delightful intersections

it has been a long day.  i was up early prepping for this protest i helped organize for this morning at dominion resources headquarters in richmond, then spent much of the day at the event and doing follow up media work.  by the time i realized i wanted to go home desperately, it was raining and i had to hitch hike back to town.  i was whiny and considered staying just where i was, because i was just not energetic enough to go to the effort of hitching.

but the sun came out and my own room and my own home called me back.  i asked edmund to take me as far as the exit and got ready to smile, present myself and entertain the people who gave me rides.  to get into character i kicked my cowgirl heels in the gravel and sang a couple of regina spektor songs.  it worked to get me smiling and opened up to the adventure and it

didn’t take too long to garner the sympathy of a man who’d just driven home from work.  i was going out of his way and he knew that my odds at that particular spot were poor.  so he took pity and drove me down the highway another 15 miles to a better jumping spot.

as we were talking he mentioned he worked in richmond.  i told him i’d been there today and without having revealed too much, he looked at me and asked if i was “one of those protesters.”  he didn’t say it in contempt and seemed genuinely excited about the prospect.  when i said yes he got very excited and with all the starry eyed enthusiasm of a kid on christmas morning opening that perfect present, he said, “i picked up a protester hitch hiking!”  we then went on to talk about the goals of the louisa based group “not on our fault line” and his own time as an activist.  he told me he’d been arrested at a reactor site near columbia, SC and i nearly screamed when i told him i’d worked in that community on the very same reactor just years before.  as i got out at the better exit, i gave him my name and our group’s freshly pressed website.  hopefully i’ll see him out at some of our events in the future.

emboldened by my first ride i stuck my thumb out there again with a mischievous smile.  i was now a hitch hiker with an agenda.  when a large taxi van pulled up i was hesitant.  i told the man driving that i was not interested in paying for my ride and he reassured me he didnt want to charge me.  he was on his way into charlottesville to see a friend and his exit was perfect.  i hopped in and after some questioning, it came out again that i was part of a concerned citizens group putting pressure on dominion to keep north anna units 1 and 2 shut down until they’d been retrofitted to new seismic standards dominion is using for unit 3.  without prompting, he sympathized and said to me that we had plenty to be concerned about.  and he immediately offered the unknown threat of the 8 miles of underground piping that carries radioactive water away from the reactors.  this is one of the littler known facts about how dominion is putting profits before safety and health and he just whipped it out like it was common knowledge.  needless to say a dynamic conversation ensued.

and i was buoyant as i walked the rest of the way from the exit to woodfolk, smiling at people as they were stopped at their red lights and watching their surprised faces smile back.  i delighted in the intersection of these two slightly radical activities, that i was able to turn my hitch hiking experience into an opportunity to engage people around this issue that is really important to me. and that they were able to engage back in a way that felt totally respectful and encouraging.  i made it home with a fresh spring in my step and enthusiasm for the way i move in the world.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lorena
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 03:31:06

    love it! what a happy read. 🙂

    which reactor site did he get arrested at? not vc summer was it?


    • Sara Tansey
      Sep 28, 2011 @ 03:33:52

      he got arrested at VC Summer in 1979. what a crazy small world! it was a thrilling trip in from louisa to cville tonight. full of little pockets of magic.


  2. Paxus Calta
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 03:32:36

    Amazing, wonderful, i am thrilled.


  3. Michael Hobson
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 08:32:00

    Brilliant story! Thank you for sharing!


  4. Janel Healy
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 01:38:01

    Beautiful! I love the little victories of life!


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