The business traveler is one of my favorite types of hitchhiking drivers of all time, mostly because of the sheer efficiency of these people and because they have well maintained and comfortable cars.
All Business, No Playing Around
You will only encounter this guy at a service station, usually with an espresso in his right hand and his car keys in the other. He might stop his car for you just after he was driving away from the service station. His suit jacket is on a clothing hanger on the back of his chair, the suitcase is in the trunk and his leather bag filled with papers is on the back seat—also leather. You put your backpack on the back seat as well, because there is space and he can’t be bothered to get out and open the trunk. He is driving at the very least 300 KM today to some big city. Your destination is on his route.
Once you’re in the car he will ask you to put the seat belt on immediately and there you go, you’re on the freeway. Within 3 minutes he uses his sixth gear and by 8 minutes you have overtaken all the cars at the service station that would not take you. He only drives on the fast lane and is only overtaken by the teenage douchebags in a BMW who have complete disregard for their own lives and would never pick up a hitchhiker.
Bad weather or sunshine, at some random point your driver will put his RayBans on—because he can. You probably can’t because you’re fucking poor or good with your limited funds (or both). He has mastered the art of driving with coffee in his hand while switching gears to overtake some plebeian motherfuckers, a group he was once part of. When you try to break the ice he turns the music down and stares you in the face.
Talking to Business People
It’s sometimes hard to get a conversation going. They are usually in their late thirties or forties, so they probably have kids or their divorce to talk about. I prefer to talk about the sweet ride they’ve got and ask about all the features of the car. They dig their own car I’m telling you, because of good reasons aaaand conspicuous consumption. Criticize capitalism at your own risk with the business person.
Obviously, his profession is a good topic as well. They studied something useful, had good connections, and worked their way to obtain this car. The car is clean from the inside and outside, so it’s definitely not a company car. The windows are closed for aerodynamic reasons and the airconditioning or the seat heating is always on.
While you hit the sweet spot of conversation-making you’re already used to his intimidating driving style that doesn’t take no for an answer to all the traffic around you. He drives fast, but highly concentrated and safe. He doesn’t overtake on the right unless the car in front of him really doesn’t move and the conditions are safe.
Within no time you’re dropped off at your destination or another service station to hitch onward. You say goodbye, maybe exchange business cards, maybe you’ll get a coffee because he’s definitely fetching another one for himself. You are always dropped off at the most perfect spot you can dream of because he’s an expert on the busiest service stations and the best roads. This strategist does all the work for you.
FAQ About The Six-Gear Business Person
Why did they stop for you?
You’re probably one person, looking moderately clean for a hitchhiker. He drives this four-seat car usually by himself so he is bored alone quite often. Maybe this is how he ups his karma once in a while. You’re probably not the first hitchhiker he picked up, but it’s not a regular thing either.
German highways, at a service station. I say German because they have no speed limits on the road and Germans really care about having a good car. You can find these people outside of Germany as well but this is the majority.
Which car does he drive?
A Mercedes, BMW, Audi. As long as it’s a business vehicle, has six gears AC and leather seats, and is not Italian or French, it’s good enough for them.
Any time of day, but mostly outside of commuting hours. Ain’t nobody got time for traffic jams, because this fellow needs to get to a meeting or a fancy dinner.
Really, really fast. Supersonic even.
What language do you speak with this guy?
German businessmen mostly know German only. English is your second bet and your first bet outside of Germany. English very rarely applies to Spanish speaking and Francophone countries, because of stereotypes. In former Soviet nations it’s Russian and then English, possibly even Arabic.
Can you smoke in the car?
Occasionally, but he will have an ashtray and not an open window because he goes too fast and that shit will just blow in your face.
What are the gadgets?
AC, seat heating, good sound system, maybe a little TV, USB charger for smartphone, tablet, and laptop. Parking sensors and camera, cruise control. All the tollway automatic payment devices of all the roads he takes regularly. Maybe a police radar scanner. Probably bribes for cops if you’re outside of North-Western Europe.