John Waters Releases CARSICK

John Waters Releases CARSICK

John Waters's (Pink Flamingos, Hairspray) newest book, Carsick, tells the true story of how in 2012 he hitchhiked from Baltimore to San Francisco. GQcalled him to ask how the hell he persuaded all those people-octogenarian farmers, indie rockers, acidheads, Republican politicians, and a cop-to give him a lift. Excerpts below:

Q. If you were just a normal person driving down the road, would you pick up John Waters?

A. First of all, they didn't see "John Waters." They saw a 67-year-old homeless man. Some of them tried to give me money! Even though in the beginning I said, "Oh, I hope I don't get recognized," in the ten minutes when I didn't get a ride, well, I was praying to be recognized.

Q. What was it like back in the heyday of hitchhiking?

A. Much more sexual. But hitchhiking is sexual. I have so many porn books I collect with hitchhiking covers...

Q. Did you ever hook up with a driver back in the day?

A. Of course! Are you kidding? Yes! Everybody I know did.

Q. Walk me through the packing process for a trip like this.

A. I wanted to bring as little as I could. My assistants made me get the tracking device [a SPOT satellite messenger], and they made me get the hiking boots. I only took five pairs of underpants, so I could throw a pair away every day, which of course I didn't ultimately do, because the trip took longer. I really had just one bag [a fake crocodile skin tote] and another little book bag with the cardboard signs in it. I only took two credit cards and my license-you forget that when you're on the road hitchhiking you don't need all that stuff. And I didn't want to take a lot, in case I got robbed.

Q. Anything you wish you'd brought, in hindsight?