John Waters hitchhikes across America.
An advisory to readers who may be driving on this Memorial Day weekend: If, as you travel the nationâ€™s highways, you spot a hitchhiker with a wiry build, a pencil mustache and a mischievous look in his eyes, you may not wish to pick up this person. Unless, of course, you are certain it is the cult filmmaker John Waters, thumbing his way across the country in search of material for a new book.
This is not as improbable as it might sound. In recent days, an indie rock band from Brooklyn, a married couple from Illinois and a young lawmaker from Maryland have all reported unexpected road encounters with Mr. Waters, the 66-year-old writer and director of such willfully trashy movies as â€œDesperate Living,â€ â€œPolyesterâ€ and â€œHairspray.â€
On a trip that Mr. Waters said took him eight days and about 15 hitchhiked rides to get him from one end of the country to the other, he has accumulated numerous anecdotes for a book he has tentatively titled â€œCarsickâ€ and which will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
But more crucially, he said this journey has taught him that it can sometimes be thrilling to not know where life is taking you.
â€œMy life is so over-scheduled, what will happen if I give up control?â€ Mr. Waters said by phone from San Francisco, where he was safe, sound and still surging with adrenaline.
In doing so, he said he encountered a true cross-section of America: â€œPot smokers, cops, I got everybody. And everybody was lovely.â€
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