene myself, back when my hair was long (and when, to be honest, I had hair) and my music was loud, I thought I would pay it forward and pick up this roadside hobo.

Dressed in varying shades of faded black, I watched as they slung their torn rucksack into my back seat. The smell hit me first. The stale odour of sweat and piss, of an unwashed body wearing unwashed clothes percolated into the car, tickling my nostrils. It was an eye-watering stench, feral and unforgiving. But this was the Road, this was adventure. I shrugged it off with a quick drop of the window, greeting my new co-pilot as he rolled into the seat.

Turns out, however, he was a she.


The scrawny vagabond was actually a middle-aged woman, a pale and freckled ginger with quiet eyes half-hidden by a tangled mess of scrappy hair. Her meagre frame was hard pressed to top 100lbs, and I was honestly rather shocked she could toss her hefty backpack around the way she did. It was that hidden strength, that familiarity, that betrayed her nomadic lifestyle. This was not her first rodeo.

She slid breezily into the car, barely dispersing the air as she locked herself into the seat. Her smile was measured, but genuine. A testing of the water. Her eyes darted up from under the shadow of a black hoodie to meet mine.

“Hello.”

Her tone said it all. This was both a greeting and a thank you, a soft welcome and desperate thanks, all wrapped up into a single, delicate introduction. She radiated simplicity, so much so that I was put off at first. There was no veneer, no velvet over iron. She didn’t put on a face or attitude to make pleasantries or seem more likeable than she was. She just was. There was a rawness to her being, to the way she sat, the way she talked. Like she had seen it all and was still processing. Still recovering.

I politely prodded her with questions, curious as to what series of events brought us together. She laid out her story in bits and pieces, painting a fragmented portrait of a full-time nomad and hitchhiker. Living on the curb, relying on others to get from A to B, my nameless co-pilot was often thrust into uncomfortable situations. While many drivers were happy to help another human being out, there were plenty — a disgusting amount, I’d say — who expected something in return.

Cue the offer of a bj.

She painted a vivid picture of life on the road, the less-than-glamorous narrative you won’t see on Instagram or Facebook. And while she claimed she was perfectly okay sucking a dick in exchange for a few hundred miles I couldn’t help but wonder if that was her genuine view. But maybe that’s just because I wouldn’t want a dick in my mouth, regardless of the mileage.

What ever happened to just helping people out? To seeing someone in need and saying, “Sure, I can do something.” If it’s no skin off your back, what’s the big deal? Call me old fashioned, but if you coerce someone into sucking your dick for a ride, you’re a piece of shit. But maybe I’m just naive.

I guided the conversation back to travel and we talked about our mutual adventures. She had thumbed her way around Canada and the US, darting as far as Central America over the years. She left her family — her husband and kids — back home in British Colombia because she wasn’t happy. One day, she just packed up, said goodbye, and sold her soul to the Road. She hadn’t been back since, bouncing around here and there with no real goal or objective. It was a bold life, to say the very least. There was a temptation there, I confess. Being neck-deep in a life I wasn’t loving, the thought of packing up and hitting the road had its charms. But I wasn’t that bold. And I certainly wasn’t ready for that much dick in my face.

I don’t remember where I dropped her off precisely, but I remember it was raining. Grey skies wept fat drops onto the windshield, our farewell set to the tune of pouring rain on metal and glass. The last time I saw her, she was shuffling through the downpour toward a big rig parked at a Husky station. Shouldering her bag, she waved goodbye, her face radiating indifference to the grey and swift droplets that battered the cement around her. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she stayed dry.

***

The next night I found myself at, of all places, a TGI Fridays. So this is what my life has come to. To be honest, I’d never been to one and this was America after all. Call it a cultural exploration. Why the fuck a vegan who doesn’t drink would even bother to go to a TGI Fridays is beyond me. I suppose it could have been worse. I could have went to an Applebee’s.

Nestled in a spacious booth below a muted TV playing sports highlights, I rifled through the menu for some vegan offerings. When the waiter finally strolled over, I placed my order.

“Can I have the sweet potato fries, but with BBQ sauce instead of the aioli?”

Wearing the light-hearted mask of all service staff, he replied.

“Bold choice, sir. It’ll be right up”


Enjoy the story? There’s a lot more where that came from so grab a copy on Amazon!